Miss USA is an American beauty pageant that has been held annually since 1952 to select the entrant from United States in the Miss Universe pageant. The Miss Universe Organization operates both pageants, as well as Miss Teen USA.
The pageant was owned by Donald Trump from 1996 to 2015 and was previously broadcast on NBC. In September 2015, WME/IMG purchased the pageant from Trump. Currently, Fox holds the broadcast rights for the pageant.
|Formation||June 27, 1952|
|Headquarters||New York City|
The Miss USA pageant was conceived in 1950 when Yolande Betbeze, winner of the Miss America pageant, refused to pose for publicity pictures while wearing a swimsuit. Pageant sponsor Catalina decided to pull their sponsorship off the pageant and create their own competition. Other owners have included a subsidiary of Gulf+Western Industries, ITT Corporation, and Donald Trump.
The first Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants were held concurrently in Long Beach, California in 1952; the first Miss USA winner was Miss New York USA Jackie Loughery. There were thirty delegates in the first year of competition, and many states did not compete every year during the first two decades of the pageant's history. From the 1970s, each state and the District of Columbia have sent a delegate each year. Alaska first competed in 1959 and Hawaii in 1960. Both had competed at Miss Universe until this time.
The pageant aired on CBS from 1963 until 2002, and for many years was known for having a CBS game show host as pageant host. John Charles Daly hosted the show from 1963–1966, Bob Barker from 1967 (he was not a regular for the CBS network until 1972 when he became host of The Price Is Right which he hosted until 2007) until 1987 (at which point he quit in a dispute over fur coats), Alan Thicke in 1988, Dick Clark from 1989 to 1993, and Bob Goen from 1994 to 1996. The show's highest ratings were in the early 1980s, when it regularly topped the Nielsen ratings. Viewership dropped sharply from the 1990s to the 2000s, from an estimated viewership of 20 million to an average of 7 million from 2000–2001. In 2002, owner Donald Trump brokered a new deal with NBC, giving them half-ownership of the Miss USA, Miss Universe and Miss Teen USA and moving them to NBC on an initial five-year contract. The pageants were first shown on NBC in 2003.
Historically, the winner of the Miss USA title represented the U.S. in its sister pageant Miss Universe. Since its inception, eight Miss USA titleholders have gone on to win Miss Universe. In the mid-1960s, the organization established a rule that when a Miss USA wins the Miss Universe title, the first runner-up assumes the Miss USA title for the remainder of the year. This occurred in 1980, 1995, 1997, and 2012. In 1967, the first runner-up Susan Bradley of California declined the title and the crown went to the second runner-up Cheryl Patton of Florida. The only instance when a first runner-up assumed the title of Miss USA prior to this period was in 1957, when Mary Leona Gage of Maryland resigned after it was discovered she was married.
The winner is assigned a one-year contract with the Miss Universe Organization, traveling across the United States, and in some cases overseas, to spread messages about the control of diseases, peace, and public awareness of AIDS. Aside from the job, the winner also receives a cash allowance for her entire reign, a New York Film Academy scholarship, a modelling portfolio, beauty products, clothes, shoes, as well as styling, healthcare, and fitness services by different sponsors of the pageant. She also gains exclusive access to events such as fashion shows and opening galas, as well as access to casting calls and modeling opportunities throughout New York City. When Donald Trump owned the pageant, the winner was given the use of a Trump Place apartment in New York City during her reign, which she shared with the Miss Universe and Miss Teen USA titleholders. If the winner, for any reason, cannot fulfill her duties as Miss USA, including if she wins the title of Miss Universe, the 1st runner-up takes over.
In late-June 2015, both NBC and Spanish-language network Univision (which was to begin a new five-year contract for Spanish rights) announced that they would cut their ties with Donald Trump and the Miss Universe Organization in response to remarks Trump made relating to undocumented immigrants during the launch of his 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Trump threatened to sue both companies over the decision; on June 30, 2015, Trump sued Univision for defamation and breach of contract. In February 2016, Donald Trump and Univision reached a settlement ending the litigation. The terms of the settlement remain confidential, but included an agreement for Trump to buy back NBCUniversal's stake in the MUO.
