BehindThe Crown
The on-line magazine covering the Miss USA ®, Miss Universe ®, Miss Teen USA ®, Miss America, and Miss World Pageants



ALABAMA
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Rebecca Noore
AGE: 19 | HEIGHT: 5'4" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: HAZEL
When asked what is the craziest thing she has ever done, Rebecca said: "I left my tour group while in a foreign country in order to buy a pair of "hot" gold shoes." Rebecca graduated from Vestavia Hills High School in 2006 and is a graduate of University of Alabama; with area of study in Consumer Affairs. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Society of Consumer Affair Professionals at U of Alabama; Eagle Award/ Eagle "U" camp; Who's Who; Varsity Captain of Vestavia Rebellette Dance Team; Photogenic Award Miss Teen Jefferson County. "My strongest talents are dancing, listening skills, and my positive outlook on life." When asked to name one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholder) that makes her especially proud, she said: "Becoming a proud aunt of my 8-year-old niece Ashlyn Shea Neal. She is the absolute light of my life. She has also started to do pageants, so now I feel like I have become a role model in her life. She believes I can do anything in the world, which lifts me up even on the toughest of days." Her hobbies and favorite activities included: dancing; being involved in my sorority; working out; taking pictures; being organized; spending time with family and friends; being pampered; eating!!! and shopping. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Rebecca said: "That my high moral standards are very important to me. I have been raised to keep them with me through everything that I do. They are part of who I am and every decision I make."
 
 

ALASKA
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Blair Jane Chenoweth
AGE: 25 | HEIGHT: 5'7" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: GREEN
"I have been sandboarding in the deserts of Peru, canyoning in the mountains of Switzerland, ziplining in the rainforests of Chile, and cliff jumping off the coast of Croatia. You only live once, take advantage of every opportunity!" Blair graduated from AJ Dimond High School in 2000. She earned a degree: "Bachelor of Fine Arts" - graduated with honors from University of Oklahoma majoring in Ballet Performance in 2003. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Member of Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities; Member of the Golden Key National Honor Society; Member of University of Oklahoma’s prestigious President’s Leadership Class; Recipient of the John and Jean Potts Scholarship, the Black Buffalo Mask Award for Senior Excellence, the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Grant, and the Fine Arts Interdisciplinary Grant from University of Oklahoma’s Dance Department. Blair is currently a Professional Dancer, Instructor, Choreographer. "I am a dedicated dancer, performer and leader. I am also organized, accountable, goal oriented and amazingly driven. As my father taught me “You can’t just want to be the best, you have to work to be the best." "I graduated from college with honors in 3 years by taking summer school courses and up to 23 credits per semester." Her hobbies and favorite activities included: Hiking; Mountain Biking; Yoga; Knitting; Traveling /Backpacking; Fishing for Alaska Salmon; Dancing; Reading and Dog training. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Blair said: "I have a very charismatic personality, genuine humility, and a high level of accountability, therefore I would represent the Miss Universe Organization to the highest degree. I have lived all over the United States and traveled all over the world, so I would not only make a great Miss USA but Miss Universe as well!"


ARIZONA
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Courtney Lorriane Barnas
AGE: 19 | HEIGHT: 5'4" | HAIR COLOR: BLONDE | EYE COLOR: HAZEL
"The craziest thing that I have ever done was ride the Big Shot on top of the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The base of the ride is about 912 feet off the ground!" Courtney graduated from Red Mountain High School in 2005 and is attending Arizona State University majoring in Mass Communications. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Graduating with Honors; Entering College on the Dean's list; Senior Best Smile; A letter in Varsity Cheer. Courtney is currently working as a Hostess/Take-Out Cashier. When asked what are her strongest talents, she said: "I am able to make even the saddest person smile. I can communicate effectively with everyone I meet." When asked to name one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholder) that makes her especially proud, she said: "It was very important to me that I graduate high school with honors; graduation came and I achieved my goal. I was a part of the "red sash" group!" Her hobbies and favorite activities included: Shopping; Going to the gym; Cheerleading; Swimming; playing Super Nintendo; playing Texas Hold'em; playing with my dogs Leo and Bristles. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Courtney said: "I am a very joyful, wholehearted person who knows what it means to be a positive role model."
  


ARKANSAS
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Kelly George
AGE: 24 | HEIGHT: 5'7" | HAIR COLOR: AUBURN | EYE COLOR: BLUE
"While in Ireland, I hung upside down from 100 feet in the air to kiss the Blarney Stone, and I'm afraid of heights!!!" Kelly graduated from Trabuco Hills High School in 2001. She earns her Bachelor Degree from University of Maryland, College Park majoring in Communication in 2005 and is a post graduate student at University of Arkansas, Little Rock with area of study in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Public Affairs Company Grade Officer of the Year Nominee, Air Eduacation and Training Command; Award for excellence in physical fitness. Kelly is currently a United States Air Force Public Affairs Officer, Little Rock Air Force Base. When asked what are her strongest talents, she said: "I'm probably the most passionate person you'll meet. Whatever my goal, I strive for it whole heartedly. I'm also a strong communicator and leader who brings out the best in others around me." "As a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force, I have the privilege of representing something much bigger and better than myself. I go to work everyday feeling like I'm making a difference in my community, my country, and in today's world. I love what I do. I proudly wear my uniform and feel honored to serve my country as a Public Affairs Officer." Any hobbies and favorite activities included: Playing with her dogs, Cork and Bailey Collecting sand. "I've been all over the world, and I collect sand from every beach where I've been." "Grey's nights" with the girls: We love "Grey's Anatomy!" The ladies gather weekly to watch the current episode. I love "sushi nights" with the girls." When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Kelly said: "I will be a great Miss USA! I am ready tomorrow to serve with distinction as Miss USA 2007. I will be a positive role model for young women to emulate, as well as a Miss USA who the Miss Universe Organization will enjoy working with and be proud to have represent them. My public relations/communications experience will enable me to contribute to both the Miss Universe Organziation and to the people who I have the privilege of interfacing with while holding this title. I will bring high goals, high expectations, and a strong work ethic, as well as an attitude of service, to this job. I will make a difference!"


CALIFORNIA
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Meagan Yvonne Tandy
AGE: 21 | HEIGHT: 5'10" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
"During the Miss California USA 2007 pageant I caught myself sleepwalking a few hours after our bed checks. The crazy thing about my sleep walking during pageant weekend is that it happened both nights. The first night I was shaking the window blinds back and forth searching for the doorknob, which obviously did not exist. The 2nd night, I woke up my roommate when I charged out of my bed and literally ran into hers, shaking her awake. I then frantically asked her, “Where are they? Where are they?” I have no idea what I was talking about. Thankfully, I didn’t trip or hurt myself; I’m sure my roommate thought I was crazy." Meagan graduated from Etiwanda High School in 2003. In the fall of this year, she will complete her degree in Business Administration from Chaffey Community College. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Miss California USA 2007 Best Swimsuit winner Award; Teamwork Award from Sephora: Rancho Cucamonga, California; Spirit of America Award (National American Miss); National Achievement Award (National American Miss); National American; Miss Outstanding participation Award; 2nd runner up National Scrap Book Award (National American Miss); 1st runner up Casual wear runway model Award (National American Miss); Principles Top 10 for Academics Award. "I am a model and actress for the Morgan Agency in Hollywood, California, and I am a beauty consultant for Sephora: The Beauty Authority." "I am very talented in public speaking, scrap booking, and film production. I also enjoy writing mystery and adventure stories and I am talented in make up preparation and application." When asked to name one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholder) that makes her especially proud, Meagan said: "I am extremely proud and excited that I just became a member of SAG (Screen Actors Guild) in January of 2007!!!! I filmed my first two SAG national campaigns for Wendy’s hamburgers which will soon air on televisions across the nation. I have tried for years and years to become SAG affiliated and have been on countless auditions. To finally be a part of the union is invigorating. I look forward to my next commercial and to what this window of opportunity will bring." Her hobbies and favorite activities included: Exercise/Working out; Reading inspirational books; Make up artistry; Scrap booking; Playing board games with family; Going out to dinner with family and friends; Going to the movies with friends. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Meagan said: "I would like for the judges to know that I am a leader who is ready for the job! I am a woman with high moral standards and integrity. As well as being a tenacious, smiling, and gregarious individual who is packed with energy and is ready to work, I am a role model! I view Miss USA 2007 as a job and not as another pageant or just a title. I am confident I will be a great ambassador for our nation and be a great example for young women everywhere! I am convinced I will be everything the Miss Universe Organization needs and expects of me. With much faith, stability and confidence, I am proud to say I am ready to take on the job as Miss USA 2007 and I am truly thankful for this great opportunity."
 
 

COLORADO
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Keena Lea Bonella
AGE: 21 | HEIGHT: 5'8" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
"While attending a snowmobile race I made the “mistake” of saying out loud, “I’d love to do this someday!” Before I knew it I was dressed in other people’s race gear, helmet and all, sitting at the starting line of what would be the ride of my life! Entering a snowmobile race with only ten minutes to prepare - mentally and otherwise - is one of the craziest things I’ve ever done." Keena graduated from Fruita Monument High School in 2003 and is a graduate from Mesa State College majoring in Business in 2005 She is currently attending The Art Institute of Colorado with area of study in Graphic Design and Marketing. Keena will complete her degree in 2008. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: National Dean's list and Honor Roll. When asked what are her strongest talents, she said: "While most people call an organization and ask, “How can I help?” I call and say, “I have an idea.” One of my greatest gifts is that I am creative and lend that creativity to worthy causes. I believe I have exceptional people skills. I am comfortable talking to people of any age, from any walk of life. I am good with the homeless person who needs encouragement to the CEO who wants leadership." "I am the founder of three different fundraisers for Hospice. Not only have I aided in raising significant dollar amounts for a worthy cause, but also I have introduced the importance of service to a younger generation. Finally, I am proud that all three of these projects that I launched are still running strong." Her hobbies and favorite activities included: Road Trips; Cooking; Snowmobiling; Snow and water skiing; "Adrenaline Junkie"; Scrapbooking; Drawing and painting. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Keena said: "Why I always carry an umbrella."


CONNECTICUT
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Melanie Mudry
AGE: 26 | HEIGHT: 5'9" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BLUE
"While volunteering for the United States Department of Defense, I attempted to travel all over Italy riding a Vespa. I did not get further than 20 feet before nearly causing multiple car accidents and flying off of my bike! It seemed like a good idea before my life flashed before my eyes. Luckily no one was injured...I learned the hard way that sight seeing throughout Italy is much safer on foot than by a motorized bike!" Melanie graduated from St.Paul Catholic High School in 1999. She earns her Bachelor's Degree in Child Psychology and Applied Behavior Analysis from Eastern Connecticut State University in 2001 and is currently a Post Graduate at University of North Texas: Distance Learning Program with Area of Study in Applied Behavior Analysis and Developmental Disabilities. Melanie will complete her studies in 2007. She is currently a Behavior Consultant. "My strongest talent is my ability to always remain patient, optimistic, caring and compassionate no matter what life may bring. This is reflected and proven through my positive actions, specifically when working with children with autism." When asked to name one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholder) that makes her especially proud, she said: "Traveling overseas and volunteering for the Servicemen and Women of the United States Military as a member of the USO Troupe, 'The Liberty Misses'." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Karaoke; Exercising; Skydiving; Cooking; Knitting; Bargain Shopping; Traveling; Volunteering; Home Improvement Projects and Hiking. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Melanie said: "I would like the judges to know how grateful and appreciative I am for having been able to have this unique opportunity. I have worked very hard to be able to accomplish my dream of competing in the Miss USA pageant and feel honored to be able to represent Connecticut. I hope the judges are able to see that I am a well rounded, kind-hearted and sincere person."
  


