Miss USA's geography gaffe

RACHEL CLUN
Last updated 07:24 18/06/2014
nevada
Reuters

MISS USA: Doesn't know the capital of the state she represents. Oops.

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The new Miss USA forgot the capital city of her home state during an embarrassing radio interview on Monday.

Nia Sanchez appeared on the New York radio station WPLJ's The Todd Show and was asked to take a simple quiz.

Sanchez, who won Miss USA after taking the Miss Nevada crown, was asked to name the capital of Nevada, but couldn't answer the question.

When the host asked the seemingly easy question Sanchez looked taken aback, as seen in the video posted on TMZ.

After umming and ahhing, it was clear through her giggles she couldn't give the answer. The host then told her the capital was Carson City.

"I was going to say that," Sanchez said.

Although Sanchez is originally from California, it was still not a good look for the beauty queen. Before the interview people had questioned the legitimacy of Sanchez competing for a state she had only recently moved to and now no longer lived in.

Sanchez ran in the Miss California competition but failed to win it three times, and a source told the Fox Network she pretended to move to Nevada so she could compete there.

"She never actually moved to Nevada, but continued to work at Disney and live in California, setting up some minimum paper trail to appear like she was in Nevada and allow her to compete," the source told FOX411.

However Sanchez defended herself in an interview with the same network, saying she had lived in the state for 18 months before the pageant, a time period well above the minimum six-month residency required by the competition.

"I actually had an agent that was working me in Nevada a lot so I figured why not work in that state, and then I looked into the pageant program because I had done pageants before," she told Fox.

"So I figured why not look into the one in Nevada? I really liked the way that it was run, the director that ran it, it seemed like a really healthy, well-run state program. So I decided to go there since I was living there anyway."

In an official statement, posted by People magazine, the Miss Universe Organisation defended its decision to allow Sanchez to compete for Nevada.

"Nia Sanchez was issued a Nevada driver's licence in January of 2013, a full year before she competed at the Miss Nevada USA pageant," the statement read. "The Miss Universe Organisation has no reason to question her residency and we are thrilled to welcome her to the organisation and look forward to working with her in the coming year."

Her radio gaffe was surprising, considering her eloquent answer to a question asked during the interview round of the Miss USA competition.

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Sanchez, who has a black belt in tae kwon do, was asked about the under reporting of sexual assault in US universities, and she answered women should learn self-defence.

"I believe that some colleges may potentially be afraid of having a bad reputation and that would be a reason it could be swept under the rug, because they don't want that to come out into the public," she told the judges.

"But I think more awareness is very important so women can learn how to protect themselves. As a fourth-degree black belt, 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."

Some thought Sanchez's answer implied it was women's responsibility to defend against rape, but she told the Huffington Post she simply gave an answer she could relate to.

"We have 30 seconds to answer a question. I feel like all you can do up on that stage on national television is answer the best you personally know how, so I answered with something that I know," she said.

"I always believe in women empowerment and women's encouragement and for me, in my life, that's self-defence."

- Daily Life

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