Southern Miss senior competes for Miss USA Crown this weekend

Myverick Garcia

By Monica Land

HATTIESBURG – University of Southern Mississippi senior Myverick Garcia will compete alongside 50 other hopefuls for the title of Miss USA on Sunday, June 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The pageant, which features contestants from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, will be broadcast live on NBC at 8 p.m. CST.

The winner advances to the Miss Universe contest to be held in December.

Twenty-two-year-old Garcia, who captured the Miss Mississippi USA crown last November, is majoring in biological sciences and works as a dental assistant at Dental Group of Ellisville. She hopes to eventually pursue a career in dentistry.

A Hattiesburg native, Garcia is the daughter of James and Tina Gerlach.

Garcia grew up with her mom, stepdad, older brother and her grandmother, whom she affectionately calls, “Side Saddle.” Garcia said her grandmother has been a defining character in her life and that she and her brother spent a great deal of their childhood traveling with their grandma in her 18-wheeler tractor-trailer.

A victim of childhood bullying, Garcia’s mother chose to homeschool her until she was a teenager. She then earned a full scholarship to Jones Community College where she earned an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts. She hopes to enter her university’s medical center next fall as a dental student.

“My life is a classic Cinderella story, omitting the fairy godmother and inserting my grandmother and her 18-wheeler,” Garcia said. “I am working hard to become the first college graduate in my family and to begin practicing dentistry as Dr. Myverick Garcia. I truly believe that everything in my life has prepared me for this unique moment.”

In her various competitions, Garcia has revealed that she loves Marvel comics and imagines herself as a cross between Wonder Woman and Dr. Jean Gray. She’s also an avid Disney movie buff and claims she can sing every Disney song by heart.

As Miss Mississippi USA, Garcia said she feels she has a duty to share her unique testimony with fellow victims of bullying. She said she is proud of the way she overcame adversity and hopes to inspire other young women to do the same.

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