Share This Page

Miss Pennsylvania makes Top 20, spotlights serious issue

| Monday, June 9, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
REUTERS
Miss Pennsylvania Valerie Gatto poses during the 2014 Miss USA beauty pageant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana June 8, 2014. Fifty-one state titleholders compete in the swimsuit, evening gown and interview categories for the title of Miss USA 2014 during the 63rd annual Miss USA competition.

The Top 20 was as close at Valerie Gatto, a 2007 North Hills High School graduate, would come to the Miss USA crown.

Gatto, a Cranberry resident competing as Miss Pennsylvania, advanced to the Top 20 out of the 51 contestants Sunday night at the Miss USA pageant in Baton Rouge, La. She was the second-to-last semifinalist to be named.

After modeling in swimsuits, the Top 10 were announced, but Gatto wasn't among those who moved on to the evening gown competition.

Her story was a part of the show, however. Announcers continually referred to Gatto as a woman overcoming the odds. Celebrity hosts Giuliana Rancic mentioned Gatto's story early on in the show when talking about some of the amazing stories of the women vying for the crown. Gatto's mother was sexually assaulted at knifepoint when she was young, and from that experience became pregnant with Gatto.

Gatto wanted to win the title to continue to share her story and spotlight a serious issue. A big part of Miss USA is that she reaches out to charities. Gatto has been doing that through her website, www.valeriegatto.com, and through speaking engagements.

“People are stunned,” she previously told the Tribune-Review. “They ask to give me a hug and are emotional. It gives them hope.”

The crown went to Miss Nevada Nia Sanchez

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.