DELAWARE
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Nicole Bosso
AGE: 20 | HEIGHT: 5'4" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BLUE
"I went snowmobiling to the top of Mount Elbert in Colorado with my family. Mount Elbert is the highest peak in the Rocky Mountains of North America. The elevation level is 14,440 feet. The view from the top of the mountain over looked the Continental Divide. It was a breath-taking and an exhilarating adventurous experience." Nicole graduated from St.Mark's High School in 2004. She will complete her degree in Communication from University of Delaware in 2008. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Eagle U Award and Honor Roll Award. When asked what are her stongest talents, Nicole said: "My strongest talents are writing, leadership skills, communication skills, and the ability to counsel others." When asked to name one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholder) that makes her especially proud, she said: "I am the first college athlete in my family." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Scrapbooking; Photography; Traveling; Arts and Crafts; Jet skiing; Amusement parks; Skiing; Walking her dogs; Working out and Visiting the local SPCA. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Nicole said: "I am a confident, determined fun-loving woman who has strong leadership skills, goals and visions for myself and the world we live in. I am very goal-oriented and positive that I will reach every goal and dream that I have. I believe you should never give up and always go for whatever it is that you want. Each experience, good or bad, teaches you a lesson and with that lesson, you are given the ability to move forward a stronger person, continuing to strive for excellence no matter what future obstacles you think may stand in your way."


DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
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Mercedes Catherine Lindsey
AGE: 26 | HEIGHT: 5'7" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
"I took in a stray city cat... For five days straight, when I would leave work I would hear a cat’s meow but I would never see the cat. One day after coming back from lunch, a co-worker begins talking about this “killer cat” running around; mid-sentence this cat comes running out toward us. I eventually was able to lure the cat so that I could take it to a shelter. However, the shelter was a kill shelter and informed me that the cat could be killed in 4 minutes or 4 days. So I ended up taking the cat home and as the cat continued to gain weight, I just assumed that it was because it was getting fed on a regular basis. To my surprise one day, I came home to six kittens in my closet. I now temporarily have seven cats." Mercedes graduated from River Ridge High School in 1999 and is a graduate of Howard University; with Area of Study in Television Production. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Miss District of Columbia USA 2007 and Dean's List. Mercedes is currently working as a Production Assistant. "My strongest talent is my "gift of gab." I can talk to anyone. I am also very creative; Do you need any birthday ideas? I've got them." "One personal accomplishment that makes me especially proud is putting myself through school. My mother was a single parent and was not in a position to pay for my college. Unfortunately, I took a year break between high school and college and worked three jobs. Because of the income from those jobs, I did not qualify for financial aid. Once Howard University accepted me, I vowed to make it happen. I started with selling my car for dorm money and I continued to work. It is funny how different you treat things when you have to pay for them." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Watching Sports (football, basketball, baseball, hockey, etc.); Playing Sports; Bowling; Cooking (although I'm not such a great cook); Traveling; Outdoor Activities (camping, hiking, fishing, etc.) Writing; Girlie Stuff like getting pedicures and my hair done; Spending time with my family and friends; planning events (birthday parties, sleep-overs, game night). When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Mercedes said: "I want the judges to know that I truly appreciate being here competing to represent the best place in the world, the United States of America. I understand that this is a huge honor and comes with great responsibility. I am ready for the challenge. I am real and I represent pieces of ALL women in the USA. I want to show the world what it truly means to be a woman in the United States."
 
 

FLORIDA
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Jenna Edwards
AGE: 25 | HEIGHT: 5'8" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BLUE
 When asked what is the craziest thing she has ever done, Jenna said: "The Richard Petty Driving Experience! I rode in a stock car at 165 mph at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. It was a constant four minute thrill that left me breathless, speechless, and weak at the knees. The next step is learning to drive a racecar with 600 horsepower!" Jenna graduated from Central Hinds Academy in 1999 and earns her Bachelor of Science, Communications and English Literature from University of Miami in 2003. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: semi-finalist for Loreal's "Women of Worth" awards program; gave Invocation at the Nascar Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway; guest of Governor Bush at the 2004 Presidential Inauguration; profiled as 1 of 8 "Outstanding Graduates" during college graduation ceremony; received Henry King Stanford Scholarship for academics to attend University of Miami; Top 5 National Finalist for Ford Motor Company's "Commitment to Kids" awards program; 2003 Miss America National Community Service Scholarship. Jenna is currently a model; president, Queen for a Day. When asked what are her strongest talents, she said: "My sense of humor and my straight-forwardness. I am always able to find the humor in any situation. Lord knows where I'd be if I didn't have my humor! I also have a knack for being extremely honest and for not "sugar-coating" my responses. Sometimes, it gets me in trouble!" "I am most proud of Queen for a Day, a non-profit organization offering quality of life services to pediatric cancer patients I founded in 2000. Since then, we have grown from a one-time community service project to an international organization reaching hundreds of seriously or terminally ill children each year. From appearing on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and featured in "People Magazine" to hundreds of volunteers around the country, Queen for a Day claims many achievements. However, I measure our success in the smiles and hugs from the children we meet. As intensive physical treatments affect the pyschological and emotional well-being of the children, Queen for a Day offers an opportunity for children to experience the laughter and joy that is so often absent while fighting a serious illness. I am very proud of the profound impact this program has on the children and families suffering from cancer and am humbled to be a part of their lives." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: baking; reading; golf; watching car racing (live); yoga; lifting weights and volunteering. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Jenna said: "The sky is the limit. My Mother taught me to be confident; to expect things to happen for me, not "if" they happen but "when" they happen. Therefore, in everything I do, I have high aspirations. I also attribute my deep faith in God to my successes. I fully realize that I alone am not responsible for the amazing opportunities given to me. God has continuously and generously blessed me."


GEORGIA
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Brittany Ryan Swann
AGE: 23 | HEIGHT: 5'8" | HAIR COLOR: BLONDE | EYE COLOR: BLUE
"After studying fashion in London and Paris one summer with a group of 20 girls, I shipped the suitcase home and had nothing but a backpack to get me through a scary adventure with only myself and my best friend. We stayed in hostels in Paris, parts of Italy and in Croatia spending no more than 50 dollars a day on everything! It was such an empowering trip for two young women to embark on by themselves with no cell phones, no plans, and little knowledge of the languages spoken. Literally waking up every morning asking each other, "where to next?" was our routine! Having the chance to visit places like the isle of Capri and its famous blue grotto, the Dalmatian Coast and hiking the Cinque Terre, made me thirst to return to these hidden local spots!" Brittany graduated from Cookeville High School in 2002 and will complete her degree in Marketing and Management from Georgia State University with Area of Study in Business and Fashion in 2007. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Dean's List; Phi Beta Theta Honor Society; National Honor Society; Emerging Leaders, UT-Knoxville. Brittany is currently working as a model. When asked what are her strongest talents, she said: "I pride myself on being successful at multitasking and staying organized. I am completely adaptable and confident in approaching new situations and love the challenge of getting through them on my own. I can also bake some "mean" strawberry cheesecake muffins!" "Discovering Europe on my own was a huge personal accomplishment for me! My resources included my own money (my budget was no more than $50 a day)and my own common sense to get me from place to place with only a backpack, a travel guide, and a few Italian, French and Croatian phrases I picked up along the way." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Traveling anywhere and everywhere!; Watching SEC Football - Go DAWGS!; Event planning for friends' weddings and parties; Boating and Camping; Cooking for my family and friends; Bargain shopping; Designing jewelry; Road trips with my friends. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Brittany said: "I am a humble and giving person with strong values. I have overcome many struggles throughout my life and proved to be strong and independent by not letting them define who I am. It is because of these life experiences that I now thrive on challenges put before me and know that I am the designer of my life and look to each moment with great importance and possibility. My goal is for others to see that hard work gets you to where you want to be."
 

HAWAII
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Chanel Joy Puaalaonalani Wise
AGE: 21 | HEIGHT: 5'8" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
"Well I was fortunate enough travel to Taiwan last March and the craziest thing that I ever did was drink snake's blood while I was visiting the country." Chanel graduated from St. Francis High School in  2003 and is a Post Graduate at Kapiolani Community College and Hawaii Pacific University with Area of Study in Criminology. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Hawai'i Pacific University Scholorship in the amount of $12,000. Chanel is currently working as a Polynesian Dancer for Malu Productions. When asked what are her strongest talents, she said: "I think my strongest talent is my dancing, I feel that I am to take control of a room and bring energy and joy to people." "I'm proud to say that I am a suvivor of an eating disordered called Anorexia Nervosa and I'm now using my experiences and title to help the many girls who may need my encouragement and support!" Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Dancing; Painting and "Being with family. although I don't really have time to now." When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Chanel said: "I want the judges to know that I am a very down to earth girl and that I carry the ALOHA spirit with me every where I go. I want them to know that I am ready to become Miss USA! I am a very deidecated, loyal, and punctually person, and once I start something I make sure I finish it."


IDAHO
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Mandy Lynn Rammell
AGE: 21 | HEIGHT: 5'10" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BLUE
"I was a participant in the ABC Reality Show called "Switched," a show in which two individuals with very different backgrounds switch lives for one week. I traded lives with a world-class log roller from Wisconsin. I went to her home and learned all about the sport of log rolling, while she came to Idaho and was taught how to be a beauty queen. Unfortunately, during a log rolling competition, I twisted and broke my ankle. This was, for me, an unforgettably "crazy" experience." Mandy graduated from Madison High School in 2003. She earns her degree in Cosmetology/Esthetics Licenese from Career Beauty College in 2004 and also earns Alumni of Eagle University with area of study in Communication/Leadership. She is attending Brigham Young University - Idaho with Area of Study in Biology. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Outstanding Citizen Award; Academic Achievment Award and Miss Idaho USA 2007. Mandy is currently working as a fiddling instructor. "I have been blessed with the talent of performing, whether that be through dancing, singing, or playing the violin. It has been rewarding to inspire other young women to develop their talents. Inspirational music and performance requires great discipline and sensitivity. There have been many instances during a performance that I have looked into the crowd to see tears streaming down the faces of those listening. Many parents have brought their children to me to help them learn the importance of developing their talents. I have discovered that music touches the heart in a unique and special way." "I am proud of being musically accomplished in vocal and violin performance. I can't cite one unique performance above another, but taken as a whole, I am proud of all the performances and the skill level I have achieved." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: boating/wake boarding; horse back riding; dance/tumbling cheerleading; four-wheeling; snow machining; snow boarding; writing and creating music and reading. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Mandy said: "I am Mandy Rammell, and I want to be the next Miss USA. I know that with this elected honor comes responsibility, and I recognize the position of influence that comes with such a title. I believe I have the necessary standards and talents to professionally represent the Miss Universe organization. I am thankful for the opportunity to share with others the truth I have found in the statement, "When you are beautiful at sixteen, it is because of your parents, but when you are considered beautiful at sixty, it is because of the life you have led." It is my goal that at the age of sixty I will have discovered the true definition of beauty."
 
