Analouisa Valencia, Openly Gay Pageant Contestant, to Vie for Miss America Spot

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On Saturday night, Analouisa Valencia will aim to be crowned Miss South Carolina.

If she's successful, she will move on to the Miss America pageant in September, which would make her similar to about 50 other women at that event, with one notable exception:

Valencia is gay.

Analouisa Valencia Image

She is, in fact, the first openly gay contestant to compete at Miss South Carolina and, if she wins, she will become the first openly gay contestant to complete for the title of Miss America.

"I was hiding who I was," Valencia says of the last time she entered Miss South Carolina. "This is my first year coming out and saying, 'This is me, girls. Sorry, I'm going to be changing in the same dressing room as you. This is what's going to happen.'"

Valencia is also bilingual and a coach of Special Olympic athletes.

"If I bring back that crown to Spartanburg, that would be great, but if not, I did what the Lord had planned for me," she says.

The winner of the Miss South Carolina contest earns a $25,000 scholarship. We wish Analouisa and all contestants the very best of luck.

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