by: Alicia M. Blanco


I waited to write this post until after the preliminary competition of the Miss USA pageant last night, because I wanted to gage the energy of the ladies after all that has transpired since Donald Trump shared his opinions on Mexicans and illegal immigration.

In case you didn’t know, allow me to update you

In what I believe to be an aptly timed and choreographed publicity stunt, Donald Trump made his remarks on illegal immigration and Mexicans very clear when he said, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” 

Like a ripple effect, these comments resulted in a massive wave of sponsors ending their business relationship with Trump, and therefore dramatically impacting the Miss USA pageant as we know and love it. Univision, NBC, and Macy’s are just a few of the very first who cut ties. Since then, the pageant lost both of its hosts, correspondents, entertainers, networks, along with several judges and pageant sponsors as well. (Mind you, this is all happening as the girls are arriving in Baton Rouge for registration where they’ve been for the last two weeks leading up to the pageant.)

Meanwhile, Trump is boldly standing by his radical opinions of Mexicans in his attempt to take a seat in the Oval Office. Just a few days ago he even called his reigning Miss Universe (who happens to be Latina) a “hypocrite” for being offended by what he said but yet still wanting to keep her crown anyway.

LET ME BE CLEAR WITH YOU ON MY STANCE ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: of course there is a problem in the system. Anything illegal is a problem that I do not condone! This BEAUTIFUL country I am proud to live in is made up of immigrants who came here legally. That’s what makes it beautiful – it’s a melting pot of diversity. Its just the ILLEGAL immigration that I am fully aware is problematic to the well-being of this great country. Further, it is also my opinion that it’s the perception of illegal immigration that truly is the problem here – because often times (not ALL the time) the majority of immigrants do not just “hop” a border and start making a mess of things, but instead have overextended their VISA’s. But those stories don’t make the headlines, do they? It’s the bad guys who do, not the ones contributing to the growth or prosperity to our beloved country. Not the hardworking mom working minimal wage or the kid trying to get a descent education here, or the hardworking dad laboring over jobs no one else wants just so that he can send money back home to his wife and children, but it’s the guy committing crimes that we will see on the nightly news. BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT THE NEWS IS FOR.

But equally, if not more-so problematic (in my opinion) is racism, racial profiling, stereotyping and hate.

To GENERALIZE that all Mexicans (specifically) who are coming into this country are rapists and drug dealers, is just wrong- And it’s going to piss a lot of people off too.

What if I said all men who styled their hair like Donald Trump were racists? That would be such a terrible generalization. Besides, ain’t NOBODY trying to style their hair like that on purpose besides Trump. But that’s neither here nor there.

All this to say:

To the girls competing this weekend: I want you to know that at first I felt REALLY bad for you all. I will never forget how amazing I felt back when I competed in 2009.  We were treated like celebrities from the moment we arrived to Vegas, in every way.  I was honored to have my family and friends there watching it all happen. And for my family and friends who couldn’t be there, I loved knowing they could be at home watching the telecast nationally, live on NBC. So when NBC pulled the plug and announced they wouldn’t be affiliated with Trump anymore (as well as several other sponsors you sadly won’t get to experience as the rest of us in the Miss USA formers club have) I was devastated for you girls. But now, I realize you all are actually so completely blessed with this opportunity to be in the class of 2015!


Here’s one reason why: because it will be the most memorable year since 2009 when Carrie and I had terrible answers when we were in the top 5 together!! (I still owe Carrie dinner for her answer on gay marriage…otherwise I would’ve been the most talked about ‘beauty pageant fail’ that year for not answering my question about universal healthcare AND throwing words around like ‘integrity’ and ‘conviction’ like fricken glitter in an attempt to save my ass.) So yeah, as I was saying, this simply is the most memorable year since then! So, OWN IT. Own it with integrity and conviction ladies!! (see… I knew I would get to use those two together again! Drops the mic…)

Another reason why you’re blessed to be in the class of 2015?