 

ILLINOIS
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Mia Heaston
AGE: 25 | HEIGHT: 5'7" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
"On the eve of Thanksgiving 2005, I volunteered to babysit all six of my nieces and nephews at the SAME time, so that my brothers and their wives could have a free evening to go to dinner and a movie. I failed to mention that two of the six children were one year-old twins. All I have to say is, "What was I thinking!?" It was a very long and eventful evening that helped me to respect the gift of parenthood and to appreciate the sacrifice that it takes to love, raise and discipline children." Mia graduated from Covington High School in 1999 and earns her Bachelor of Arts Degree from University of Memphis with Area of Study in Broadcast Journalism in 2002. She also earns her Masters of Business Administration from Dowling College in 2005. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years  included: Winning Miss IL USA 2007-1st African American woman to win this title; 2007 Miss Congeniality at the Miss IL USA pageant; 2006 Mentor of the Year at Simeon High School in Chicago, IL; 2006 Rookie of the Year for the National Association of Black MBA; Official Chicago Spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association. Mia is currently working as a Senior Pharmacuetical Sales Representative for Eli Lilly & Co. "My strongest talent is the ability to turn every obstacle into an opportunity. My parents always taught me that it's not the challenges we face in life but it's how we face our challenges. When obstacles come our way, we can choose to be bitter or choose to be better. I always choose to be better! This attitude has allowed me to weather the challenges of life while keeping my head held high." "One accomplishment that I'm especially proud of is my commitment and service to my community. I stand on the shoulders of people who've helped me along the way and I feel that it's extremely important for me not to forget where I came from and to give back to my community through mentorship and volunteerism." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Public and Motivational Speaking; Mentoring Children; Scrapbooking; Working Out; Playing tennis with her boyfriend; Spending time with her family and friends: "I love the Wednesday night ritual that I have with my friends in Chicago; it's girls night out and a chance for us to share our experiences, while empowering one another" When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Mia said: "I want the judges to know that I'm ambitious, hard-working, dependable, and goal-oriented. But most importantly, I want the judges to know that I'm a genuine person with a good heart and I always hold steadfast to my morals and faith. I believe that to whom much is given much is required. I understand the responsibilities of being Miss USA, and I truly believe that I have the maturity, mentality, confidence, and the determination to be the next Miss USA if given the opportunity."


INDIANA
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Jami Stallings
AGE: 20 | HEIGHT: 5'6" | HAIR COLOR: BLONDE | EYE COLOR: BLUE
"I was selected as a cast member for MTV's "The 70's House." I was taped twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for six weeks living in a 70's style home. We were only allowed to wear original clothes from the 70's, which meant a lot of polyester! On the show, we were not allowed any modern day appliances such as computers, cell phones, color TV's, microwaves or CD players. During the day, we played "Pong" on our black and white TV, danced to disco music, and at night we watched shows like "Mork and Mindy." Each episode of the show also contained a 70's-style competition with a twist. It was a crazy experience I will never forget." Jami graduated from William Henry Harrison High School in 2004 and earns her Fashion Design and Merchandising Degree from O'More College of Design. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Dean's List and Magna Cum Laude. "I have an eye for fashion and love thinking up new ideas, sketching them out, and then making them a reality. Right now, my strongest talent would be the design aspect of fashion, but I am working hard at my sewing skills so hopefully I can soon also say I am a talented seamstress." "Due to a childhood injury, I have been unable to do strenuous activity without pain. This past year, I worked very hard at training my body to overcome the pain and to learn to run again. I worked for months to enable myself to run for longer amounts of time each day; finally I was able to run in a race benefiting children without health insurance. It was such a rewarding experience because not only had I worked hard to condition my body, I had also aided an organization that meant a lot to me." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Sewing; Designing/sketching clothes; dancing; Watching Project Runway; Singing loud in my car. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Jami said: "I am the biggest "dork" imaginable. I love making people laugh. I am a little bit of a tomboy because I love being outside and being active, but at the same time I’m also very girly. I am not intimidated by anything and I love a challenge because I know that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to." 


IOWA
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Dani Reeves
AGE: 21 | HEIGHT: 6'0" | HAIR COLOR: BLONDE | EYE COLOR: BLUE
"After getting my driver's license as a 16-year-old, my cousin & I decided to "road trip" to go see friends on the far side of the state ......let's just say, "without worrying my parents." When we returned home, they asked me "how was the trip?" and mysteriously knew where we had been. To this day, I still don't know how they knew, but I find it reassuring to know they are always looking out for me!" Dani graduated from Hamburg Jr/Sr High in 2003 and is a graduate of Morningside College, Iowa Western with area of study in Pre Med Radiology. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Mustang Co Curricular Award and Theatre Talent Award. When asked what are her strongest talents, Dani said:  "I love music. I've been playing the flute for ten years and participated in band and choir ever since I can remember. I was named Most Outstanding Musician in Band and Choir my senior year. I also love theatre and public speaking." "I first started college majoring in broadcast journalism, but after taking a few classes I developed an interest in medicine. I started taking a few pre-med classes and I am continuing my education in that field of study. I was very proud when I found out that I am ranked first in some of my classes." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Sports; Boating and anything outdoors; Reading; Scrapbooking and Music. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Dani said: "I want the judges to know that I am not perfect. I've made mistakes in my life just like everyone else. I really believe that it's the things in your life that don't go right that make us a better person and develops character. I'm a hard worker and I'm faithful and loyal to my family and friends. I like to look on the bright side of life and believe things happen for a reason."


KANSAS
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Cara Renee Georges
AGE: 19 | HEIGHT: 5'9" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
"In December of my senior year of high school, my girlfriends and I combined a snowball fight with a hottub adventure! We were enjoying a dip in the hottub, and decided to utilize the 6 inches of snow on the ground. In swimsuits, we had a snowball fight, made snow angels, and even built a small...but very handsome...snow man." Cara graduated from Clearwater High School in 2005 and is a graduate of University of Kansas in 2006 with area of study in Political Science and History. Cara is also attending Butler Community College with area of study in Mortuary Science. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: All-American Cheerleader for 3 years; All-League Cross Country Runner for 4 years; State Forensics Qualifier 2 years; Light of Christ Nominee (this is an award given to teens practicing outstanding moral fiber in their everyday lives.) Cara is Student Athlete; Cross Country and Track. "My main talents are in athletics. I love playing sports and working out. Running is my strongest talent. Athletics have taught me to be a very dedicated and disciplined person. I know what it means to work hard, and I think that's why athletics are so enjoyable for me." "I am very proud of the way I grew up. Although my parents had a lot to do with it, I do take some of the credit based on my own personal motivation. In middle school and high school, I was the poster child for a wannabe rebel. I was disobedient and disrespectful towards my parents. Thankfully, my personal morals and standards kept me out of major trouble, but my relationship with my parents needed mending. When I went away to college, I had the opportunity to experience independence, and found myself doing the positive things that my parents had been trying to get me to do for years. Things are much better now, and I will always be appreciative and respectful towards my parents for putting up with me until I reached a point where I realized that rebellion only results in hurt and anger." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Running; Cooking; Making Spreadsheets; Organizing; Grocery Shopping; Antique Car Shows; Fishing; Camping; and Target Practice with a 12-gauge. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Cara said: "Although I may be one of the youngest and least experienced women in this competition, it certainly does not mean I am any less qualified for the job of Miss USA. I am a dedicated, disciplined, hard worker, and I constantly strive to be my best self. I truly believe that when young people know their potential, the possibility of them reaching their goals becomes much greater. I have used this philosophy in my own life, seen the benefits, and would like to introduce it to others."
 

KENTUCKY
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Michelle Stephanie Banzer
AGE: 24 | HEIGHT: 5'5" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
"In the Spring of 2005, I left all of my family and friends to fly halfway across the world to live in a city where I knew nothing about the culture or the people. I lived in Hong Kong for two months working closely with a modeling agency doing various commercial and print work. In that time, I made some amazing lifelong friends, I learned much more about my mother's Chinese heritage, and most importantly, I learned more about myself." Michelle graduated from DuPont Manual High in 2001 and attended Highlights Academy earning a degree in Associates with Area of Study in Manicurist's License. She also completed her studies at Jefferson Community and Technical College in 2003 with Area of Study: Science. Michelle will earn her Bachelors Degree from University of Louisville majoring in Computer Information Systems in: 2008. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Dean's List- University of Kentucky and Graduate with Distinction- Jefferson Community and Technical College. Michelle is currently working as a Substitute Teacher. When asked what are her stongest talents, she said: "I am an extremely versatile individual. I am used to being able to go from a serious school/work environment to a more laid-back modeling job with a fair amount of ease. Also, due to these experiences and my knowledge of another language, I am able to communicate and connect with a wide range of people." "I am very proud to be representing the growing number of women who have chosen to enter male-dominated fields. My major is Computer Information Systems, and it is not uncommon for me to be the only female in many of my classes. I've learned that I am just as capable as many of my male counterparts, and that being one of the few women in the program no longer intimidates me." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Sewing; Cross-stitching; Reading; Watching Movies; Skiing; Travel; Modeling; playing Video Games and The Internet. When asked what is the most important thing she want s the judges to know about her, Michelle said: "I am a giant nerd. I'm a very grounded individual who would much rather spend a Saturday night at home with a few friends than out causing trouble somewhere. I am addicted to the Internet and video games. I think everyone is a bit of a nerd, but some people just don't like to admit it."


LOUISIANA
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Elizabeth Bienvenu Mcnulty
AGE: 25 | HEIGHT: 5'9" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
"The craziest thing I have ever done turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done. When I was 19 years old, I moved to New York City for the summer to attend the Intensive Study Program at Parsons School of Design. All of my friends thought it was a crazy thing to do. Attending Parsons in New York City was one of the most rewarding and exciting times of my life!" Elizabeth graduated from St. Thomas More High School in 2000 and is a graduate of Parsons School of Design in which she completed her Summer Intensive Study Program majoring in Fashion Design in 2001. She earns her Bachelor of Science from Louisiana State University majoing in Fashion Design in 2005. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Designs shown at Dallas Fashion Week; Keynote; Speaker for LSU's 2006 Freshman Human Ecology Entrants; Youngest Fashion Editor for Town Favorites Magazine; Chosen to represent St. Thomas Boutique in Harper's Bazaar photo shoot; Featured as lead model in New Orleans Magazine Bridal Edition; Spotlight Artist for Creative Designs at local schools; One of my originally designed gowns was worn by the Evening Gown Award winner in the Mrs. Louisiana Pageant in 2006. Elizabeth is currently working as a Fashion Editor and Free-lance Fashion Designer. When asked what are her stongest talents, she said: "Making people laugh, sketching and design - especially fashion design" Being an immeediate responder for The Red Cross during Hurricane Katrina is one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholser) that makes her especially proud. Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Ballroom dancing; Reading; Baking; Pilates; Collecting art books and Playing with her dog, Bianca. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Elizabeth said: "I want the judges to know that for the past 3 1/2 months, I have looked in the mirror and said, 'I am Miss USA 2007!'"
 
