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From an Army Lieutenant to a Brain-Eating Amoeba Survivor: Compelling Backstories of Miss USA Contestants


There is more than meets the eye to the 2016 Miss USA contestants. The backstories of the beauties are striking.

Read: 52 Women Strut Their Stuff as They Vie for the Title of Miss USA 2016

When Miss District of Columbia is not competing for the Miss USA crown, Deshauna Barber is a First Lieutenant in the Army.

She is one of the 52 contestants hoping to clinch the coveted crown.

Miss Nevada, Emelina Adams, is competing after the death of her older sister to a drug overdose, just six weeks after she won the state pageant.

“Losing my sister to something like that was very traumatizing; it still doesn't feel real to me. It's been really hard. I hope I can win Miss USA for her,” she told Inside Edition.

Miss Alaska, Ariane Audett, overcame much hardship to get to the competition — she grew up homeless.

"Because of various circumstances we were moving from home to home, from different women's shelters and living in her car, sleeping in tents,” Audett said. "Even if I don't win Miss USA, I still will inspire those girls who look up to me and say wow, she grew up literally sleeping on the streets."

Read: 17-Year-Old Pageant Queen Arrested for Forging Doctor's Notes to Excuse Class Absences

Miss Indiana, Morgan Abel, is a mental health nurse who almost died as a child after she was diagnosed with a rare brain-eating amoeba.

“I had really bad headaches to the point where i couldn't stand up and i had to crawl everywhere where I was going,” she said.

The contestants will go head-to-head in Las Vegas Sunday for the annual Miss USA pageant.

Watch: Ex-Miss Pennsylvania Stands By Claim Trump's Pageant Was Rigged: 'He Doesn't Scare Me' 

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