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September 26, 2017

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Shanna Moakler says of new Miss USA Nia Sanchez: ‘It was a magical night — Nia made Nevada proud’


Miss Universe Organization

2014 Miss Nevada USA Nia Sanchez is crowned 2014 Miss USA by 2013 Miss USA Erin Brady of Connecticut at the 2014 Miss USA Pageant at Baton Rouge River Center on Sunday, June 8, 2014, in Baton Rouge, La.

2014 Miss USA Nia Sanchez of Nevada

2014 Miss Nevada USA Nia Sanchez, with the pageant judges, is crowned 2014 Miss USA at the 2014 Miss USA Pageant at Baton Rouge River Center on Sunday, June 8, 2014, in Baton Rouge, La. Launch slideshow »

For the first time in Miss USA Pageant history, a Nevada beauty queen pulled off the nearly impossible and won the crown — and now goes on to represent the United States in the Miss Universe Pageant later this year.

Nia Sanchez of Las Vegas won the title of Miss USA in the NBC three-hour telecast tonight from Baton Rouge, La., co-hosted by Thomas Roberts of MSNBC and Giuliana Rancic of E! Entertainment and featuring entertainment by Florida Georgia Line and Marc Broussard.

“It was a magical night — Nia made Nevada proud,” Miss Nevada USA Pageant director Shanna Moakler told me shortly after the East Coast live broadcast ended.

Shanna, who won Miss USA in 1995, said: “This is awesome. I am in tears. Nia truly deserves the win. She is one in a million and proof that you can overcome all the odds to win something very special if you believe. She will be a wonderful Miss USA.”

Nia is a world traveler who once lived in a women’s shelter with her newly divorced mom and has worked at Hong Kong Disneyland. Now when she’s not on modeling assignments, she’s a volunteer and supporter of women’s shelter Shade Tree here in Las Vegas.

Our thanks to the Miss Universe Organization for the crowning photos. (Donald Trump owns the Miss Universe Organization, which also includes Miss USA and Miss Teen USA.)

We’ll have a full report Monday along with an interview with Nia before she begins her yearlong reign.

From all of us here: Congratulations, Nia! You’ve made Las Vegas and Nevada very proud!

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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