Monday night’s Miss USA competition wasn’t without NFL royalty.
Gracie Hunt, the 22-year-old daughter of Kansas City Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt, participated in the annual event, having won the title of Miss Kansas back in April. She placed in the Top 16, as Miss Kentucky, Elle Smith, was crowned this year’s Miss USA.
Ahead of Monday’s show, Hunt took a moment to express her gratitude for those who have been part of her journey thus far.
“In a few short hours I’ll take the stage for the Miss USA final competition and my family and friends will be cheering me on from these very seats!🥰 My heart overflows with gratitude to everyone who has played a role in helping me be the woman I am today,” she wrote on Instagram.
Hunt also thanked her mother, Tavia, who was crowned Miss Kansas USA in 1993.
“I can’t express how much I love you. Thank you for your wisdom, sacrifices, and all of effort you’ve poured into walking this journey alongside me. Thank you for being my role model and best friend. I wouldn’t be here today without you. @Taviahunt,” Hunt wrote.
In a recent interview with People, Hunt said the shared experience between mother and daughter has “bonded [them] so much.”
“She tells me, ‘Just be you. You are enough,’” Hunt said. “It’s really nice to get to walk down a road with someone who has been down that path before.”
Although pageants are very much a part of Hunt’s present, soccer was once a major component of her past. Unfortunately, her budding career on the field was sidelined due to injuries.
“I wanted to play in college. I won the championship when I was in high school with my high school team, and played club, as well,” Hunt told People. “After suffering four concussions, that was a dream that I could no longer pursue, which is really hard when you work your entire life to be good at something.”
Hunt has long been passionate about health and fitness. In fact, after being diagnosed with celiac disease at a young age, Hunt said it “inspired [her] to become as educated as [she] could and get [her] nutrition accreditation.”
Hunt — who is also a Global Ambassador for the Special Olympics — is also focused on other endeavors, including her nonprofit, Breaking Barriers Through Sports. The organization, which Hunt founded in 2016, strives to use the power of sports to promote respect and inclusivity.