A San Diego native will compete head-to-head – and gown-to-gown – alongside 50 other beauty queens for the coveted Miss USA crown during a three-hour telecast from the Baton Rouge Civic Center in Louisiana airing Sunday evening on NBC.
Cassandra Kunze, 20, will represent the state of California in the beauty pageant, hoping to succeed reigning queen Erin Brady of South Glastonbury, Conn. The contestants will be judged in swimsuit, evening gown and interview competitions until only one is left standing with the crown.
Kunze, born and raised in San Diego, is currently a junior at San Diego State University where she is studying Television, Film & New Media and International Security & Conflict Resolution. She enjoys traveling and once visited Israel as a U.S. student ambassador.
According to her Miss USA contestant biography, the 5-foot-9 blonde beauty has a love for dance and
music, and grew up dancing ballet at California Ballet School and is also a self-taught pianist.
Kunze loves outdoor activities, including flag football, baseball, track and field, golf, ultimate Frisbee and paddle boarding and, according to her bio, “believes that optimism is key to making the most of every day.”
Her favorite movie is “Shawshank Redemption” and her favorite song is “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol. Her food of choice is steak.
Her bio also lists the following “fun facts” about Kunze: she has a zip-line in her backyard, she was named after a tractor and she tends to always run as fast as she can down a dark hallway.
Prior to competing in Miss USA as Miss California, Kunze served as Miss Teen San Diego County and Miss Teenage California in 2012.
Her LinkedIn profile says she is a 2011 graduate of Grossmont High School and has worked as a ballet instructor in the past.
The winner of Sunday’s 63rd Miss USA title will represent the U.S. at the Miss Universe competition later this year.