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Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez, who competed as Miss Nevada, just was crowned a week ago, and already there is controversy about her victory, with some critics alleging she is not really a resident of Nevada. At best, these critics say, Sanchez skirted the rules and found loopholes that she exploited in order to compete as Miss Nevada. At worse, the critics claim that Miss USA 2014 Sanchez knew exactly what she was doing, and by working most of the year in California, she is still more of a California resident than a Nevada one.
While it is unlikely the controversy will result in Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez, 24, being forced into relinquishing her diamond tiara and title, it’s definitely a controversy that the Miss USA organization would rather do without.
The question of her residency follows on the heels of criticism that has been leveled against her for her reply to the question that the judge, Rumor Willis, asked her about the problem of sexual abuse on college campuses and why some colleges have “swept under the rug” what Willis called this “horrific epidemic,” adding “what can colleges do to combat this?”
Critics did not appear to have a complaint with the first part of Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez’s answer, about why colleges might “potentially be afraid of having a bad reputation.”
They did not like, however, the rest of Sanchez’s answer very much, when she mentioned she thought it was important for women to “learn how to protect themselves,” adding “that’s something that we should start to implement for a lot of women.”
The answer seemed to satisfy the judges, at least, at the time; but, some critics have remarked that her answer looks somewhat like she is blaming the victims of sexual abuse for not being able to adequately defend themselves.
While Sanchez was undoubtedly only trying to express her own feelings about self-defense and martial arts, as she holds a fourth-degree black belt, and also be an advocate for the importance of learning self-defense, other people felt her remarks blamed the victims of sexual abuse, despite her saying that there is no way that she was trying to place the burden on women to protect themselves from sexual abuse.
In regards to the question of Miss USA 2014 Nai Sanchez’s residency, critics have suggested that, rather than face the stiffer competition Sanchez would have faced in California, she faked her residency in Nevada.
According to a source who spoke to Fox News, Nia Sanchez just set up “some minimum paper trail” to make it seem as if she lived in Nevada and would “allow her to compete.” The source claims that Sanchez “continued to work at Disney and live in California.”
It is true that Nia Sanchez tried three different times to win the Miss California USA crown, in the years 2010, 2011, and again in 2012. She was unsuccessful each time, but her fortune change and she was more successful in Nevada, wining the Miss Nevada USA crown in January.
However, Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez stated on Thursday to Fox411 that the switch to her becoming a resident of Nevada was a legitimate one, and she met the six-month residency requirement needed to compete in Nevada. According to Sanchez, she had actually lived in Nevada for nearly 18 months previous to her winning the Miss Nevada USA title, and she called Las Vegas “my home.” She said that she lives in “a house there with a friend.” Despite what critics allege about her not really being a resident of Las Vegas, she told Fox411 that she more than met the residency requirements.
Sanchez explained to Fox411 that her agent had been providing her with a lot of work in Nevada, she “figured why not work in that state.” Then, because she “had done pageants before,” she also “looked into the pageant program.”
Looking into the pageant program in Nevada further, Nia Sanchez said that she “really liked the way that it was run,” so she decided to try competing for the title of Miss Nevada USA once sh had met the residency requirement.
According to the official competition page for the Miss Nevada USA beauty pageant, contestants need to provide two forms of documentation as proof that they have lived in the state “for at least 6 months prior to the State pageant.”
The two documents required could be any of the following two: bank statement, credit card statement, voter ID or registration card, school records, lease/deed, utility bill, tax return, telephone bill, or employment documents.
On her Miss USA application, Nia Sanchez wrote that her job was working with the AC Model Agency as a model. The AC Model Agency has branches in both L.A. and Las Vegas. According to her modeling profile, however, Sanchez is not based in Las Vegas, but rather, in Los Angeles.
Also, though Nia Sanchez was not born in Las Vegas, she listed it as her hometown. According to Fox News, Sanchez is still employed by Disney and is working in California. Generally speaking, if a person works full-time in a different state, it would technically be against pageant rules, though there might be loopholes that would allow such a thing to happen is certain cases.
According to a statement that the Miss Universe Organization gave to ABC News, there was “no reason” that anyone should “question her residency.” The Miss Universe Organization is apparently satisfied that Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez met the residency requirements, whatever critics might allege to the contrary. Sanchez said that since the fall of 2012, she has “lived in Nevada” and she added that “it was an honor for me to represent the state at Miss USA.”
By: Douglas Cobb