“Who is Amanda Soltero.. and how do I meet her??”
Ladies and gentlemen, THIS is Amanda Soltero, Miss Nebraska USA 2014
..and NOW you know why my friend asked to meet her.
Jaw. Dropping. GORGEOUS. If ever there was a time for me to write a blog using only photos, this would be it.
STUNNING: adj. To astonish; astound; amaze: Her beauty stunned the audience.
Believe it or not, Amanda seems to be just as beautiful, if not more so, on the INSIDE. The same weekend young women from across the state will compete for the title of Miss Nebraska, Amanda will be competing in Baton Rouge for the title of Miss USA. Today in a special feature, get to know Miss Nebraska USA, and find out why she wants your support representing our state.
First things first.. what’s the difference between Miss America and Miss USA? I think my fellow KETV anchor and pageant-graduate
Alex Hoffman put it best in saying these two organizations are the most prestigious, well known and respected in the pageant world. They are televised, have history on their side, and have thousands of participants nationwide. While many of the same young women compete for both, they are two different systems.
Women who compete for Miss America must be 17-24 years old; women who compete for Miss USA must be between 17-27 years old.
Finally, Miss America contestants compete in swimsuit, evening gown, interview and talent; Miss USA contestants do not compete in talent.
Enough with the facts and figures… meet Amanda!
“I am determined to use my year to make a difference in people’s lives, especially children with cancer,” Amanda told me in a recent interview. “You get one year to be Miss Nebraska USA and even though I come from a small town (Columbus, Neb.), I know I can still make a big difference by using my title to do so! I want to show my state that I can make them proud by representing them in the best way and by truly making the most of my time with the crown, not just for all the glitz and glam.”
Just as each of the Miss Nebraska contestants have a personal platform of service, Amanda is focusing her year on spreading awareness of childhood cancer.
“Pediatric cancer research and awareness is very near and dear to my heart,” said Amanda. “6-year old Sammy Nahorny is a family friend of mine and when they started Sammy’s Superheroes, I knew I wanted to get involved.”
Sammy was diagnosed at 4-years old with Neuroblastoma, cancer that commonly affects the abdomen and adrenal glands and is very difficult to treat. Loved ones formed Sammy’s Superheroes to show their support and raise money for research; more than 10,000 people now support the cause, including Olympic Gold Medalist Curt Tomasevicz. Check out Sammy’s Superheroes online or on Facebook to learn more!
“When you see directly the effects childhood cancer can have on someone you care about, it really hits you hard and makes you want to help in any way that you can,” said Amanda. “I knew that if I won Miss Nebraska USA, I would be able to give a larger platform for Sammy’s Superheroes and really get the word out how desperately funds are needed for research to find a cure.”
Amanda recruiting Miss Arkansas USA, Miss Kansas USA and Miss Oklahoma USA to become Sammy’s Superheroes!
Amanda has also offered her support and time to Team Jack, the organization raising money to fight pediatric brain cancer in honor of Jack Hoffman. Jack and his dad, Andy, are good friends to KETV, sharing their story of Jack’s long battle with a brain tumor, his friendship with Nebraska football player Rex Burkhead, and the now legendary Spring Game touchdown run viewed more than 8.4 million times on YouTube.
I, too, have had the privilege of sharing Jack’s story, and the fight he represents. Team Jack has now raised more than 1.1 million dollars for pediatric brain cancer research, and has the support of tens of thousands across the country.
Amanda and Jack at the first annual Team Jack Gala
“I know that the more people that hear and see where their money is going, the quicker we can find a cure!” said Amanda.
It is THIS, not the fancy photo shoots or glamorous trips around the country, that Amanda enjoys the most about being Miss Nebraska USA.
“The appearances I have gotten to do WITH Sammy have had the most impact on me and have been the most meaningful,” said Amanda.
While many state titleholders take a year off from school and full time work to focus on service and appearances, Amanda has not; she remains a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and will graduate this weekend with a degree in Broadcasting.
Amanda reporting at a Nebraska women’s soccer game for the B1G Network
But make no mistake; Amanda says she is ready to represent Nebraska at Miss USA.
“I want to make the people of my home state proud and go out knowing that I did everything I possibly could to prepare and leave no stone unturned,” said Amanda. “I want to be a platform for the organizations that mean the most to me, and get others on board as well. I want to represent myself, my family and my state in the best light possible.”
Amanda and her family
Amanda will fly to Louisiana on May 25th, but she’s hoping to take Nebraska with her. You can watch the Miss USA pageant live on NBC June 8th at 8/7 Central, hopefully cheering loud enough that Amanda will be able to hear you 1,000 miles away.
“My hopes for the pageant are to show the world what Nebraskans are made of and to let people know there is more to Nebraska than cornfields and flat land,” said Amanda.
And there’s more to Amanda than a pretty face. This young woman is reshaping how children, families and Nebraskans think of ‘beauty queens’. Beauty INSIDE and out.
GO. BIG. RED. Represent, Miss Nebraska USA!
Connect with Miss Nebraska USA 2014 Amanda Soltero on