Nothing about beauty queen Analouisa Valencia is stereotypical.

A regular on South Carolina’s beauty pageant circuit since she was 6 years old, the 19-year-old has always been proud to flaunt her African-American and Latino roots.

However, it’s not just Valencia’s striking beauty that has caused the pageant world to take notice.

Openly gay since coming out her freshman year of high school, Valencia is looking to use the high profile status that pageants have given her to be a role model to others.

Currently vying to be the next Miss South Carolina, Valencia spoke candidly with The Advocate in a recent interview.

“Miss South Carolina should be a great role model, but her sexual orientation shouldn’t define her as a person,” Valenica said.

While the southern state is known for being conservative, Valencia said that “very slowly but surely” communities across South Carolina have been more welcome to her sexual orientation.

“I’ve seen so much discrimination towards people with special needs, and I’m Hispanic and African-American and I’ve seen a lot of discrimination there, as well as with other minorities.”

Choosing the Special Olympics South Carolina as her platform, Valencia wants to be an advocate for equality for everyone.

“I’ve experienced a lot of things in life,” said Valencia.

“If I can't be that role model and be positive and comfortable in what I have to say then I shouldn’t have it as my platform.”

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