She's the stunning beauty queen vying for the Miss USA crown, but Miss Pennsylvania, Valerie Gatto, has a shocking back-story. She's a child of rape.
"When my mother was 19 years old and a college student, she was walking outside of work. A man all dressed in black and disguised brutally attacked her at knife-point,” said Gatto. "He raped her and he almost killed her, but she managed to get away. My mom became pregnant and I'm the product of that."
Gatto said her mom wanted to give her up for adoption as soon as she was born, but was convinced by her grandmother to keep her.
"I grew up with my mother and my grandparents, and I wondered where was my dad? The rest of my friends had one in their home. Why don't I have one?" said Gatto.
She says at a very young age, her mother told her the truth about how she was conceived, but she never let the circumstances of her birth define her.
She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, and now works part time as a fashion model.
Today she is busy rehearsing with the other Miss USA contestants for Sunday's grand show in Baton Rouge. All eyes will surely be on a brave, young woman named Valerie Gatto.
"I really hope to make a difference with my story and my message, just showing that your circumstances do not define your life," said Gatto. "And it doesn't matter where you come from. You can do anything you want."