Rachel Smith volunteered at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.

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Rachel says working at Harpo was the best preparation for Miss USA. "My critical thinking skills blossomed. I had several responsibilities here and just being surrounded by brilliant people," she says. "You have an amazing staff, and I was blessed to be part of that for eight months of my life."

Rachel also spent time volunteering at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls—South Africa. She had always dreamed of going to Africa, so her mother and her Harpo bosses joined forces to create an opportunity for Rachel as a graduation present.

Rachel says she was blown away by the students. "They're brilliant. They have such enthusiasm and passion," she says. "And they would ask me, 'Miss Rachel, you only speak one language?' And I'm like, 'Yeah, I'm going to work on that.'"