Miss Indiana USA Mekayla Diehl is speaking out after she received praise for her healthy-looking figure during last night's Miss USA 2014 competition.
But the road to last night's competition hasn't been a smooth one for the brunette beauty queen.
Before entering the world of pageantry, the 25-year-old tomboy struggled with a traumatic incident in her childhood that forced her to be uprooted from her family home.
"I was 8 years old when I was sexually abused," Diehl revealed in an interview with local Indiana outlet, WNDU. "Very quickly after that we moved in with my grandmother and eventually was adopted."
"At first I was sad. And then I found my outlets. My grandmother was very encouraging. Anything that I wanted to try to do, she tried to find the best way. I had horses. We tried 4-H, I tried saddle club. Dancing was my emotional outlet. I loved to dance, and that became my emotional release."
Her grandmother Katie Sautter also spoke to the station, saying, "We got through it. By the grace of God we got through it."
The man who Diehl claims hurt her was a friend of the family, and her parents chose not to press charges against him.
Her father, Bill Diehl, has since expressed his regrets for not taking action.
"We all knew right from wrong," he admitted. "Sometimes you just don't listen...when you should've."
"Unfortunately, because of my parents' decisions, it did not get resolved like it should have," Diehl shared.
"I don't know where that man is. I could care less if I ever see him again. However, I have learned to forgive him so that I can move on. Forgiveness and moving on are two things that are a must in our family."
She added, "I hope [young girls] can look at me and see that, yes, I'm a pageant girl, but I had a dream and I worked very, very hard for it. And I didn't let my past define me."