Miss USA 2018 Sarah Rose Summers Films an Episode of Her Podcast ‘More Than a Crown’ in NYC

Sarah and Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez talk wedding plans, self-defense for women, and life after the crown.

Miss USA 2018 Sarah Rose Summers wants you to know that she’s more than a former pageant girl. Specifically, she’s more than a crown.

The title-holder has been recording episodes of her aptly named podcast, More Than a Crown, since April, but recorded the first episode in front of a live studio audience earlier this month in New York City. On the episode, Sarah and special guest Nia Sanchez, Miss USA 2014, discussed life after their reign, Sarah’s upcoming wedding, and the role self-defense plays in the lives of modern women.

“Your reign happens, and then it’s over just as fast,” Sarah told her audience during filming. “You have to figure out what you’re going to do, and that’s where ‘More Than a Crown’ was born.”

Sarah has spent her post-crown days in children’s hospitals as a certified child life specialist. In her role, Sarah works with patients and their medical teams, and makes life a little happier for children during their stays. It’s a job she found even more love for, she says, after a trip to a hospital in Mexico during her time as Miss USA.

“I’ve been in plenty of US hospitals, but then you go to this Mexico City hospital where families have ridden on buses for 16 hours with a two-year-old [to receive healthcare],” she revealed. “Now, any time I’m on an airplane and somebody gets irritated with a screaming baby, I’m like, ‘you have no idea.’ Now I look at life with more grateful eyes.”

Sarah Rose Summers with More Than a Crown audience members

Another experience that has made Sarah more appreciative of the life she has? A horrifying moment outside her own Manhattan apartment building that she was lucky enough to escape. The Nebraskan-turned-New-Yorker described the experience while filming the episode.

“I’m on the phone with [my fiancé] Conner, and I feel this man approach, and he goes, ‘you got a boyfriend?’” Sarah said, explaining that the man asked her the question repeatedly and got too close for comfort as she neared her building’s front door. “Another man walked by and he did not intervene. And so this man started heckling him, and in the split amount of time, I was able to type in my code and pull the glass door shut.”

Unfortunately, that’s not where Sarah’s less-than-warm interaction with the man ended.

“My whole walk up the first flight of stairs, he was standing outside the glass door watching me, in a dress, go up the stairs,” she said, revealing the man also knocked on the glass as he stared at her. “I wanted to call the police.”

Sarah decided against it since the man didn’t actually harm her. But her pal Nia, who teaches self-defense classes and spent years practicing taekwondo, had some advice on what she could have done in the moment.

“I’ve been in a similar situation where I didn’t feel safe going to my home… so I went directly to a public space that was very close to where I lived,” Nia said, noting that Sarah’s decision to enter her door code when the man was distracted was smart thinking. “You want to get that bystander intervention possibility up as high as you can.”

After offering some more self-defense advice for women (Nia says to always carry your purse on your less dominant arm, so if you’re attacked, you can use your stronger arm to fight!) the two ladies ended the recording on a happy note by revealing their favorite memories from their respective reigns.

Nia Sanchez and Sarah Rose Summers at the More Than a Crown recording.

“I was in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. That was so special to me,” Nia said. “And then, I got first runner-up [in Miss Universe 2014] and it was pretty exciting.”

Sarah then cited her experience in Mexico has her best memory.

“There are so many, but something that was amazing was going to Mexico City,” she said. “My perspective just completely changed.

Check out full episodes of More Than a Crown here.

Written by Hillary Maglin