BAR HARBOR (NEWSCENTER Maine) -- ​​​​​​Marina Gray has such an All-American look that one would think she comes from a privileged background. The opposite is true.

Marina received legal emancipation from her family at age 16.

She graduated a month after her seventeenth birthday and joined the Army National Guard a month after that.

Guard pay and waitressing jobs covered her tuition at UMaine.

Last year, she entered the Miss Maine USA competition and went to the Miss USA Pageant. That made what had been a quiet story very public.

She realized she was different at a very early age. "I noticed like, 'Your parents are making you lunch!' Something is different. It’s kind of when I realized that everybody’s life is different and mine was special," she told NEWSCENTER Maine.

She finished in the top ten at the Miss USA Pageant and the TV audience voted her into the top five.