 

MAINE
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Erin Elise Good
AGE: 21 | HEIGHT: 5'7" | HAIR COLOR: AUBURN | EYE COLOR: BLUE
"We have all heard our mother’s use the expression “If your friends told you to jump off a cliff, does that mean you would too?” I must not have been listening when she told me that because I did just that! My twin brother, who I refuse to be outdone by, dared me to jump off a cliff onto a grassy area below. I should have listened to my mother because I broke my foot in three places and had a long painful hike back down the mountain." Erin graduated from Lawrence High School in 2004 and will complete her studies at University Of Maine Orono with area of study in: Pre-med Biochemistry in 2008. Erin is currently working as a Waitress and Bartender. When asked what are her stongest talents, Erin said: "I am a very strong athlete. I love challenging myself both physically and mentally. Throughout high school I took part in many athletic activities, including varsity soccer, basketball and track. My education is very important to me so I chose not to play a college sport but I do play on some intramural soccer and basketball teams and visit the gym daily." "My success in my education is one thing that I am extremely proud of. My parents taught me how valuable education is and they have always pushed me to do well. I graduated in the top 25 of my high school class and currently hold a 3.3 GPA in a very difficult Major of Pre-Med Biochemistry at the University of Maine." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Spending time with her three pound Yorkshire Terrier Fenway!; Lifting and working out with her trainer; Scrapbooking; Basketball / Soccer; Running; Swimming; Dancing; Hanging out with her friends, boyfriend, and family. and Pet Therapy (With Fenway). When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Erin said: "I want to show the judges that I am a strong, confident, intelligent young woman with good morals and a steady head on her shoulders. I have high aspirations for my life and I plan to accomplish them because I feel that you can accomplish anything if you believe in yourself. If the judges take one thing away from meeting me I hope that they see that I am a strong and confident leader, and someone who others could look up to for my honesty, compassion, and ingegrity!"


MARYLAND
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Michae' Holloman
AGE: 25 | HEIGHT: 5'5" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
"The craziest thing I have ever done is jumping off of a boat and diving into Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. I had the opportunity to visit the Guantanamo Bay Military Base in 2004. We were riding around the bay in a glass bottom boat and when the driver stopped at one of the most scenic locations in the bay, he said we could jump in if we wanted, so I did!" Michae' graduated from Suitland High School for Performing Arts in 1999 and has complete her Bachelors Degree from University of Maryland, College Park, majoring in Public Relations/Communication in 2003. "I am a Communications Consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton." "My strongest talents are dancing, performing and public speaking. I have danced and performed for over 20 years. My experiences with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Dance Theater of Harlem and as a Washington Redskins Cheerleader have allowed me to develop my skills as a dancer and confidence as a performer. I have also had public speaking experience as a Washington Redskins Cheerleader and through my occupation. In fact, I was recently asked to be a guest speaker and awards presenter at an upcoming black tie gala for my alma mater." "I am very proud to say that I am a homeowner. I purchased my first condo in March, 2006. I am truly enjoying the responsibilities of owning and maintaining my own home!" Her hobbies and favorite activities are: taking dance classes; reading magazines; catalogue shopping; decorating and cooking. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Michae' said: "I want the judges to know that maintaining my name and respecting myself is very important to me. I try not to put myself in any situation that is unhealthy or that could possibly cause disgrace to my name or my family. I believe that you only get one chance for a first impression, so I always carry and represent myself with this in mind. When someone refers to Michae' Holloman, I want professionalism, poise and respect to be the key words that come from their mouth."
 
 

MASSACHUSETTS
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Despina Delios
AGE: 23 | HEIGHT: 5'9" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: GREEN
 When asked what is the craziest thing she has ever done, Despina said: "Skydiving in Daytona Beach, Florida with two close friends. It was a spur of the moment adventure and the thrill of being in the air was amazing, liberating and crazy. The view was extraordinary and the experience was truly something I’ll never forget!" Despina graduated from Peabody Veterans Memorial in 2002 and has completed her studies at Eagle University with Area of Study in Life skills, motivation and success training in 2007. She also has completed her studies from Lasell College with Area of Study in Business Merchandising in 2002 and graduated from Northshore Community College with Area of Study in Business Marketing in 2006. Despina is currently working as a waitress. When asked what are her stongest talents, she said: "I'm a great listener- I tend to be the psychologist amongst my friends. I also have a great memory." "I have always pushed myself to work really hard and earn my own way. I am self funding my education." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Traveling (especially to Greece); Dancing; Running; "ugly shopping" with her friends for fun; Cooking; Fine Dining; Collecting rocks from foreign and exotic places; Watching law shows and Makeup artistry. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Despina said: "I am extremely self sufficient. I was forced to be independent at a young age so everything I’ve accomplished, I’m proud to say I’ve done on my own. I’m also down to earth and unpredictable."


MICHIGAN
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Kelly Best
AGE: 20 | HEIGHT: 5'9" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
When asked what is the craziest thing she has ever done, Kelly said: "Informing readers that I overcame a battle with depression. So many people would say 'You are crazy if you put that on your biography if you want to become MISS USA!' Too many young people are effected by depression and depression can be remedied if someone like myself is strong enough to educate others that it is NOT 'crazy!'" Kelly graduated from Lapeer West High School in 2004 and will completed her degree in Business Communication from Michigan State University in 2008. When asked what are her strongest talents, Kelly said: "I adore creating a scrumptious food experience for the people I love, and from what they tell me I am a talented cook, a gifted baker and possess a unique passion for the culinary arts. Among many talents I have another one worth mentioning and that I enjoy is having compassion and understanding of others." "I am extremely proud to have had the courage to return to college after overcoming a battle with depression. Depression does effect countless young people and can be remedied as long as we are educated that we can be open about it. It is not contagious or a plague and no one should feel ashamed of such an illness. Having battled a case of depression I now have a greater understanding of myself, my health and appreciate the education I am receiving. For something that might seem odd or awful it has actually been a blessing that has taught me who I truly am. I am now empowered to assist and guide other young people that may face a similar situation." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Cooking; Dancing; Shopping; Music; Working Out; Travel and Fashion. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Kelly said: "Judges, I am one hundred percent all of the time! I know who I am at this stage in my life and I am a driven woman who works hard and excels. The opportunity to become Miss USA is phenomenal! It is an honor to both enjoy and respect. I know in my head and my heart that it is a job I would excel at. A job I would forever be grateful for."
 

MINNESOTA
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Alla Igorevna Ilushka
AGE: 22 | HEIGHT: 5'8" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
"When I was a sophomore in college, I went on an impromptu trip to Italy. I bought a ticket to fly into Naples and a return ticket that left from Milan. I had no itinerary, no reservations, and no plans. With one semester of Italian under my belt and a guidebook in my back pocket, I hit the streets of Italy. For two weeks I traveled from southern Italy to northern Italy. It was the trip of a lifetime." Alla graduated from Hopkins High School in 2003 and will complete her Bachelor of Arts degree in Strategic Communication from University of Minnesota in 2007. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Dean's List; Eagle Spirit Award at Eagle U and Miss Minnesota USA 2007. Alla is currently a Corporate Communications and Media Relations Intern at Thomson Legal & Regulatory. When asked what are her strongest talents, Alla said: "My interpersonal skills, I can communicate with anyone and make people laugh." "I am proud to have been chosen for an internship in the press office of HM Tower of London. Through this internship, I had the opportunity to do public relations at one of England's most popular heritage sites. This internship combined my two passions: travel and writing; and it didn't hurt that my office was in a palace next to the Queen of England's crown jewels. I was chosen for the internship based on my merits; being recognized for my education, experience, and accomplishments was very gratifying." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Traveling; Extreme sports: skydiving, rock climbing, mountain hiking; Reading; Writing; Painting and drawing; Scrapbooking; Doing puzzles: crossword, cryptoquip, Sudoku, Mah Jong. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Alla said: "I live by W. E. Henley's words: "I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul." My determination, drive, and focus guide me through life. I know who I am and I know where I'm going."


MISSISSIPPI
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Jalin Wood
AGE: 25 | HEIGHT: 5'10" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: GREEN
When asked what is the craziest thing she has ever done, Jalin said: "Although I am deathly afraid of "fish", I went surfing at Bondi Beach in Australia where the Great White Shark population is PLENTIFUL. I even swam with giant stingrays!" Jalin graduated from Wayne Academy in 1999 and has completed her Bachelor of Science from Mississippi College in 2003. She will complete her Masters Degree in Health Promotion from University of Mississippi in 2007. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Chancellor's List; Graduate Assistant; Study Abroad South Africa; Study Abroad Australia; Study Abroad London England; HIV drug research leader; Summa cum laude with high honors graduate; Superior honors thesis; and Who's Who Among American Colleges and Universities. Jalin is currently an owner of  "MINE by Jalin" accessory designs, Mark representative and Juice Plus distributor. When asked what are her strongest talents, she said: "The ability to focus and accomplish through self discipline and motivation have enabled me to become a world class equestrian, high honors graduate, and classical pianist." "My thesis work on "The Thermodynamic Studies of the Triplex Selectivity of Substituted Naphthylquinolines"- a study seeking to develop a drug that would inhibit HIV replication. I presented my research to PhD's and chemists from all over the world at the National American Chemical Society in New Orleans, Louisiana; SERMACS in Atlanta, Georgia and Memphis, Tennessee." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Playing the piano; Riding horses
Reading; Water skiing; Recycle decorating; Pick-up ball; designing accessories and duck hunting. Whena asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Jalin said: "I am a high-on-life kind of girl who wants to soak it all up while being aware that it is not all about ME. I am reserved yet not afraid to try new things, comfortable mucking stalls or on the runway, analytical with a flare for creativity, and unwind by playing classical piano or watching wildlife from a tree stand."
 
 

MISSOURI
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Amber Marie Seyer
AGE: 20 | HEIGHT: 5'9" | HAIR COLOR: BLONDE | EYE COLOR: BLUE
 When asked what is the craziest thing she has ever done, Amber said: "Considering I get scared watching 48 hours, it was a real stretch for me to help film a documentary at a "haunted" house." Amber graduated from Oran High School in 2004. She has completed her studies at Eagle University with area of study in Sucess Seminar in 2008 and will complete her degree in Marketing, International Business with a minor in Spanish from Lindenwood University in 2008.  Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Hurricane Katrina Rescue Volunteer Group Leader; Assistant Cheerleading Coach at Lindenwood University; Head Fitness Coach for Lindenwood University Cheer Team; Lindenwood University Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society; Marketing Club Vice President; Eagle Award at Eagle University; Linden Scroll Award Winner; Permanent Hometown Sign; National Dean's List and God Mother. When asked what are her strongest talents, Amber said: "Communicating with others. I try to relate to everyone I encounter. I find myself empathizing with and advising strangers at school, work, home, and even in the grocery store line! In addition, I make an effort to pay really close attention to people. I consider myself a very good listener." "One personal accomplishment of mine is maintaining an accumulative 4.0 GPA throughout my college career. Being a collegiate athlete, holding a job, flying out nearly every weekend for modeling opportunities, balancing my social life, and finding the time to focus on my grades has been quite a challenge." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Cutting, Coloring and Styling Hair; Holding High School Cheerleading Clinics; Riding Horses; Sunday Breakfast after Church with her Family; Playing Card Games: Texas Hold'em, Euchre, Golf; Online Shopping; Singing/Listening to music; Midnight Denny's celebrations with my Mom and Baking. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Amber said: "I realize the job of Miss USA is not about me, and that's why I would serve this position well."


