Allyn Rose, Miss Maryland

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Allyn Rose isn't just a pretty face; she's also a strong-willed woman.

The 24-year-old Miss America pageant contestant (and current Miss Washington D.C.) has been vocal about her plans to undergo a double mastectomy as a preventative measure to reduce her risk of breast cancer—the disease that killed her mother, grandmother and great aunt.

And if that's not enough for one young woman to handle, she's also received considerable criticism for her decision, having adopted the pageant platform "Breast Cancer: Planning a Marathon, Running a Sprint," which she dedicates to her late mother. 

Breast cancer surviver Giuliana Rancic sits down with Allyn Rose

"This can really help prolong my life. The beauty in my life is living, and my mother would have given up anything in her life to be here for me … for myself, for my kids, for my future husband, it was a very easy decision for me to make," she said.

Despite the backlash, the Maryland native is standing her ground, revealing that it was her father who first broached the subject of surgery when she was just 18 years old, two years after the death of her mother.

"I said, 'Dad I'm not going to do that. I like the body I have,'" she recalled. "He got serious and said, 'Well then you're going to end up dead like your mom.'"

So, the determined pageant darling made her decision and hasn't look back, explaining that, for her, it's not an ‘if' but ‘when' she will contract the disease if she doesn't take extreme preventative measures.  

"It might hurt my body, it might hurt my physical beauty or whatever everyone else sees. But you know what? I want to be alive," she said.

The Miss America pageant will air live on ABC Jan. 12. If Rose is crowed the winner, she'll reconsidering the timing of her surgery, but should she lose, she'll have the procedure next June. 

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