5 immigrant females compete for Miss USA pageant title in Las Vegas

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John Locher/ AP In this May 11, 2017, image, Miss New Jersey U.S.A Chhavi Verg competes during an initial competition for Miss USA in Las Vegas. Very emigrated from India with her moms and dads. 5 of the entrants vying for the Miss USA title this year were born in other countries and now U.S. residents.

Saturday, May 13, 2017|2 a.m.

Five of the candidates contending for the Miss U.S.A title have a message to immigrant women and females watching the pageant this weekend: Set goals, strive and do not stay in the shadows.

The candidates know exactly what they are talking about as they were all born in other nations and immigrated to the United States at young ages as their families pursued their variations of the American Dream. The women are now all U.S. people.

“I desire them to see that anything is possible if you work hard,” stated Linnette De Los Santos, who immigrated with her household from the Dominican Republic when she was 5 years of ages. “As Miss U.S.A, I would love to be able to be that inspiration for our immigrant community. If I would have stopped following my dreams and striving to exactly what I wanted, I wouldn’t be sitting here as Miss Florida USA or in law school ready to end up being a migration lawyer.”

The competition airs Sunday from Las Vegas.

De Los Santos, Miss North Dakota Raquel Wellentin, Miss Hawaii Julie Kuo, Miss Connecticut Olga Litvinenko and Miss New Jersey Chhavi Verg spoke with The Associated Press about the opportunities and difficulties they have actually dealt with as immigrants.

Their remarks stand in stark contrast to the scandal that enveloped the pageant in 2015, when part owner and now President Donald Trump upset Hispanics when he made anti-immigrant remarks in announcing his bid for the White Home. Trump co-owned The Miss Universe Organization with NBCUniversal, however the network and the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision quickly cut ties with him, refusing to air the program. Trump sued both networks, eventually settling and selling off the entire pageant to talent management business WME/IMG.

Wellentin and her family left the Philippines over safety fears when she was 2 years old. Their very first taste of American life remained in the little community of Enderlin, North Dakota, where she and her siblings felt separated.

“No one wished to speak with me at all. I got home one day and I asked my dad ‘Why am I so various? Why isn’t anybody talking to me?'” Wellentin stated. “My dad informed me, ‘You know, you are not different. You are really distinct yourself. You need to be strong and actually accept this negativeness from other individuals and have it encourage you.’ I still keep that in my mind.”

Their scenario improved when they relocated to the bigger and more varied Fargo, North Dakota.

Wellentin, 24, who wishes to be an intermediate school teacher after she finishes a student-teaching requirement, said her experiences have taught her to not take no for a response.

“I wish to inform individuals that they need to ensure that they must not enable anyone to inform them that they cannot do something since just you can determine your future,” she stated.

Like countless other immigrants, Litvinenko moved to the United States with her family after her mother won the lotto for a green card. She was 3 when they transferred from Ukraine a few years after the Soviet Union collapsed.

The 27-year-old business owner ventured into pageants when she might no longer play basketball after injuring a foot in high school. She won Miss Connecticut Teenager on her first try but had to contend five times to reach the Miss U.S.A competition. Her perseverance, Litvinenko said, reveals that every effort counts.

“I wish to display that no matter who you are, no matter what your background is, your size or exactly what you have actually done in the past, through effort and discipline, through perseverance and decision, you truly can accomplish exactly what you put your heart to.”

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