Speaking with Nia Sanchez one immediately can feel the gentle karma of a kind and self-assured woman looking to help women and girls gain confidence of their own. At 24 years of age she has lived life on her own terms learning at a young age the necessity of having to take care of herself and to build her own destiny. Sanchez continues to live up to her early promises to herself that she would spend her life teaching children and women how to protect themselves from abuse.
Nia Sanchez has lived a humble and giving life also filled with exciting adventures.
As a way to get back on their feet, at six years of age Nia and her mother ended up living in a women’s shelter due to financial issues while her parents were divorcing. There little Nia met many victims of abuse and made the decision at her young age to help children when she got older. As a teen Nia taught Sunday School.
With a father who owns a studio, Nia Sanchez has trained in Tae Kwon Do since age eight, mastering the art. At 15 Nia became a certified instructor and now holds a fourth-degree black belt. She continues to use her knowledge and abilities to teach children, girls and women about “Stranger Danger” and how to use tools to protect themselves from abuse.
After graduating high school her family had no funds to send Nia to college so she took a year off working at four steady jobs in order to make enough money to pay for her education herself. Nia traveled to Europe to work as a nanny. After her year of working Nia was proud to tell me how she had made enough money to afford to pay cash for her first year of college.
Nia continued traveling the world to the Middle East, Austria, and Switzerland. On mission trips Nia also traveled to Mexico. Hong Kong Disney chose Nia out of thousands of applicants to work as a face character acting out a girl’s dream of being Cinderella, Princess Aurora, Belle and Snow White. It was not until 19 years of age that Nia even began competing in pageants after witnessing a friend win the Miss USA title. When she won Miss Nevada Nia told me her goal was to use her $46,000 scholarship winnings to continue her education going back to school for sociology and psychology.
For the past seven years Nia has been working as a full time model competing in both national and international pageants. The very first Miss Nevada to become Miss USA, Nia is proud to call Las Vegas her home city cheeringly telling me “Whenever I go home my dad insists on me teaching in his Tae Kwon Do studio”. Still practicing Tae Kwon Do, Nia has mixed it with some boxing to keep her body pageant ready.
Teaching women and girls how gain confidence and defend themselves is Nia Sanchez’s ultimate goal.
With her martial arts experience, Nia aims like to empower women and young girls to take action and learn self-defense in order to protect themselves in unexpected situations. Nia has been working in women’s’ shelters coaching women and children about self defense. She has been using her status as Miss Nevada, and now Miss USA heading off to compete in Miss Universe, as a platform to raise awareness about abuse towards women and how they can protect themselves.
During her Miss USA interview portion of the pageant Nia emphasized “I learned from a young age that you need to be confident and be able to defend yourself. And I think that’s something that we should start to really implement for a lot of women.” She specifically teaches women and girls how to use tools at hand and how and where to hit someone in order to gain control when being abused and attacked. Passing on her survival skills, Nia Sanchez instructs girls with her mantra “Believe in yourself, believe in your dreams”.
Throughout her reigns as Miss USA, Nia has continued to teach self-defense classes to different groups of women and students. She is currently preparing for the Miss Universe Pageant and is planning on spreading her wealth of knowledge by helping and sharing her message even further after the competition in January.
Nia Sanchez has reached out across the USA as Miss USA in her goal to visit and guide women, girls and students. Through demonstrations and workshops Nia continues her quest and promise to help in the war against abuse and attacks on females.
As Miss USA her efforts have taken her to many locations:
- New Balance Team – During a Breast Cancer Awareness media tour — 30 women
- Youth Police Academy – 200 students
- St. Agnes Academic High School – 300 girls
- Leadership and Public Service High School – 25 girls
- Stuyvesant High School – 60 students
- Step Up’s College Connections Conference at Columbia University – 60 pre-college girls & their mentors (120 women total)
- Best Buddies Friendship Walk – 10 minute demonstration to a group of Best Buddies and their supporters
- Girls Inc. at Central Park East High School – 20 girls
Nia thoughtfully explained to me her main focus “To give girls tools to give them more power”. By passing on tools Nia states “I feel blessed to connect with girls, to share my knowledge and help”. Nia is very proud of her life. With her struggles as a girl growing up, she never had anything and worked very hard for everything that she has become and has now. She is a true role model and mentor for girls and women to look to.
After capturing the Miss USA crown in June 2014, Nia relocated to New York City where she has lived during her reign wearing the crown. Nia expresses how thankful she is for her Miss USA title and is excited about competing in Miss Universe as she strives to continue her efforts to educate and help children and women.
Nia Sanchez; an amazing woman who has proved why one should “Never be afraid to dance!”
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