MONTANA
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Stephanie Ann Trudeau
AGE: 20 | HEIGHT: 5'4" | HAIR COLOR: BLONDE | EYE COLOR: BROWN
When asked what is the craziest thing she has ever done, Stephanie said: "I led a group of friends on a rafting trip through Buffalo Rapids, a set of class 4 rapids on the Flathead River near Polson Montana." Stephanie graduated from St. Ignatius High School in 2004 and is a graduate of  The University of Montana majoring in Human Biology. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: St. Ignatius City Council Award; 1st place Taekwondo team award and Honor role. Stephanie is currently working as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Riverside Health Care in Missoula, MT. IShe is also a Taekwondo instructor in St. Ignatius. When asked what are her strongest talents, she said: "I feel my strongest talent is always finding beauty and joy in everything I do. I try to turn every experience into a positive one and an opportunity to learn, laugh, and love. I constantly strive to be positive and bring a smile into every room I enter." "One personal accomplishment that makes me especially proud is my dedication to the martial arts. I have been involved in Taekwondo for eleven years. I am a second degree black belt and I co-own a Taekwondo school with my dad. We have approximately 50 students that I have trained, turning them into the athletes they are today. Also, being able to share my love for Taekwondo with others, teaching them responsibility, leadership, and humility along with building their confidence and helping them persevere makes me particularly proud." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Hiking; Tennis; Camping; Rafting; Fishing; Basketball; Hunting; Volleyball and Working on my scrapbook. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the jduges to know about her, Stephanie said: "I want the judges to know that we all have an opportunity to choose how we live life everyday. I am a person who chooses to greet everyday as the gift that it is, not to be wasted because it is precious. I always choose to rise to the challenges that life offers and celebrate the joys that it gives us. My favorite thing in the world is to smile."
 
 

NEBRASKA
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Geneice Irene Wilcher
AGE: 26 | HEIGHT: 5'4" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
"I am a pretty laid back and calm person, so I have not done anything too crazy. Last year, Nebraska had the first snowstorm of the year, which brought several inches of snow. That night, I had to drop off my company vehicle after work. Unfortunately, my ride did not show up, so I decided I would 'just walk home'. In the middle of the night, I set out in the freezing, wet, windy snowstorm. I especially enjoyed the snowplows that covered me in snow everytime they passed. Two hours later, I arrived home. I was slightly worn out and cold, but finally had my first crazy (okay, stupid) experience." Geneice graduated from Bad Kreuznach (Germany) in 1998 and has completed her Bachelor of Science in Education from Cornell College in 2002. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Swimsuit Award, Miss Ebone 2005; Swimsuit Award, Miss Nebraska USA 2006; Photogenic Award, Miss Nebraska USA 2007 and Interview Award, Miss Nebraska USA 2007. Geneice is currently working as a Catering Assistant Manager. "My strongest talents are interacting with people and adapting to change." "Getting into college was not easy. I received more "no's" than "yes's". At the time, it was very discouraging for me to continue trying. Through the consistent love and support of my parents, I realized I needed to snap out of it and try harder. My senior year of high school, I took the SAT's and ACT's again, and scored much better. Hard work, determination, and perseverance are what got me into the college of my dreams. This is a personal accomplishment that makes me especially proud!" Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Reading; Working Out; Spending time with her family; Bargain Shopping; Swim Lessons and Making Jewelry. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Geneice said: "There are two more things that I want the judges to know about me. I'm a very passionate person who believes in making every situation a learning experience. Living this belief has really helped shape and guide my life. I'm also fiercely loyal to my family."


NEVADA
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Helen Salas
AGE: 21 | HEIGHT: 5'6" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
"It was definitely "culture shock" when Miss Nevada USA 2004 and I (Miss Nevada Teen USA 2004) visited Minnesota friends on the coldest night of the year. It was -25 below zero with a -50 below windchill factor. Crazy as it sounds, at 2 a.m., we bundled up and headed for the world famous St. Paul Winter Carnival's Ice Palace made completely of ice blocks. This attraction was visited by thousands who would stand in line for hours braving the cold. However, when the police who were guarding the palace saw our crowns and sashes, they gave us the "royal treatment" and re-opened the gates just for us. Being adventurous and remembering someone once telling me that "the outdoors builds character," I just HAD to sit on the King's Throne (made of solid ice), risking serious frostbite! It was a frigid experience, but I really felt like a queen!" Helen graduated from Chaparral Senior High School (Las Vegas, NV) in 2004 and has completed her studies in professional modeling, public speaking, wardrobe coordinating from Premiere School of Self-Improvement and Professional Modeling, Inc. in 2004. She is attending UNLV (University of Nevada-Las Vegas) and will complete her degree in Broadcast Journalism in 2009. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Invited by the William Morris Talent Agency to audition for on-air talent; Professional model for full-page dental ads seen regionally in nine magazines; Selected to interview talent in "National Lampoon's Van Wilder." and Selected to appear as an extra in "Oceans 13" and "Entourage" on HBO. Helen is currently a professional model. "I am approachable and very much at ease speaking to people of all ages. I also adapt well to new people and places. In addition, I am highly motivated and take great pride in working hard toward my goals." "I focused and worked extremely hard at becoming Miss Nevada Teen USA 2004. I not only won the state pageant, but placed as 2nd runner-up nationally. I am proud that my efforts turned my dreams into reality, especially since it was my first pageant experience." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Traveling; Soccer; Volleyball; Physical fitness/working out regularly on a daily basis; Clarinet; Collecting more than 200 Beanie Babies; Downhill skiing and Assisting with children in my mother's kindergarten class. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Helen said: "I do not take anything for granted and always work my hardest in pursuit of my goals. I understand that it takes years of preparation, dedication, and education to not only succeed in this pageant, but in the television entertainment industry as well. What an honor and experience it would be to represent our country as Miss USA 2007!"
 
 

NEW HAMPSHIRE
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Laura Ann Silva
AGE: 19 | HEIGHT: 5'9" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
 When asked what is the craziest thing she has ever done, Laura said: "I rode the tallest, fastest, scariest roller coaster named Superman at Six Flags New England over 5 times in a row! It was a blast!" Laura graduated from Londonderry High School in 2005 and will complete her degree in Marketing from Plymouth State University in 2009.  Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Governors Citation in scholastic achievement and Acceptance into the Business Honors Program at Plymouth State University. Laura is currently working as a "store model" (Brand Representative) for Abercrombie and Fitch. When asked what are her strongest talents, Laura said: "Dancing, Organizational Skills, Good Listener" When asked to name one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholder) that makes her especially proud, Laura said: "Being a co-founder to my High School's Dance team and having the team continue to be successful year after year." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Dancing; Shopping; Dining Out and Arts and Crafts. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Laura said: "I want the judges to know that I am a very easy-going girl. I'm definitely not your average "beauty queen". I am most comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt and no make-up, and I own more pairs of sweat pants than any other article of clothing."


NEW JERSEY
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Erin Abrahamson
AGE: 23 | HEIGHT: 5'6" | HAIR COLOR: BLONDE | EYE COLOR: BROWN
"The craziest thing I have ever done was sleep on the streets of New York City for three nights with just a sleeping bag, to audition for American Idol season three." Erin graduated from Livingston High School in 2002 and has completed her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from Montclair State University in 2006. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Essex County Rising Star Award 2007; Dean's list 2004-2006; Essex County Community Service award 2005; Livingston Township Outstanding Citizen Award 2004 and Ellen Dyer "Good Samaritan" Award 2004. Erin is currently working as a 1st grade basic skills teacher. Singing/performing, acting, teaching, cooking, golfing,  and being a loyal family member and friend are her strongest talents. When asked to name one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholder) that makes her especially proud, Erin said: "Raising thousands of dollars for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in a one day event that I developed called "Cook for the Cure." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Performing/singing; Cooking; Golfing; Watching college soccer; Working out; Shopping; Meeting new people and learning about them; Hanging out with family and friends; Travel and Decorating. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Erin said: "As a 23 year old woman, I have tried to live my life according to my aspirations. Work hard, play hard and live life large so I have no regrets!"
 
 

NEW MEXICO
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Casey Jean Messer
AGE: 23 | HEIGHT: 5'6" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BLUE
"I traveled to Cuernavaca, Mexico to study Spanish. I lived with a Spanish speaking family and had to communicate the entire time in the native language. Although, there were times when we could not quite understand each other it's amazing how much you can communicate with your facial expressions and hand gestures! Mango is a popular meal time fruit and after my fourth meal of mango I was half way finished and there was a worm in the mango. I learned quickly how to say, 'I would like an apple for breakfast instead of a mango!'" Casey graduated from Alamogordo High School in 2002 and has completed her Bachelors Degree in Journalism Mass Communications from New Mexico State University in 2005. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Dean's List and Donated a gallon of blood- United Blood Services. Casey was once working as a Stand In for Mariah Carey. When asked what are her strongest talents, she said: "By working on movies and in television I have the ability to conform to any situation and personality. The best part is meeting a diverse group of people. I love the fact that I can strike up a conversation with anyone and that is my strongest talent!" "I am especially proud that I showed up to an open casting call for Hispanic women. Though I'm not Hispanic I went and took a chance, and I landed my first job on a movie set which has led me to work on ten different movies! Doing a little bit of everything - I tend to love being in front of the camera a little bit more than behind the scenes. Either way a day on a movie set is better than any other job I have had." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Skiing; Pilates; Going to the lake; Soccer; Water skiing and Jet skiing. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Casey said: "In college I got a second opinion about my schedule for the next semester. The advisor also advised the current Miss New Mexico USA. Because I happen to see her email address and then got in touch with her is how I began competing. The point is I believe that things happen for a reason. There is a reason I am here. We are all meant to do certain things with our life and competing at Miss USA 2007 is yet another step I am supposed to be taking!"


NEW YORK
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Gloria Sophia Al Monte
AGE: 23 | HEIGHT: 5'9" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
When asked what is the craziest thing she has ever done, Gloria said: "Against doctors orders I signed myself out of the hospital to attend a concert." Gloria graduated from Talent Unlimited High School in 2001 and is a graduate of Five Towns College with Area of Study in Acting. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: New York's Public Advocate Award for Academic Achievement; Congressional Merit Award and A proclamation from Councilwoman Carmen Arroyo. Gloria is currently working as an assistant to the banquet coordinator at Beacon restaurant. When asked what are her strongest talents, she said: "Acting and communicating with others. I enjoy being able to walk into a room and connect with other people." Diagnosing myself with a math learning disability at the age of 17 is one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholder) that makes her especially proud. Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Acting; Photography; Traveling; Writing; Playing with her dog; Baking; Playing sports; Going to the movies every Saturday; Dinning out and Spending as much time as she can with her boyfriend and family. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Gloria said: "My hero is: My mom & my uncle My Favorite book: The Outsiders by – S. E. Hinton My favorite song: Fighter – by Christina Aguilera My greatest fear is: Walking on Grass My biggest joy: Is making others laugh even when I am not trying to be funny."
  


