With world famous beauty, a crown on her head and a 1994 Junior Olympic silver medal under her belt, it would seem that Miss USA Crystle Stewart has led quite the charmed life.
But the 27-year-old Texan has had her share of struggles – most notably a terrifying breast cancer scare.
At the Oxygen/"America's Next Top Model" launch party in New York Monday, she told FOXNews.com that just five years ago, she was forced to have a lump removed from her breast.
“When I was 21, I gave myself a self-breast-examination and I found a lump. I went to the doctor, and had to get an ultrasound. Later, my doctor had me go get a biopsy and fortunately it was benign,” she said.
Stewart had the lump removed, but said the experience stayed with her ever since.
“It was so terrifying. And now I know what it’s like to have that fear of having cancer, and that is something I will never forget. I was 21 when I found it, it was the last thing I ever thought would happen to me.”
From then on, Stewart made a point to work to raise awareness for women suffering from breast cancer, and even made it her platform for Miss USA.
“I want to encourage women—regardless of age—to make sure that they check their breasts every day. Especially young African American women, where the risk is higher than any other ethnicity – so many black women die because their cancer is diagnosed to late."
Still, the reigning crown-holder has a lot to be proud of these days, and is enjoying the last months of her title.
“It’s been such a great ride. And I’m so proud to represent my country,” she said.