New York, NY – January 9, 2013 – Donald J. Trump and the Miss Universe Organization officially crowned Nana Meriwether Miss USA 2012 in a special ceremony held today at Trump Tower. The 27-year old beauty assumes the role after reigning Miss USA Olivia Culpo captured the Miss Universe title on December 19, 2012 in Las Vegas.
Formally Miss Maryland USA, Meriwether was raised in Potomac, Maryland and is an accomplished student and athlete. She began her early years attending Sidwell Friends School, best known as the current and former school of the Obama daughters and Chelsea Clinton. She went on to become a star athlete for the UCLA Women’s Volleyball Team helping lead the squad to the NCAA Final Four during her senior year. Along the way, she broke three NCAA volleyball records, was a two-time All American, was featured in Sports Illustrated, and graduated with a degree in Political Science. She went on to complete her post graduate premedical science studies at USC in 2011 and soon after clinched the title of Miss Maryland USA.
“Being named Miss USA is a dream come true for me,” said newly crowned Miss USA Nana Meriwether. “I am looking forward to this amazing opportunity and hope to use this title to raise awareness for my non-profit The Meriwether Foundation, which focuses on improving the health and well-being of rural villages in five countries in Southern Africa.”
Nana during the Miss USA 2012 contest
The MISS USA 2012 prize package includes: a custom diamond tiara and jewelry designed by Diamond Nexus; a scholarship from the New York Film Academy; hair care products and tools from Farouk Systems; an assortment of high fashion bracelets made in Rwanda by women of the Same Sky Trade Initiative; an eveningwear wardrobe by Sherri Hill; a swimwear wardrobe by Kooey Australia; a shoe wardrobe from Chinese Laundry; make-up from Rain Cosmetics; sun care products from Australian Gold; luxury accommodations in a New York City apartment for the duration of her reign, including living expenses; a salary as Miss USA; personal services including membership to Gravity Fitness and hair services from John Barrett Salon; modeling portfolio by leading fashion photographer Fadil Berisha; dermatology and skincare services provided by Dr. Cheryl Thellman-Karcher; professional health and nutrition consultation by Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD and dental services by Dr. Jan Linhart, D.D.S.; casting opportunities and professional representation by the Miss Universe Organization; extensive travel opportunities representing sponsors and charitable partners; access to various New York City events including movie premiers and screenings, Broadway shows and launch parties; consultation with Miss Universe Organization’s Official Fashion Consultant, Alisha Crutchfield and access to a personal appearance wardrobe; professional media/public relations training and representation by Rubenstein Public Relations.
MISS USA 2012
Very few people can say their lives changed forever while they were watching television; Nana Meriwether can.
While sitting in a restaurant with friends December 19th, 27-year-old Nana watched as the then reigning Miss USA, Olivia Culpo, advanced through the Miss Universe competition and eventually claimed the title. By the end of the telecast all eyes in the restaurant were on Nana, who as the first runner-up of the 2012 MISS USA® Competition, now assumes the title of Miss USA, a lifelong dream for this beautiful, accomplished woman.
Olivia, being the new Miss Universe, must relinquish her Miss USA title to Nana who is the first runner-up
For Nana, extraordinary accomplishments are not considered over-achievements because in her family, it’s simply the natural order of things.
Her Mother, Nomvimbi, grew up in Soweto, South Africa under apartheid and despite the obstacles, became one of the country’s first black, female lawyers. She went on to earn her CPA and MBA.
Her Father, Delano, was the first African American to be accepted to Duke University Medical School, where he graduated with honors. At 27, he took up competitive running and was subsequently featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated and holds a World Record for the 100-yard-dash.
The young Nana with her parents and two siblings
Nana was born in South Africa while her Father was there as a medical missionary and lived her first years in rural villages with the country’s poorest population.
Upon returning to the United States, Nana attended the Sidwell Friends School, best known as the current and former school of the Obama daughters, Chelsea Clinton and Al Gore Jr. She began her college career at Duke University but soon transferred to UCLA where she was a member of the Women’s Volleyball team.
By the time she reached her senior year, Nana had helped lead the team to the NCAA Final Four, broken three NCAA records and was a two-time NCAA All American. These accolades earned her a feature in Sports Illustrated in 2006. She graduated from UCLA with honors and a degree in Political Science. In 2009, Nana was admitted to the University of Southern California where she completed post graduate premedical sciences studies in their Post Baccalaureate Program.
Nana is proud of her South African heritage and visits the country regularly. Inspired by the pro-bono volunteer work her parents did in the early 80s, she helped co-found the non-profit
group, The Meriwether Foundation. The organization is based in several rural villages in five countries of Southern Africa and has initiated HIV/AIDS programs, opened several schools and clinics, started orphanages, and developed organic agricultural and water projects.
During her reign, Nana will continue her work for The Meriwether Foundation as well as working with some of the official cause alliances of the Miss Universe Organization including the USO, the Same Sky Trade Initiative, Best Buddies, Gilda’s Club and the National Ovarian Cancer Alliance.