NORTH CAROLINA
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Erin L. O'Kelly
AGE: 21 | HEIGHT: 5'9" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BLUE
"The craziest thing I have ever done was to agree to switch lives with another person for one week--while the cameras were rolling! In the summer of 2004, between graduation from high school and entering college, I "Switched!! Trading Places" with the female promoter and emcee for a troupe of Chinese acrobats. This reality television show was the teen-age version of "Wife Swap" and was popular with the after-school crowd on the ABC-Family Channel. I lived with the troupe in a hotel in Branson, Missouri, and I would promote the show during the day to groups of tourists. At night, the performances were held at the Wayne Newton Theater, and I would commentate dressed in full Chinese regalia. Oh, did I mention the fact that the troupe of 57 acrobats spoke Chinese exclusively? That is, except for me!" Erin graduated from TC Roberson High School in 2004. She completed her studies at Eagle University with area of study in Leadership Skills in 2001; with area of study in Career Planning in 2007. Erin will complete her studies in Communications and Media from North Carolina State University in 2008. She is also a post graduate student and completed her degree in 2006  when she studied abroad at the Universite Catholique in Lille, France with Area of Study in French. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: 2006 recipient of The Radio and Television News Directors Association of the Carolinas' Scholarship; Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society Inductee; National Society of Collegiate Scholars Inductee; Deans List every semester at North Carolina State University. "I was the selected freshman chosen to address the First Year College Class of 2004/2005 at North Carolina State University"; Honorary speaker at the 2006 North Carolina State Speical Olympics Fall Games Opening Ceremony; Honorary greeter at the 2006 Festival of Trees at the South Carolina State Museum Honored guest at the 2006 Homecoming Celebration in Ansonville, North Carolina; Honored guest at the 2006 Holiday Caravan in Salisbury, North Carolina; Honored guest at 2006 Convention and Visitors Bureau Tradeshow in High Point, North Carolina. Erin is a Full-time Student at North Carolina State University. "I am a Junior in the Communications / Media Dept. at N.C. State University where my forte’ is public speaking. I recently had the opportunity to deliver the address to the First Year College freshman class at N.C. State. I do volunteer emcee work for local schools, hometown pageants (my favorite was Mr. Pisgah!), and charitable organizations. I am passionate about standing for what I believe in, but am careful to do so in a way that will not be construed as offensive. God has blessed me with quiet confidence and an even temperament, which enables me to speak publicly in a relaxed manner. My feathers are not easily ruffled; I am flexible and can easily adapt to any situation. I hope I am a great friend and an even better listener." "I am extemely proud to be an integral part of an organization that bears the name of our country in its' title. In addition to being state titleholders, we also now represent the Miss USA system, and therefore, our country. I take patriotism to heart and I was greatly affected as Miss North Carolina Teen USA in 2001 by the September 11th terrorist attacks. I find deep pride in my history with the USA system and take the responsibility of representing my state, as well as my country, to heart." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Traveling abroad: "I have visited France, England, Belgium, Holland, Spain, and Aruba."; Domestic Travel within the United States; Visiting waterfalls around her hometown of Asheville: "I love to go out to eat for Italian and Japanese"; Physical fitness; Going to concerts; Movie Buff. "I am an avid collector of Celtic novelties such as four leaf clovers and fairies"; Keeping up with the stars on "E-News" and Got to shop, shop, shop. "I would love to have the opportunity to spend an entire day with each Preliminary and Telecast judge to prove to each first-hand what an amazing Miss USA 2007 I would be! To begin, I am confident that you will find me to be competent and well versed as a spokesperson promoting positive awareness for both breast and ovarian cancer, the official causes of Miss USA. As Miss North Carolina Teen USA in 2001, I had the privilege to address the participants at the Breast Cancer Walk-a-Thon in High Point. This was in sharp contrast to the subject of cancer in the late 1960’s, only discussed in whispers among women, at the time my grandmother had two mastectomies. My mother recently had to have an ovary removed; therefore, I have a strong, personal interest in the platform of Miss USA. In addition, I know you will find me to be bright, dependable, and tastefully dressed as the occasion warrants, all important attributes for a successful role model. Finally, I am extremely conscientious, deeply compassionate, and somewhat of a seasoned veteran as I have had the distinct honor to represent my home state for one year as Miss North Carolina Teen USA 2001 and now as Miss North Carolina USA 2007 for almost three months. I am warm and friendly, but always professional and mindful of what I say and do, because, whether you think so or not, someone is always watching. Your reputation is your most valuable asset if you take care of it. I especially would like the judges to know that I have the flexibility and the blessing of my parents to take the next year off from college if duty were to call! I am currently taking the spring semester off so that I may be fully committed to my responsibilities as a state titleholder and remain entirely focused while at the Miss USA pageant. I am so grateful for this opportunity to spend two weeks with the young women, the staff, and the others who will come together for the Miss USA 2007 pageant. I can’t believe we are going to L.A.!"

NORTH DAKOTA
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Rachel Leigh Mathson
AGE: 25 | HEIGHT: 5'10" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BLUE
"After graduating from college, I packed up my car, moved to Minneapolis, and lived with eight strangers! I drove past my house twice before realizing that was it. It was one of the first times I didn't have a plan, but it was one of the best decisions I've ever made." Rachel graduated from Lincoln High School in 2000 and has completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Media Communications from Concordia College in 2004. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Magna Cum Laude college graduate; Communication Honors student and 1st Runner-Up, Miss Minnesota America. Rachel is currently working as a Director of Admissions, Oak Grove Lutheran School. "I can relate to anyone and make them feel special. I have strong interpersonal communication and public speaking skills. 2. I'm an accomplished and talented vocalist." When asked to name one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholder) that makes her especially proud, Rachel said: "I sang a solo in Carnegie Hall." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: taking road-trips; running; weight-lifting; singing; camping; shopping; knitting; pageants and watching movies. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Rachel said: "I am the real deal. I live for my faith, family, and fitness. The judges should know that I'd cherish and utilize every moment as Miss USA, while maintaining a humble and gracious spirit. North Dakota's ready. I'm ready."
 
 

OHIO
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Anna Melomud
AGE: 22 | HEIGHT: 5'8" | HAIR COLOR: BLONDE | EYE COLOR: BLUE
"I went parasailing while on a family vacation in the Dominican Republic. I am extremely afraid of heights, so it was incredibly exhilarating, and to my own surprise not a bit scary!" Anna graduated from Richmond Heights High School in 2002 and will complete her Bachelor of Sciences in Biology, Pre-Medicine from Kent State University in 2007. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Kent State University Dean's List. "I am currently a full-time student at Kent State Universtiy." "I believe my strongest talent is my ability to focus. When I am faced with a task, I give my all to make sure I do my best. Surely, this talent comes in handy when staying up late studying for exams!" "One accomplishment that I am extremely proud of is applying to medical schools. I put a lot of hard work and dedication towards preparing for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The process was grueling and nerve-racking but very well worth it." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Organic Chemistry; Spending time with my new nephew; Working out, especially Pilates; Cooking; Watching medical shows; Playing with my dog; Meeting new people; Traveling; Reading; Learning about anything medically related. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Anna said: "I was born in Ukraine and my family moved to the United States when I was ten years old. I am currently in the process of applying to medical schools where I plan on earning a Doctor of Osteopathy degree and practicing Family Medicine in the future. I am fluent in Russian, which has allowed me to help many doctors with the doctor-patient language barrier that is encountered in medical settings. I also consider myself a bookworm since Organic Chemistry is one of my favorite subjects."


OKLAHOMA
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Caitlin Irene Simmons
AGE: 21 | HEIGHT: 5'10" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
"The craziest thing I have ever done was a form of bungee jumping. I was locked in a cage, along with a freind, and we were catapulted from the ground into the sky and were able to see all of Orlando. I actually did it twice that night." Caitlin graduated from Jenks High School in 2004 and is pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Broadcast Journalism at Oklahoma State University. When asked what are her strongest talents, Caitlin said: "Self-motivation, and the ability to smile when it's not always easy." "During a tough time in my life, I was very vulnerable. I could have easily given in to various temptations such as alcohol, drugs, and self-harm. However, through inner-strength and a strong faith, I was able to resist taking a negative path. I'm proud and thankful that I was able to stay strong. I'm now confident that, through good times and bad, I will remain true to myself." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Caving; Looking for Artifacts; Singing; Being Outdoors; Swimming; Baking; Writing. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Caitlin said: "I want the judges to know that I am a happy, strong, driven and passionate woman. I also know how to persevere through obstacles and remain positive. I'm proud of the way I live my life, and have no hesitations about being in the public eye. Considering these facts, I feel as though I would serve the job of Miss USA well."
 
 

OREGON
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Sharitha Lynnette McKenzie
AGE: 23 | HEIGHT: 5'5" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
"As a young girl my father took my family skiing, it was my first time on the mountain. We rode the chair lift to the top of Mt.Hood, but when it was time to get off I was too scared! So, they had to stop the chair lift and reverse it so that I could get off. I finally got off thanks to a guy who yelled to me,"If you don't get off I'll take you off." As I got off I noticed hundreds of people waiting to get on the chair lift. I literally held up the mountain! Took drivers test in large green conversion van" Sharitha graduated from Benson Polytechnic High School in 2001 and has completed her B.A. in journalism with a minor in Communication Studies from University of Oregon in 2007. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: (DBS) Diversity Building Scholar at the University of Oregon; Portland Rose Festival Ambassador; (NABJ) National Association of Black Journalists- Uof O's chapter President and Tiffany Phillips Scholar Athlete. "Most of the time people think of talent as singing, dancing, etc. I believe that talent comes in many forms, so my ability to connect with a variety of people is my strongest talent. A talent I have that is tangible is writing. I think I chose a career in Journalism because to be a good journalist you have to know how to write well." When asked to name one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholder) that makes her especially proud, Sharitha said: "Getting into the School of Journalism & Communication at the University of Oregon. Because I had to jump through many hoops and and overcome many obstacles to do this. People told me to give up, but I believed it was possible." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Websurfing; Running; Coaching; Listening to music; Singing; Dancing; Lifting Weights; Skiing and Baking. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Sharitha said: "I'm down to earth, love my family and friends. I'm transparent, open, driven and love to surround myself with people who are real and sincere."