After losing its television partners, it was announced that Miss USA 2015 would be streamed on the pageant's website. Shortly before the pageant, Reelz Channel announced that it would broadcast Miss USA 2015.
In September 2015, IMG bought the Miss Universe Organization for an undisclosed amount. The company had previously been involved in licensing and production for the events. The following month, Fox announced that it had acquired the U.S. television rights to Miss USA and Miss Universe beginning with Miss Universe 2015.
The modern pageant consists of a preliminary competition held a week before the pageant when all contestants are judged in swimsuit, gown, and interview competitions.
Every year, each state holds a preliminary competition to choose their delegate for the Miss USA pageant. In some states (such as Texas and Florida), local pageants are also held to determine delegates for the state competition. The state winners hold the title "Miss (State) USA" for the year of their reign.
The most successful state is Texas, which has had the most semi-finalists and winners, including five consecutive Miss USA titleholders during the 1980s. Other successful states include California, New York, Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia. The least successful states are Delaware, placing only once in 2015; Montana, which has not placed since the 1950s; South Dakota, which has only placed four times (the last time in 2018), and Wyoming, which gained only its second placement in 2010. The only state which has produced more than one Miss Universe is South Carolina.
The Miss Universe Organization licenses out the state pageants to pageant directors, who in some cases are responsible for more than one state. The directorial groups are the following:
The oldest woman to win Miss USA is Miss USA 2019, Cheslie Kryst of North Carolina, at 28 years old and 4 days. Miss USA 2015, Olivia Jordan, of Oklahoma is the only Miss USA winner to compete in two major international pageants: Miss Universe and Miss World. The tallest Miss USA is Miss USA 2012, Nana Meriwether, of Maryland at 6 feet and 1 inch (185 cm).
The first Asian-American woman to win Miss USA was Macel Wilson of Hawaii in 1962; the first Hispanic woman was Laura Martinez-Herring of Texas in 1985; the first African-American, Carole Gist of Michigan in 1990; and the first Muslim Miss USA was Rima Fakih of Michigan in 2010.
Brandi Sherwood of Idaho is the only woman to have held both the Miss Teen USA and Miss USA titles. She was Miss Idaho Teen USA, Miss Teen USA 1989, Miss Idaho USA 1997, first runner-up at Miss USA 1997, and in May 1997 assumed the Miss USA title after Brook Lee of Hawaii won the Miss Universe pageant. Ten other Miss USA titleholders have also previously competed at Miss Teen USA. These include:
Five Miss USA titleholders have also competed at Miss America. These included: Miriam Stevenson, Carlene King Johnson and Carol Morris (1954–1956), Mai Shanley (1984), and Shandi Finnessey (2004). Shandi Finnessey, Miss USA 2004 and Miss Missouri 2002 won a preliminary evening gown award at Miss America 2003. Also, Miriam Stevenson placed in the top 10 at Miss America 1954 as Miss South Carolina 1953.
Many Miss USA winners have gone to pursue careers in the entertainment industry. Those who have been successful in the industry include Summer Bartholomew, Deborah Shelton, Laura Martinez-Herring, Kelli McCarty, Shanna Moakler, Frances Parker, Ali Landry, Kenya Moore, Brandi Sherwood, Kimberly Pressler, Susie Castillo, Shandi Finnessey, Rachel Smith, and Crystle Stewart.
|Year||Miss USA||State||Host city||Placement at Miss Universe|
|2019||Cheslie Kryst||North Carolina||Reno, Nevada||TBA|
|2018||Sarah Rose Summers||Nebraska||Shreveport, Louisiana||Top 20|
|2017||Kára McCullough||District of Columbia||Las Vegas, Nevada||Top 10|
|2016||Deshauna Barber||District of Columbia||Las Vegas, Nevada||Top 9|
|2015||Olivia Jordan||Oklahoma||Baton Rouge, Louisiana||2nd Runner-Up|
The awards most frequently presented at Miss USA are Miss Amity (also known as Miss Congeniality) and Miss Photogenic.
