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Formerly homeless Navy mom wants to win Maxim Cover Girl competition — to give back to vets

A formerly homeless Navy veteran is vying to be Maxim's Cover Girl. If she wins, she said she plans to use some of the prize money to help veterans and at-risk youth. (Image source: Instagram video screenshot)

Janae Sergio, a 36-year-old mother living in Hawaii, is vying to win Maxim magazine's Cover Girl competition and take home the $25,000 prize money.

Sergio, who's also formerly homeless U.S. Navy veteran, plans to use some of the prize money to help veterans and at-risk youth.

What are the details?

Sergio is an assistant business and financial manager for the U.S. Pacific Fleet and is leading her category in Maxim's annual competition.

The Cover Girl competition helps to raise money for Homes for Wounded Warriors.

The notion resonates heavily with Sergio, as she was once a homeless and at-risk youth herself.

"I always dreamt of being a model, but my life took a drastic turn when I became homeless at age 15," Sergio's profile reads. "I have been working tirelessly to change my story and my passion is to inspire those who are currently running out of hope for their futures."

Should Sergio win the competition, she plans to donate some of her winnings to the Fisher House Foundation, which houses military and veteran families for free while their servicemember loved ones are in the hospital. She also plans to donate a portion of the prize money to Hawaii-based nonprofit organization, Hale Kipa, which assists at-risk youth in the state.

You can read more about the contest here.

Anything else?

In an interview published on Tuesday with the Military Times, the California native Sergio said that she lived out of homeless shelters during her high school years and joined the Navy at 18 while working to earn her GED.

Sergio was eventually able to utilize the GI Bill to obtain her bachelor’s degree in business management.

"I was kind of living day to day and trying to figure out where I would sleep at night,” Sergio said. “The Navy gave me that future and gave me that footing to establish myself as a successful businesswoman.”

She was deployed to Afghanistan twice before leaving the Navy in 2008.

"In real life, I’m just a normal mom who goes to work every day and comes home and cooks dinner for the family," she said in the interview.

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