Candace Kanavel will be remembered for her performance in Miss USA 2023 regardless of the outcome. The 27-year-old is the first law enforcement officer to compete in the yearly beauty pageant, which has been around since the 1950s. As the latest winner of Miss Arizona, Candace has a great shot at taking home the title of Miss USA 2023 on September 29. And even if she loses, she’s still making history for a remarkable reason.
Here is everything you need to know Candace Kanavel
Candace is a police officer.
Candace works as a SWAT hostage negotiator for the Tempe Police Department, according to a news release from the department itself. She is also trained in crisis intervention. Candace has worked at the Tempe Police Department since early 2019, according to her LinkedIn. She was a records specialist at the department before rising in the ranks to a full-time officer.
Candace won Miss Arizona.
Candace was crowned Miss Arizona 2023 in May. After her big victory, she shared a celebratory video of herself wearing her crown and sash, with the caption, “When you wake up as Miss Arizona USA and realize it wasn’t all just a dream.”
Candace is Japanese American.
Candace talked up being third-generation Japanese American in an interview in August 2023. “I am so fortunate to have grown up learning about my heritage and embracing traditions passed on throughout my family,” she said.
Candace grew up in San Jose, California. She was raised by her mother and father as the youngest of four siblings, who she said she has a “great relationship” with.
Candace wants to “empower” other people.
Candace wants the same thing from her two careers: to show others, specifically women, that anything is possible.
“When I’m in my police uniform, I’m empowered to help people. And when I’m in my sash and crown, I’m empowered to help people,” she told a local Arizona news station ahead of Miss USA 2023. “And so I’m doing the same job,” she added, “just in a different uniform.”
Candace’s next goal is to meet Sandra Bullock.
Candace revealed on Instagram that it’s her “dream” to meet Sandra Bullock, who infamously starred in the beauty pageant comedy Miss Congeniality.
“I need your help!!!!” Candace wrote in a message to her Instagram followers. “I have decided that I need to meet the woman who played me in a past life — Miss Congeniality herself, Sandra Bullock!!” She then asked her fans to tag news outlets that can “spread the word” about her wanting to meet the Oscar winner.