The Miss Amity Award is chosen by the delegates, and recognizes those who are the friendliest and make the pageant experience the most enjoyable. From 1952 to 1964, when the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants were concurrent events, the award could be won by a contestant competing either for Miss USA or Miss Universe. In fact, in 1960, there was a tie, with the award going to Miss Universe Burma, Myint Myint May, and Miss Louisiana USA, Rebecca Fletcher. In 2015, Alaska and Delaware tied for the Miss Congeniality award. Vermont has won five Miss Amity/Congeniality awards, two more than any other state.
The Miss Photogenic prize was first awarded in 1965 and was chosen by journalists until 1996 when it was chosen by an internet vote for the first time. There has been only one tie in this award's history: in 1980, when it was shared between Jineane Ford of Arizona and Elizabeth Kim Thomas of Ohio. The state that has won the most Photogenic awards is Virginia.
Louisiana won both the first Miss Amity and Photogenic awards given to a Miss USA contestant.
Other awards that have been presented include Best State Costume (1962–1993), Style (1995–2001) and Most Beautiful Eyes (1993). In 1998, a special Distinguished Achievement award was given to Halle Berry. Berry was Miss Ohio USA 1986 and placed 1st runner-up to Christy Fichtner of Texas. She later went on to become an acclaimed actress and Oscar winner.
In the first eight years of competition (1952–1959), the Miss USA pageant was held in Long Beach, California. The competition moved to Miami Beach, Florida in 1960 and stayed there until 1971. In 1972, the pageant was held in Puerto Rico, the only time the pageant has been held outside the continental United States. That pageant was rocked by an explosion at the host hotel.
From 1972 onwards, the pageant has been held in various locations, generally being held in each location for two to three years.
As of 2019, the pageant has been held in the following states:
Since 2003, a number of delegates have been involved in special episodes of regular programs broadcast by NBC. From 2003–2005, six delegates each year were chosen to participate in a special Miss USA edition of Fear Factor, with the victorious contestant taking the title "Miss Fear Factor USA" and a prize of $50,000 ($25,000 of which was to be donated to a charity of the winner's choice). These were broadcast immediately prior to the live pageant broadcast.
In 2010, ten Miss USA and Miss Universe winners competed for charity on a special "Last Beauty Standing" edition of Minute to Win It.
Many Miss USA and Miss Teen USA delegates have participated in reality television shows and other television game shows. Well known delegates who later competed in reality shows are Danni Boatwright, winner of Survivor: Guatemala, Christie Lee Woods of The Amazing Race 5 and The Amazing Race 31 and Nicole O'Brian also of The Amazing Race 5, Shandi Finnessey and Shanna Moakler on Dancing with the Stars, Jennifer Murphy of The Apprentice 4, Tori Fiorenza of The Challenge: Cutthroat, Hannah Brown of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and Caelynn Miller-Keyes also of The Bachelor.
Ali Germaine Landry (born July 21, 1973) is an American actress, model, and beauty pageant titleholder who won Miss USA 1996. She played Rita Lefleur on the UPN sitcom Eve and was the Doritos Girl in a 1998 Super Bowl commercial. In 1998, she was named by People magazine as one of 50 most beautiful people in the world.Alyssa Campanella
Alyssa Marie Campanella (born March 21, 1990) is an American model and beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss USA 2011. As Miss USA, she represented the United States at the Miss Universe 2011 competition and finished in the top sixteen. Campanella had previously been crowned Miss California USA 2011 and Miss New Jersey Teen USA 2007, placing as the first runner-up at the Miss Teen USA 2007 competition.
She is currently a style and travel blogger.Brook Lee
Brook Antoinette Mahealani Lee (born January 8, 1971, in Pearl City, Hawaii), known as Brook Lee, is an American actress, television host, model and beauty queen who was crowned Miss Hawaii USA 1997, Miss USA 1997, and Miss Universe 1997.Hannah Brown
Hannah Kelsey Brown (born September 24, 1994) is an American model, television personality, and former beauty pageant titleholder. She stars as the eponymous lead in season 15 of The Bachelorette. Brown had previously placed in the top seven in season 23 of The Bachelor, starring Colton Underwood. As a beauty pageant titleholder, Brown was crowned Miss Alabama USA 2018, and competed in Miss USA 2018.Kelly Hu
Kelly Ann Hu (born February 13, 1968 simplified Chinese: 胡凯丽; traditional Chinese: 胡凱麗; pinyin: Hú Kǎilì) is an American actress, voice artist, former fashion model and beauty queen who was Miss Teen USA 1985 and Miss Hawaii USA 1993. Hu starred as Dr. Rae Chang on the American television soap opera Sunset Beach and as Michelle Chan on the American television police drama series Nash Bridges. She has also starred in numerous films including The Scorpion King (2002) as Cassandra, Cradle 2 the Grave (2003) as Sona, X2 as Yuriko Oyama/Lady Deathstrike (2003), The Tournament (2009) as Lai Lai Zhen, and White Frog (2012).
