Any Miss USA hopeful needs an interesting story to distinguish herself, but Miss West Virginia Chelsea Welch has a whole brand! And we’re talking a literal brand here. While she was on her year abroad from brown, Welch traveled through Tanzania, spent some time with the Massai, and eventually got the characteristic circle brand on her back.


“The Massai, they put a lot of burns and scars on their body,” Welch explained via Guardian Express “They think it beautifies them. So at the end of my trip they asked if I wanted to receive one of their traditional circle brands, so I thought, ‘Well why not, let’s go for it.”

Welch is one of 51 young, beautiful women staying at the Planet Hollywood hotel-casino in Las Vegas, who will be facing off for the Miss Universe crown tonight at 9PM. The competition features a preliminary fashion show round, which will eliminate all but 15 hopefuls, after which the rest of the ladies will compete in a swimsuit round, an evening gown competition and the interview portion of the pageant. The winner will then get the Miss USA crown and a spot at the Miss Universe pageant, as well as a swanky New York apartment. The place is currently occupied by Miss USA 2012, Nana Meriweather, but she will hand over the keys to her successor at the ceremony tonight.


Welch is apparently a favorite for the crown, not just because of her distinct brand.

Miss USA, Olivia Culpo
Olivia Culpo, the current Miss USA, will relinquish her crown tonight.

Nana Meriweather, Olivia Culpo
Nana Meriwether congratulating Miss Universe 2013, Olivia Culpo.