Your UNIQUE year at Miss USA gave the world an opportunity to rally together and start the #SaveTheSash campaign demanding a network to pick up the telecast and air it anyway. We are witnesses to how the world can seriously accomplish some pretty amazing things if we can just come together in unity, love and with purpose. In record time, pageant fans around the world came together and illustrated the power of social media – and the power of pageants altogether. All it took was one person’s brilliant idea to start this project and it grew and grew!! Shout out to Travis Stanton and Jason Smith…and really everyone else who helped save the sash by calling, tweeting, writing, signing and throwing a tantrum like Toddlers and Tiaras.  IT TOTALLY WORKED. Thank you Reelz for picking it up and airing the telecast, for reals. (See what I did there?) 

I am mainly impressed by the resilience and fortitude I’ve seen since the first bomb dropped. If last night at prelims was any indication of how you’re all handling everything, then I am incredibly inspired. Standing on that stage is an honor to be able to showcase your confident beauty, hard work ethic, perseverance, and most of all DIVERSITY. 

No two women are exactly alike up there (which is AWESOME, and sort of the point isn’t it…?) Every girl is different and beautiful in her own unique way. For 6 of the contestants who are Latina this year, they have such a unique opportunity to negate and shut down Trumps hurtful comments and prove just how powerful and accomplished the Latino community is. So, thanks Mr. Trump for giving us an even BIGGER stage this year. Click here to read about how this years LATINA contestants are handling everything and why they aren’t backing out of the competition.

People ask me if I would back out if I was competing this year and my answer is HAAYYYYLLLL to the NO! I would absolutely still move forward with even MORE pride.

To the ladies competing, keep it up! I am proud of each and every single one of you for remaining so beautiful on the inside out amidst so much madness surrounding you. You have the unique opportunity to prove that your INNER beauty needs to be on POINT during all of this too… because you really can’t fake resilience and happiness under so much pressure. If you can, you should get into politics.

And to Donald, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from you it’s that everyone is entitled to their own opinions in this life. For that, I encourage you to respect the opinions others have that you’ve gone completely mad, especially some of your ex-business partners who stand by their opinions that ending their business relationships with you is the best thing to do, you know, for business. You’re a business man after all, so you of all people should understand. No one likes being fired, but you’ve made a career out of firing people on national TV.  Now, the shoe is on the other foot… so go ahead and take a walk in it.

God bless America.  Bendiciones a Mexico. God bless anyone who has ever been a victim to racism or hate.  And, seriously, God bless your silly hair stylist.

Click here to watch my interview from channel 12.


I just can’t help but wonder if the Trumpster thought I was plotting to rape him right there in his office or start up a drug war amongst all the girls while I was at Miss USA. Or, at the very least, if he pondered who it was in my family tree who must’ve come here illegally.


Miss Universe 2015

by: Alicia M. Blanco


I will never forget this past weekend attending the Miss Universe 2015 pageant in Doral, Miami. It was seriously so much fun watching not one, but TWO of my friends compete!! One of my very best friends Nia Sanchez (Miss USA 2014) nearly won the whole thing placing 1st runner up! It was incredible to watch her on stage that night and it has been even more incredible watching her in her overall journey.

Here are 3 things I’ve learned through my dear friend Nia over the years:

1.) Never give up! – Nia never gave up on her dream to go to Miss USA. As a result, she ended up on the stage at Miss Universe! Imagine if she had quit with the first “not yet” she received or surrendered to any discouragement that came her way.

It was a long road but Nia never lost her hope, joy, optimism or faith. In fact, those traits of hers seemed to only magnify and increase with each closed door. This is why it feels so damn good to see her kicking major butt in life these days!  She allowed any and all backlash, “haterade” and tough times that came her way in pageant land to serve and prepare her for her future.  Every disappointment she encountered ended up fueling and motivating her, increasing her confidence profoundly, and sharpening her into the poised, sophisticated and timeless beauty we now call our Miss USA 2014. She’s such a boss…

Chelsea Caswell celebrates with Nia on stage at the Miss Nevada USA 2014 pageant moments after Nia is announced as her successor.

