Who still watches Miss USA? I remember tuning in when I was younger, eager to check out the contestants’ glam evening dresses. Now, if anything, I’ll glance through pictures online of the top five. Maybe. If it’s a slow internet day.
Well, the dated, sexist, eye-roller of a pageant became suddenly culturally relevant this Sunday, in more ways than one. The winner, Miss Nevada Nia Sanchez, is a fourth-degree black belt in taekwondo. Thanks to thorough research (Google search) I can tell you that black belt is the highest rank, and there are nine levels within the rank. So, Nia is about halfway through the most advanced level. She started training when she was eight, and became a certified taekwondo instructor at fifteen. This is something she’s been dedicated to for most of her life, not a hobby she picked up to stand out at pageants—which she didn’t even begin competing in until 2009. Impressive.