PENNSYLVANIA
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Samantha Johnson
AGE: 22 | HEIGHT: 5'8" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: HAZEL
"The craziest thing that I have ever done is travel alone to the West African country of Liberia for nearly 1 month. I was living and studying in Rome, Italy at the time and told only 2 people of my journey. It was one of the most awakening and moving occurrences in my life. The experience definitely showed me more of who I am, and brought to my attention many global & societal issues that I would like to see changed. I am so thankful for the journey. I truly do not know if I would be the same person that I am today without it." Smantha grduated from W.B. Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences in 2002 and has completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Temple University with a major in Film and Media Arts in 2006. Smantha is a post graduate student at Lee Strasberg Institute of Theater with Area of Study in Theater Studies. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Philadelphia 76ers Hometown Hero Award; FFA State Champion of Landscape & Nursery; FFA Greenhand and Chapter Degrees; Philadelphia University Excellence in Mathematics; Penn State Excellence in Science. When asked whether she is currently employed, Samantha said that she is a Starving Artist. "I believe that my strongest talent is being myself. Talent is something that you are born with, there are ways of nurturing and honing it, but it must exist naturally. I am very fortunate to have always had a solid grasp of who I am as a person and of what I believe in. This has allowed me to be true to myself and follow my dreams without second-guessing or looking back. I also have the ability to connect with people from all walks of life and backgrounds. I am a listener and can relate to many types of people on a multitude of levels." "A personal accomplishment that makes me especially proud is my Future Farmers of America Pennsylvania State Championship win in Landscape and Nursery and a Silver win at Nationals in Kentucky. My experience in the FFA means so much to me, I was a dedicated member and officer for years. The landscape competition was a glorious win that took months of tedious practice and research. I am so grateful for the opportunity. Through the FFA I learned more about myself and what agriculture means not only to the U.S., but to the world." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Watching Films; Traveling' Eating and Studying Cuisine; Studying Italian; Reading. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Smantha said: "I am not a Pageant Girl, I am a Girl who won a Pageant. I pride myself on being a strong, mature and sophisticated young woman, I have an eclectic individual style and an exotic, independent spirit. I never give less of myself to anyone or to any situation. I know that everything in life, expected or not, happens for a reason and I am ready for whatever life has in store for me."
 
 

RHODE ISLAND
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Danielle LaCourse
AGE: 21 | HEIGHT: 5'6" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: GREEN
When asked what is the craziest thing she has ever done, Danielle said: "Seven years ago, my family and I were vacationing throughout the Caribbean aboard a cruise line. On the island of Curacao, I went snorkeling in an area that was next to an enclosed tank of sharks sectioned off by transparent plexi-glass!" Danielle graduated from St. Mary Academy Bay-View in 2004 and will complete her studies in Nursing from Rhode Island College in 2008. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Dean's list for two years at Rhode Island College. "I am a restaurant server at Andrea's in Providence, R.I." "I consider my strengths to be reading and writing. For me, reading is a way to escape my surroundings and suspend reality. I have also always enjoyed writing, it is a therapeutic experience that gives me a chance to express my emotions." "Over the past few years I have rescued five kittens from local animal shelters, which if left unclaimed had faced an uncertain future. Now, they have been happily integrated as part of my extended family." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Working out; Running; Tennis; Fresh water fishing; Board games; Reading mystery novels; Writing in my journal. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Danielle said: "I would like the judges to know that I am a compassionate young woman that is easy going and tries to see the best in everyone."

SOUTH CAROLINA
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Ashley Derham Zais
AGE: 20 | HEIGHT: 5'10" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BLUE
"While studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain, I registered for a beginner’s drawing course. On the first day of class, our professor explained that we would be drawing models every week, and then invited two of them in for our first session. Before I knew it, the models had stripped off all of their clothes; no one told us that we would be drawing nude models! About 25 minutes later, my professor asked me to tape the outline of where the male model was sitting so that he could return to his pose after taking a break. Welcome to Spain!" Ashley graduated from Newberry High School in 2003 and will complete her Bachelors Degree in Psychology with a minor in Religion from Wofford College, Spartanburg. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Miss South Carolina USA 2007; Most Photogenic Award, Miss South Carolina USA 2007; Palmetto Fellow Scholarship – highest academic scholarship awarded in South Carolina; Resolution of the South Carolina House of Representatives Honoring Ashley Derham Zais; Keys to the City of Newberry, SC; Proclamation designating Ashley Derham Zais Day, February 13, Newberry, SC; Citizen of the Week for Newberry, SC; Dean’s List, Wofford College; Eagle Award at Eagle University; Wofford College Homecoming Court. Ashley is still Senior in College and works part-time as a Professional Model. When asked what are her strongest talents, she said: "My life experiences to date have provided me with a strong work ethic that helps me persevere, even in difficult circumstances." When asked to name one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholder) that makes her especially proud, she said: "Because I worked very hard in school, I was able to skip two grades and then left home to attend college at the age of 16." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Traveling; Pursuing a Private Pilot’s License; Public Speaking; Singing and Dancing; Exercising; Reading and Writing; Water and Snow Skiing; Swimming; Intramural Soccer and Volunteering. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Ashley said: "I want judges to know that I am not afraid of hard work and getting my hands dirty."
 
 

SOUTH DAKOTA
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Suzie K. Heffernan
AGE: 20 | HEIGHT: 5'9" | HAIR COLOR: BLONDE | EYE COLOR: GREEN
"My best friend's father was electrocuted and I had decided to go offer support to my friend while his father was in the hospital in Minneapolis. The crazy part is that I had only had my driver’s license for a few months and had never driven to Minneapolis. I didn’t know where the hospital was (or that it was in a dangerous part of town), and I decided to leave at 11 o’clock at night, by myself. Getting there wasn’t so bad, but when I decided to leave at 3:00 a.m., I was turned around and had lost all sense of direction. I decided that I would follow a random person and ask for help. Instead, I ended up following an unmarked cop car to the county jail. Fortunately for me, he had just picked up the person I was going to ask for help. I learned a thing or two that night about driving around in unfamiliar places." Suzie graduated from Delano High School in 2004 and will complete her Bachelors of Arts & Science in Psychology from South Dakota State University in 2008.  Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Jackrabbit Scholarship; Eagle of the Year and Commissioner of Officials. Suzie is currently working as an Intramural Supervisor & Commissioner of Officials - South Dakota State University. When asked what are her strongest talents, she said: "My determination, independence, and witty comments are my strongest characteristics, but my diverse personality and spontaneity make me unforgettable." "While attending Eagle U in the beginning of January, I showed my gratitude to many different life-changing people by standing on stage and telling them why they meant so much to me. This was a huge success for me because I have a lot of difficulty telling people how I truly feel. After I did this, I felt like I had grown so much as a person and as though nothing is impossible." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Softball; Basketball; Biking; Scrapbooking and Photography. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Suzie said: "Well besides the fact that I love Batman and that I'm terrified of worms, I am a very well rounded person. I am the life of the party that loves to meet and talk to everyone, but when it comes to a situation where a leadership role needs to be established and actions need to be taken, I know how to delegate tasks and take control. I'm witty, spontaneous, determined, charismatic, independent, nerdy, and perseverant. I am so comfortable with who I am, no matter what the situation I will succeed."


TENNESSEE
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Rachel Smith
AGE: 21 | HEIGHT: 5'11" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
"I suppose some might say my decision to travel to South Africa for a month right before the Miss USA pageant is a little crazy; however, I don't see it that way at all. I have always dreamt of traveling to Africa to volunteer in some capacity. When given the amazing honor to volunteer at a school for young ladies in South Africa, I eagerly jumped at the opportunity and have been changed through the process. I think I am the one who would have been crazy if I had passed on this incredible opportunity to serve in Africa." Rachel graduated from Davidson Academy in 2003 and has completed her Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Belmont University in 2006. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Selected as an intern in the publicity department at Harpo Productions, Inc. and “The Oprah Winfrey Show” from January –August 2006; Ingram Scholar Recipient at Belmont University (full tuition scholarship granted for community service and academics); Graduated in three and a half years from Belmont University Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism.; Belmont University Dean’s List—every semester for 4 years; Selected as managing editor of The Belmont Vision, Belmont University’s campus newspaper, for the fall 2006 semester; Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society; MG URSANO Scholarship for Military dependents—4 years; DECA Commissary Scholarship for Military Dependents—4 years; Officers Spouses’ Club Scholarship—4 years and Cinderella International Scholarship—4 years. When asked what is her current occupation, Rachel said: "Full time Miss Tennessee USA and servant to my community." Singing, entertaining people, making an individual feel like they are the only person in the room and multi-tasking are her strongest talents. When asked to name one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholder) that makes her especially proud, she said: "My parents and I are especially proud of the fact that I received a full tuition scholarship to Belmont University for community service and academics. In December of 2006, I am pleased to say that I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Belmont University with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Traveling; Reading; Volunteering; Singing; Spending time with my family and Playing with my chocolate lab, Zoe. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Rachel said: "I want the judges to know that I am a very strong woman of integrity. I am also the child of two prior military parents, which has given me an even greater respect for my country, our military and my duties as a U.S citizen."
 

TEXAS
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Magen Leigh Ellis
AGE: 20 | HEIGHT: 5'8" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
 When asked what is the craziest thing she has ever done, Magen said: "During a trip to Australia when I was 15, my family and I climbed to the 415 ft. high arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge during a tour of this magnificent landmark!" Magen graduated from Whitehouse High School in 2004 and will complete her studies in Communication/Spanish at University of Houston in 2010. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Magen Ellis Day - Mayor Bill White of Houston proclaimed August 22, 2006 Magen Ellis Day before City Council; Texas Governor Rick Perry presented her with a state flag that flew over the Capitol the day after I won Miss Texas USA!; Guest speaker at the Texas Masons Annual Grand Lodge in Waco, Dec. 2006; Honored guest at the Rotary Lombardi Awards Dec. 2006; Guest speaker at The Professional Group - a well recognized group of entrepreneurial women. Magen is currently working as a model. Her strongest talents are: Cooking, Public Speaking, Makeup Artistry, Nutrition/Fitness, Modeling. When asked to name one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholder) that makes her especially proud, she said: "Moving from a small town in East Texas to Houston, the fourth largest city in the nation when I was eighteen. I was able to support myself by modeling and got a taste of the real world at a young age." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Cooking - especially desserts; Reading motivational books; Exercising; Watching Grey's Anatomy; Conducting a Makeover; Shopping and Going to the Movies. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Magen said: "I have been extremely fortunate to have a strong upbringing and have solid morals instilled in me. I do not preach about morals; I live my life as an example. Due to my travels and ability to adapt to new situations easily, my parents allowed me to move to Houston from a small town at only 18. Since then I have been able to become an independent and strong young woman."


