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Runner-Up to Miss USA: Make the Best of Second Chance

12/19/2006 at 12:15 PM EST

Runner-Up to Miss USA: Make the Best of Second Chance
Miss California Tamiko Nash
Robert C. Mora/WireImage
Miss USA first runner-up Tamiko Nash was thisclose to taking over Tara Conner's title – but she tells PEOPLE exclusively that she supports Donald Trump's decision to give the embattled Miss USA another chance.

"I can only put myself in Tara's position," Nash said Tuesday after Trump's announcement. "I would, of course, want a second chance, too. I hope she makes the best of this new opportunity."

Trump said he's allowing Conner to keep her crown despite allegations of drug and alcohol use – though he said Conner plans to enter rehab.

Nash, 27, is the 55th Miss California USA, and the third African American to hold the title. She was crowned on Sept. 11, 2005 in Palm Springs, Calif. at the Riviera Resort and Racquet Club. Nash, a native of Los Angeles, is currently auditioning for roles in TV and film.

"I have moved on with my duties as Miss California USA and am working on my entertainment career," she says.

Nash earned her B.S. in child and family development from San Diego State University. She currently volunteers with Family Crisis Centers, where she works with young children who are the victims of or have been exposed to domestic violence.

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