MENIFEE ( — Newly crowned Miss USA Nia Sanchez has come under fire about her residency in Nevada.

KCAL9’s Tom Wait reports the 24-year-old grew up in California and went to high school in Menifee. She also worked at Disneyland until November 2013.

Sanchez competed in Miss California USA three times and lost. She then moved to Nevada and won.

Sanchez defended the move in an interview with “Inside Edition.”

“I was working a lot in Nevada and I was like, ‘Well, I still love pageants, I need to compete somewhere, so since I’m living here, I should compete here,’” she said.

In a radio interview Monday, however, Sanchez couldn’t name the capital of Nevada.

The Miss Universe Organization is standing by Sanchez, saying she had a Nevada driver’s license a year before the pageant and has no reason to question her.

Wait spoke with Sanchez’s family at the Menifee studio where she trained and became a black belt in taekwondo.

“This is a moment she should be living and not worry about little petty things like that,” Sanchez’s stepmother Jennifer said. “I’m extremely proud of her. The whole academy is proud of her, the city of Menifee, her high school that she went to, her whole family is extremely proud of her.”

“I think it’s just one of those things where no matter who wins, they’re going to find something about someone that’s going to make them feel better about themselves,” Sanchez’s stepsister said.


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