For 23-year-old Kristen Dalton, winning the title of Miss USA® wasn't just a dream, it was
destiny. From the age of three, she believed that one day she would wear the coveted Miss
USA® crown and sash. On April 19, 2009, in Las Vegas, Nev., as a worldwide television
audience watched, Dalton was crowned at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.
For years, the women in Dalton's family have participated in pageants. Her mother, Jennie, was
Miss North Carolina USA 1982, and her sister, Julia, was the penultimate runner-up in the 2008
Miss Teen USA® competition.
"I've always been a stringent believer in the power of having a positive outlook," says Dalton. "I
believe that your attitude determines your altitude." There's no telling how high the peak is for
this ambitious beauty.
Dalton attended East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., where she represented her school
as class president for two years and served as the vice president of the National Leadership
Honor Society. The North Carolina native majored in psychology, with a minor in Spanish.
Dalton also spent time traveling throughout Spain and Guatemala, studying and volunteering.
She is putting her degree on hold to serve as Miss USA®, but plans to resume her studies at the
conclusion of her reign.
A relative renaissance woman, Dalton is an accomplished singer, actress and dancer. She has
appeared on hit television shows, including "One Tree Hill," and has performed the national
anthem at numerous sporting events, one of which was a Duke University vs. University of North
Carolina basketball game. She is also a longtime volunteer to the North Carolina Special
Olympics, and is currently a United Service Organization Ambassador representing North
As Miss USA, Dalton is a spokeswoman for the official causes of the organization, which include
breast and ovarian cancer education, research and legislation - a platform that is close to her
heart. She enjoys traveling nationwide as an advocate for organizations such as the Ovarian
Cancer Research Fund, the National Breast Cancer Coalition, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer
Foundation and Gilda's Club, among others. After her reign, Dalton aspires to be a motivational
talk show host and a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations.
The Miss Universe Organization, producers of the MISS UNIVERSE®, MISS USA® and
MISS TEEN USA® pageants, is a Donald J. Trump and NBC Universal joint venture.