Analouisa Valencia will be the first openly gay contestant in history. She is also multiracial, her father is from Mexico, her mother is African American, and she speaks Spanish.
Valencia will compete against 48 other contestants. With three titles under her belt already, Valencia thinks this year she will do better at state than she did in years before.
“Last year, I did compete at state, but I wasn’t comfortable because of the fact I was hiding who I was,” Valencia said. “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 came out in the ninth grade and went to her high school prom with her girlfriend, who she has now been dating for three years. She told The Advocate that it took a while for her parents to accept her, though her school was okay with it.
“My mom at first said, ‘Well, I don’t support it, but I love you so I’ll support you.’ She’s [okay] with it now, but it’s been a couple of years. My dad at first was very, very, very furious,” she said. “I think it took him a good three weeks to finally accept the fact that I was just going to be who I was and be proud of it. My teachers were very supportive.”
Valencia isn’t limiting her history-making to just Miss South Carolina.
“I’m the first openly lesbian contestant in the Miss America system, the first bilingual contestant we’ve had, so that’s good,” said Valencia.
The winner of the contest receives a $25,000 scholarship and a car sponsorship that allows her to have a car for a year. Valencia plans to finish school and open a gym. She hopes her talent section will be able to win the judges over.
“I’ll be performing ‘Footprints in the Sand’ by Leona Lewis,” Valencia said. “I’m really excited because it’s a pretty big song and usually most people are used to hearing me sing jazz, because I love jazz and blues, but this is more contemporary; more pop, but really nice.”
Valencia has had tons of support from family and friends and an extremely positive attitude that she hopes will push her to the crown.
“I’ll just try and do my best and think positively.” she said.