Miss USA 2014 takes place on Sunday night with last year's winner Miss Connecticut Erin Brady set to crown a new winner for this year's winner. The Miss USA Pageant 2014 will air on Sunday with a scheduled start time of 8 p.m. ET. The event can be watched on TV on the NBC network, or online through free live stream (details below).
Many may know the Miss USA Pageant for its glamor and glitz, however, among the final contestants each year there is more to each than first meets the eye.
This year's Miss Connecticut Desiree Perez, for example, has had to overcome serious medical issues in her life to get to where she is today. At the age of 7 she developed a tumor.
"I had a tumor that developed in my jaw at age 7," she said, according to Yahoo TV.
Luckily the tumor was benign but she had to then undergo numerous reconstructive operations over the coming years. After one 13 hour surgery stint the doctor explained to her mother that her daughter was alive "by one inch."
Perez has explained, "I've had 13 surgeries since I was 7."
That has included a bone transplant, whereby part of her hip bone had to be taken out and implanted into her jaw. She has also had to have an operation that left her having to have her mouth wired closed for three months.
She now says, "I won't say it was a cool experience, but it taught me a lesson. It's given me the ability to do anything in life. For me, inspiring others and helping others … a smile or a story can help someone. It's not about you, it's about someone else … helping others in society," according to Yahoo News.
Meanwhile, Miss Pennsylvania, Valerie Gatto, 24, found out in elementary school that she was conceived after her mother was raped at the age of 19. Her mother though decided not to have an abortion and conceived Valerie nine months later.
She found out about what her mother had been through when she was in third grade.
She has said, "I was in third grade. I found out basic information about why I didn't have a dad. My initial reaction … I really can't tell you."
She has attributed her supportive family and the love of her church for helping her get through: "I was raised in a church by a loving and supportive family. I never let it hold me back."
Gatto recently told NBC's Today show, "Being a child of rape, not knowing who my father is, not knowing if he's ever ben found, most people would think it's such a negative situation. Being a voice is life-changing, and I just want to keep going."
Her mother told her that at a very young age "something bad happened" to her.
She explained, "A very bad man hurt me, but God gave me you."
Gatto has said that her mother was attacked and dragged behind a busy street in Pittsburgh. She said: "He was going to murder her, but there was just this bright flash of light and he got scared and didn't want any onlookers to see her and what he was doing to her," according to the Pittsburgh Tribine-Review.
Her mother kept her pregnancy a secret and was planning to give her baby up for adoption, but she was convinced by her grandmother to keep her baby. Her grandmother told her, "God doesn't give you more than you can handle."
Miss USA 2014 takes place on Sunday night with a start time of 8 p.m. ET. The show can be watched on the NBC network or online through free live stream by clicking here.