Biracial Lesbian Vying for Miss South Carolina Crown

Analouisa Valencia breaks all the pageant stereotypes: she's articulate, mixed-race, and proudly, openly gay.

BY Neal Broverman

April 05 2013 3:00 AM ET

Is there a special talent you have that will be featured at the pageant?
My talent is singing and I'll be performing "Footprints in the Sand" by Leona Lewis. 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.

Is the pageant scene as cutthroat as it appears?
I don’t think so. I think it’s the way that you handle it as a contestant. If you are stressed about it, of course it’ll be stressful, but if you're having fun while you’re doing it, it's not. I can handle criticism very well, of course, because I’m a lesbian in the South. Whatever it is that I need to do to make myself better, I want to hear that from someone. I don’t want to hear it sugarcoated, I’d rather hear it straight up.

How do you handle pressure?
Since I was a gymnast most of my life, the pressure I was always under at competitions prepared me. I'm used to performing in front of a lot of people, so I take a deep breath before I go out and then when I'm out on the stage, I perform, and say what I have to say and I leave it on the stage. I don't go back and think about what I did, because then I'm over-thinking stuff.

Tell us about your girlfriend.
She just turned 20 last month, so I threw her a great birthday party. She’s really sweet, she’s very supportive. We used to not be as good place, but we are now. It took a lot to get there, so we’re doing a lot better. We've been together for almost three years; we met when I was in high school in my senior year and went to prom together.

How did people respond? Were they welcoming?
Oh yeah. In Spartanburg, I think we’re one of the most well-known couples. Everybody loves us, we don’t know why.

Will Tamyra be in Columbia with you in July?
Yes, she’s been so involved this year. Last night she actually stayed up till 1 a.m. designing a t-shirt for me. She went dress shopping with me Saturday. But she’s really blunt and really honest about stuff. We decided on my wardrobe, so I’m very happy with it. It’s amazing, I cant wait to wear it.

What do you hope to do after the pageant?
I'm in school at Spartanburg Community College and then I want to major in business at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Also, I coach at my old gymnastics center, but I really want to open my own gym and train elite gymnasts, because there’s not an elite gym in South Carolina.

If you do win Miss South Carolina, what kind of prizes would you win?
The organization gives her an apartment to live in for that year. She also has a car sponsor so that allows her to drive a car for a year. And there's a college scholarship, which is I think $25,000. School is so expensive, even with a scholarship, it's still expensive. I’m really determined to open my own gym.

If you want to help Analouisa with her sponsorships or wish her well, she can be reached at facebook.com/analouisa.valencia.

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