Chelsea Caswell celebrates with Nia on stage at the Miss Nevada USA 2014 pageant moments after Nia is announced as her successor.

The night Nia was crowned as Miss Nevada USA 2014! It was only the beginning!

The night Nia was crowned as Miss Nevada USA 2014! It was only the beginning!

When my girlfriends and I sat in the audience on the night she was crowned Miss Nevada USA, it was tears galore. So many emotions were overflowing that night and I’ll never forget the look on her face when we all ran onto the stage to hug her. Deep in my heart, I knew it was only the beginning for her. Great things happen for people who persevere through all the doubts, insecurities, obstacles and naysayers.

Months later she stole the show at the Miss USA pageant in Baton Rouge and was crowned as our Miss USA 2014!! I could try explaining how intense and emotional that night was to watch, but this video says it all. (Note: It was just like this at Miss Universe. We are such an emotional group of girls lol)

nia7 nia8

2.) Always be thankful and humble/ Never change – So just to recap: Nia won Miss Nevada USA in January 2014, won Miss USA in June 2014, got engaged to the love of her life Daniel Booko in October 2014 and placed first runner up at Miss Universe in January 2015.  As Miss USA, Nia has such an insanely busy schedule, especially in preparing for the Miss Universe pageant. On top of all the pageant prep, she also has a schedule jam-packed with photo shoots, appearances, charity events and so much more. Despite all the cameras flashing and opportunities coming her way, Nia has remained just as humble as ever. She’s still the same Nia I met years ago. She’s still incredibly thoughtful and sincere and puts so much effort into making others feel happy.

Immediately after the Miss Universe pageant, Nia wanted to go out to eat at BJ’s Brewhouse (priorities people!!), but unfortunately it closed at midnight. When we got there five minutes before they closed, the restaurant welcomed Nia and her friends and family in for an additional two hours after closing to the public. Nia was so thankful of course, that despite being incredibly tired, I found her sitting in a booth signing autographs and thank you notes to the entire staff who stayed late to serve us- and that’s the type of girl Nia is: humble and gracious. This was only an hour or so after coming off a nationally televised pageant where she was front and center! Yet, there she was, thinking of others and wanting to make people happy. I will never forget that about her. She hasn’t let the attention and glamour change her heart.  She’s a real inner beauty queen!

Post pageant pazookie!

Post pageant pazookie!


Julia Dalton, me, Anastagia Pierre Friel, Alyssa Campanella, Nia Sanchez, Claire Schreiner, Meagan Tandy, Kristen Dalton after Miss Universe


Nia aced every portion of the competition. She was flawless. Truly glowing from the inside out!


3.) Trust in God’s timing. – When I think of Nia, I think of the scripture Esther 4:14 “And who knows but that you have come into your royal position for such a time as this?” Nia literally waited and waited until it was finally her turn to come into her position as a titleholder. The timing was so perfect because look at all that’s happened in her life under HIS timing. It’s stunning! Sometimes in life we think we know what’s best for us. We want what we want and we want it right away. When we don’t get the things we want in our timing, we grow weary and frustrated. I’ve learned to trust in God’s timing over my own because His plans for me are so much bigger and better than my own hopes and dreams. God clearly had a major plan in his timing for Nia’s amazing journey and it really taught me to fully surrender to God’s timing with all my heart.


This is why when Nia wasn’t crowned as Miss Universe on Sunday night, we knew it was setting her up for something even bigger. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12– and that’s the kind of crown a girl like Nia fights for every day.

Congratulations Nia Sanchez, Miss USA 2014 and 1RU Miss Universe! Your reign as a titleholder may only last for a year, but the legacy you are creating and leaving behind will last forever and ever.  And THAT is what I call a QUEEN.