Valerie Gatto is Miss Pennsylvania, vying for the title of Miss USA 2014 tonight. Read on for the facts on Gatto and why she stands out from the other 50 contestants.
1. Gatto Is a “Product of Rape
When Gatto was in third grade, her mother revealed to her that she was conceived out of rape. Cosmopolitan writes:
Her mother almost gave Gatto up for adoption, but her great-grandmother convinced her to raise the child. In the third grade, her mom revealed the (age-appropriate) truth about her conception, saying, “Something bad happened to me. A very bad man hurt me, but God gave me you.”
Gatto opened up to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about the day her 19-year-old mother was raped at knifepoint.
My mom managed to get away. He was going to murder her, but there was just this bright flash of light and he got scared and didn’t want any onlookers to see her and what he was doing to her.
Fox News further reports:
Gatto said that her mother was attacked on a busy Pittsburgh street by a man who dragged her behind a building and raped her.
2. She’s Actually Turned the Rape Situation Into a Positive
In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Gatto spoke with them about her determination to stay positive about the way she was born. She wishes to spread awareness in hopes of preventing sexual violence or help other victims.
Being a child of a rape, not knowing who my father is, not knowing if he’s ever been found, most people would think it’s such a negative situation. Being a voice is life-changing, and I just want to keep going.
3. The Church and Family Have Been the Center of Her Life
Religion and family have been the most important things in Gatto’s life. Her personal biography writes:
Her family came together, made sacrifices, worked hard and stayed positive during difficult times. Valerie grew-up living with her mom, maternal grandparents and for a while her aunt. Every Sunday, Valerie would go to Church with her family and great-grandmother. Growing up and today, Church is a very important part of her life.
4. Gatto Was an Energy Drink Promoter
When Gatto went to college at the University of Pittsburgh, she became a brand ambassador for AMP Energy Drink. Her bio reads:
While an AMP ambassador, Valerie was one of ten ambassadors nationwide invited to attend the PepsiCo College Summit. There she had the opportunity to network with top company executives and participate in developing new products. Her experiences as a brand ambassador and promotional model drew her to marketing and she decided to get her degree in Business Administration.
5. She’s a Former Bikini Model
— Sweet Revenge Bikini (@SRevengeBikinis) June 8, 2014
Sweet Revenge Bikinis is just one of the swimwear lines supporting their former model. Tidal Cool Creations is another bikini line that has hired Gatto as a model in the past. Allyn Lewis reports that modeling isn’t Gatto’s only career goal in life.
Aside from following her acting and modeling dreams, she is currently a marketing consultant who aspires to obtain her MBA and go on to become CMO of a Fortune 500 company.