Alayah Benavidez, Miss United States 2016, was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas which is home of the Alamo, Riverwalk and five time national NBA champions, the San Antonio Spurs. She recently graduated with her Associate of Arts in Teaching and is pursuing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas at San Antonio. At a very young age Alayah discovered a passion for literature and as an adult has seen first-hand how her love of reading has helped her to develop confidence in testing and public speaking. Statistics have shown that readers naturally score higher in standardized tests making a tremendous difference in the success of students. This is what led Alayah to begin her own campaign, “Read the Way”, which focuses on childhood literacy. She has already reached hundreds of students in Texas with her message and has been thrilled to see them each take on and complete her reading challenge. It has been a dream of hers to reach children across the country and as Miss United States 2016 that is exactly what she plans on doing.
Alayah also works closely with the Muscular Dystrophy Association as a camp counselor and team captain for the annual Walk of Hope which raises funds for the research of this muscular degenerative disease.
In addition to being an advocate for literacy and a community volunteer, Alayah is a professional model currently signed with three agencies nationwide. You can catch her in ads and magazines all over the country. In her free time she enjoys Crossfit, traveling and being outdoors with her best friend Titan who is a 115 pound Doberman pinscher. She loves quotes and actually has an entire Pinterest board dedicated to them. One of her favorites is ... “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire” and she strives to be just that.