UTAH
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Heather Nicole Anderson
AGE: 26 | HEIGHT: 6'0" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: HAZEL
"While waiting in line to perform at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, I was dared to sing the national anthem! Wanting to make it as big as possible, I climbed on top of a garbage can in the middle of the room and yelled "May I have your attention please." With three hundred eyes staring directly at me, I began to belt the national anthem at the top of my lungs. The onlookers weren't sure what to think. People were looking around for a flag. Some were covering their hearts with their hands. About half way through the song one of the employees tapped me on the foot and said 'Excuse me miss. Could you get off the garbage can? We are afraid you might break it.'" Heather graduated from Alta High School in 1998 and will complete her Bachelor of Science from Utah State University in 2008. She is also pursuing her PhD with area of study in Psychology, completed in 2012. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Official Spokesperson for D.A.R.E. Program; Drug Rehabilitation Bill Spokesperson; Spokesperson for Alcohol Policy Coalition; Utah Council for Crime Prevention Official Ambassador; Lobbyist for the American Cancer Society; Dean's Honor Roll; 4.0 GPA for two consecutive years and Eagle U graduate. Heather is currently working as a Runaway model. Her strongest talents are: Grace Under Pressure, Public Speaking, Performing, Service, Leadership, Sports, and Listening Skills. When asked to name one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholder) that makes her especially proud, she said: "As an ambassador for the Utah Council for Crime Prevention and a spokesperson for the D.A.R.E. organization, I have had the opportunity to teach thousands of individuals about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Telling my brother's story in an effort to prevent losing even one more life to drugs has created new hope and strength." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Painting- acrylic pictures of landscapes; Singing (anywhere for anyone); Ballroom Dance- all ten Latin and Standard dances; Sports- Football, Basketball, baseball and watching the Bears in the Super Bowl!; Rock Climbing; Water Skiing at Bear Lake and Lake Powell; Reading- Classics like Roots and Ivanhoe; Acting- she loves performing in musicals and Playing with her niece and nephew.When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Heather said: "Service, Service, Service! I am dedicated to serving. As Miss USA I will fulfill the responsibility of being a beautiful, savvy, and poised spokeswoman as I continue to promote drug abuse prevention and other important causes."
 
 

VERMONT
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Jessica May Comolli
AGE: 22 | HEIGHT: 5'4" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
"On his New England Tour, I saw Jason Aldene's tour bus and I am a big fan! I had just won my Miss Vermont USA title and quickly put my crown and banner on and asked if I could interview him! I was granted access to the bus with 2 friends and was given a private concert in the bus! My friends and I had a memorable appearance, in a country sort of way!" Jessica graduated from Spaulding High School in 2003 and will complete her degree in Associateds in Leberal Arts from Community College of Vermont in 2008. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Miss Vermont USA 2006, Spirit Award; Community Service Award, Spaulding High School, 2002; Community Service High Recognition, Spaulding High School, 2003; Outstanding Artist, Spaulding High School, 2003; Town of Castleton, Community Award for Clean-up America; Mentor Excellence at Barre City Elementary and Middle School; Volunteer with the "Young at Heart" at Moose Club, Barre, VT; and Eagle University Graduate, January 2007. Jessica is currently working as a waitress and secretary. Drawing, dancing, mentoring young children, and working with the "young at heart" are her strongest talents."Today, I mentor a 6th grade student who recently moved to my local area and feels out of place and lonely. Each week, I see progression in her adjustment and I can not help but feel that I am a component in her developemenmt!" Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Painting; Scrapbooking; Working out; Volunteering; Mentoring; Cooking and Social time with 4 generations of family! When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Jessica said: "Despite the family and personal challenges I have faced in my life, I have risen above the adversity to become the strong, independent and positive person I am today. In this process, I have surrounded myself with other positive people, help those who may fall prey to negative pressures and if selected Miss USA, I would share my success and "mind over matter" philosophy."

VIRGINIA
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Lauren Elizabeth Barnette
AGE: 21 | HEIGHT: 5'7" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: BROWN
"While in the Dominican Republic, I climbed up multiple attached waterfalls to reach the top of a 50ft waterfall and then jump off...ALL without a HARNESS! By far, the craziest & most dangerous thing I have ever done!" Lauren graduated from J. J. Kelly High School in  2003 and will complete her studies in Communication from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (Virginia Tech) in 2007. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Honorary citizen of Wise County; Miss Virginia Teen USA Day in Wise County: November 16; Miss Virginia USA Day in Wise County: November 3; Eagle-U graduate and Eagle-U: "Eagle Award". Connection: Being able to communicate and connect with people from all walks of life are her strongest talents. When asked to name one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholder) that makes her especially proud, she said: "Co-founding the Safe Kid's Coalition concentrating on "Bicycle Safety" and promoting awareness across Virginia." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Parasailing; Snorkeling; Traveling; Volunteering; Modeling and Spending time with her family & friends. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Lauren said: "I was raised and taught to be a disciplined, driven and confident young woman, always putting my education first and foremost. Because setting and achieving goals was embedded into my upbringing, I have worked hard to stay a good role model, and to exemplify positive characteristics that I believe a MISS USA should embody."
 
 

WASHINGTON
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Leilanie R. Jones
AGE: 24 | HEIGHT: 5'2" | HAIR COLOR: BLACK | EYE COLOR: BROWN
 When asked what is the craziest thing she has ever done, Leilanie said: "I don't think I have done anything crazy. I know...how boring, but I don't recall doing anything that would warrant being "crazy"." Leilanie graduated from Bethel Senior High in  2000 and has completed her Bachelors Degree in Sociology and Pre-Pharmacy from Western Washington University in 2004. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Miss Congeniality - Miss Washington USA 2007; Honor Roll - Bethel High; Leadership Awards - Bethel High. Leilanie is currently working as a Pharmacy Technician. "Public speaking is my strongest talent. I believe it's been a natural blessing. I'm also able to focus with clarity on the depth and continuity of the subject I'm speaking on. I strive to be personable as well as professional when addressing a crowd, large or small. I also think I'm a bit funny, buuuhhhtt...I may be the only one who thinks that!" "Becoming a sunday school teacher was an enormous accomplishment for me. I always wanted to be a teacher but wasn't sure how I would incorporate it into my life. I teach kids ages 2 through 7 which can be a very difficult task, especially early in the morning. However, it's been amazing the way the children and I are able to grow and learn from each other. There's a lot to gain from the humble and simplistic lives of children." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: "Watching NBA basketball; Interior decorating; Reading and Running and fitness training for herself and others. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Leilanie said: "I want them to understand that I am faithful. Faithful in my walk with God, in all of my endeavors and to my friends and family. It is a process of being persistent, not letting obstacles stop me, being loyal, standing strong and so much more. I will keep myself humble as I strive to mature, gain wisdom for great purposes, and to have a virtuous character with strong convictions.
supports."


WEST VIRGINIA
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Kasey Montgomery
AGE: 23 | HEIGHT: 5'7" | HAIR COLOR: BROWN | EYE COLOR: GREEN
"The craziest thing that I have done was ride the mechanical bull as the WV Association of Fairs and Festivals Queen at The State Fair of West Virginia." Kasey graduated from Petersburg High School in 2001 and earned her RBA- Communication Studies from West Virginia Universtity. "Singing, my ability to relate to diverse groups of people and audiences, and Public Speaking are my strongest talents." When asked to name one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholder) that makes her especially proud, she said: "Becoming a Spokesperson and Resource Person for the A.N.A.D Organization" Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Singing; Golf; Sewing; Crafts; Exercising; Skiing; Walking with my dog, Sadie; Shopping; Reading and Spending time with her family and friends. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Kasey said: "I am a hard working and independent woman with a witty personality."
 
 

WISCONSIN
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Caitlin Shea Morrall
AGE: 23 | HEIGHT: 5'9" | HAIR COLOR: BLONDE | EYE COLOR: HAZEL
"One of the craziest things I have ever done is not so much crazy as it is unusual. In my hometown of Burlington, Wisconsin we have a municipal club called the Burlington Liar's Club. During my childhood I entered their annual contest with the "lie" that it was so cold that the snowflakes were wearing hats and mittens. I was awarded an honorable mention for my efforts." Caitlin graduated from Burlington High School in 2001. and has completed her studies in Elementary and Middle School Education with a minor in History from Alverno College. "I have been consistently recognized by Alverno College as a "student in good standing. My academic excellence has also been recognized by professor reccommendations to be an academic assistant in the areas of Professional Communication and Quantitative Literacy." "I am a substitute teacher and camp couselor at The Prairie School in Racine, WI. I am also a varsity Dance Team coach at Burlington High School in Burlington, WI." "I think one of my strongest talents is the rapport I have with the students I teach. I have been involved in many aspects of education ranging from classroom teaching to coaching extra curricular activites. I have built relationships with all kinds of students from various backgrounds including those who are English Language Limited , Emotionally/Behaviorally Disabled, and "At-Risk" teenagers. I have found that I have a special niche for working with students who have cognitive disablilities and severe handicaps." When asked to name one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholder) that makes her especially proud, she said: "I was a Girl Scout leader for a non-traditional "troop" of girls at a residential psychatric care facility in Milwaukee. I led them in an on-going community service project, preparing and serving meals for the homeless, which enabled the girls to empathize with others and use some of their time in treatment working toward a goal that was "team" focused. One of my proudest moments was that several members of the group were released from the facility much earlier than expected. The facility staff credited a great deal the girls' success to their involvment in our community service project." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Fishing; Cooking and Baking and Dancing. "I enjoying watching movies and am particulary good at memorizing movie quotes and Working out." When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Caitlin said: "I would like the judges to know that I am a contestant who is "the best of both worlds." My hometown has a population of 10,000 and only one public high school. I saw the first stoplights go up on our town around the time I received my driver's license! I am most definitely a hometown girl whose first job was at the "Country Thunder Music Festival." I have ridden pigs at the county fair, been involved in livestock auctions, and judged the 4-H Talent Show. Some of my best girlfriends love to hunt and I enjoy snowmobiling and fishing. However, because I live within an hour of both Milwaukee and Chicago I have experienced urban life and have an urban perspective. I have had the advantages of city culture ranging from the fine arts to professional sports. I am not naive; I am educated, thoughtful, and deliberate. I expect myself to be a role model and am able to do so by recognizing that although I have many opportunities there is poverty and need that exists in my own backyard. Finally, I have been a titleholder since I was 18 years old and have been working hard to fulfill my contractual, moral, and ethical obligations during that time. I strive to always conduct myself with integrity."

WYOMING
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Robyn Anne Johnson
AGE: 22 | HEIGHT: 5'6" | HAIR COLOR: BLONDE | EYE COLOR: BLUE
When asked what is the craziest thing she has ever done, Robyn said: "I went 'Bear Hunting' with only a camera (that was out of batteries) and binoculars. Thankfully I did not see any bears, but ended up getting lost until dark in the mountains! My advice, 'don't try it'." Robyn graduated from Sheridan High School in 2004 and will complete her degree in Animal and Vet Sciences, Preveterinary Medicine with an emphasis in Chemistry at University of Wyoming in 2008. Any honors/awards she has received in the past 2 years included: Dean's List (2004-2007); Outstanding Academic Award; Presidential Scholarship to University of Wyoming; Holy Name Scholarship; Bright Future Award; Summit Award and English Achievement Award. Robyn is currently working as a Veterinarian assistant. "My strongest talents are my ability to relate and communicate to anyone, my determination to succeed, my athletic ability, and my intellect." When asked to name one personal accomplishment (in addition to being a State Titleholder) that makes her especially proud, she said: "I am proud to have found and to be excelling in a career that I love and having family and friends that care about me." Her hobbies and favorite activities are: Woodworking; Sports; Charcoal Drawing; Fly-fishing; Singing; Camping; Hiking and Cooking. When asked what is the most important thing she wants the judges to know about her, Robyn said: "I want the judges to know that I genuinely care about the future of young women and want to be able to make a difference in the world or at least the world of one young person."
 
 

Information and photos courtesy of  The Miss Universe Organization
Re-arranged by Ranny Singka

C & P 2007 Anurun Production, Inc.
 
 

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