Hu has had recurring roles as Pearl on the CW series The Vampire Diaries, as China White on the CW series Arrow, as Abigail Cho on the Syfy series Warehouse 13, as Stacy Hirano in the animated series Phineas and Ferb and as teenage Hamato Miwa/Karai on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Her most recent supporting role is Adira in Rapunzel's Tangled AdventureLaura Harring
Laura Elena, Countess von Bismarck-Schönhausen (née Martínez-Herring; March 3, 1964), commonly known as Laura Harring, is a Mexican-American actress. In 1985, Harring became the first Hispanic woman crowned Miss USA. She later began her acting career in television and film. She is best known for her dual roles as Rita and Camilla Rhodes in the 2001 postmodern neo-noir film Mulholland Drive. She is also known for her roles in other films, including The Forbidden Dance (1990), John Q (2002), Willard (2003), The Punisher (2004), The King (2005), and Love in the Time of Cholera (2007).Linda Thompson (actress)
Linda Diane Thompson (born May 23, 1950) is an American songwriter/lyricist, former actress and beauty pageant winner; but she is perhaps best known as a cast member of Hee Haw as one of the "Hee Haw Honeys." She was a longtime girlfriend of Elvis Presley before marrying Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner (now known as Caitlyn Jenner), and David Foster, musician, record producer, composer, songwriter and arranger.Miss Alabama USA
The Miss Alabama USA, previously known as Miss Alabama Universe, is the beauty pageant that selects the representative for the state of Alabama in the Miss USA pageant and the name of the title held by its winner.
The pageant is directed by RPM Productions, headquartered in Aiken, South Carolina. From 1993 to 2010, it was directed by the Premier Pageants group, and was the first state to be taken under this directorate. Dohn Dye and To Dye For was the Director for the 2010 and 2011 pageants, until RPM Productions took over in August 2011 headed by Paula Miles, a sister of Janice McDonald, Miss South Carolina USA 1979.
Alabama is one of the more successful and (recently) consistent states at Miss USA. Although they have had a number of runners-up, finalists, and semi-finalists, they have only had one Miss USA. Even more successfully, Sylvia Hitchcock, Miss USA 1967, went on to win the Miss Universe title. Two Miss Alabama USA titleholders have placed first runner-up to winners from California: Candace Michelle Brown was first runner-up to Shannon Marketic in 1992; Pamela Flowers was first runner-up to Summer Bartholomew in 1975. Miss Alabama USA 2018 Hannah Brown failed to place in Miss USA, although she became famous in the starring role on The Bachelorette.
Four Miss Alabama USA titleholders were former Miss Alabama Teen USAs. Of these four, three placed better in the Miss competition than they did as teens.
Hannah McMurphy of Tuscaloosa was crowned Miss Alabama USA 2019 on November 17, 2018 at Montgomery Performing Arts Center in Montgomery. She represented Alabama for the title of Miss USA 2019 on May 2, 2019 in Reno, Nevada.Miss Alaska USA
The Miss Alaska USA competition, previously known as Miss Alaska Universe, is the pageant that selects the representative for the state Alaska in the Miss USA pageant and the name of the title held by its winner.
JoEllen Walters of Eagle River was crowned Miss Alaska USA 2019 on August 5, 2018 at Wendy Williamson Auditorium on the UAA Campus in Anchorage. She represented Alaska for the title of Miss USA 2019 on May 2, 2019 in Reno, Nevada.Miss California USA
Miss California USA is a pageant that selects the representative for the state of California in the Miss USA pageant. This pageant is part of Miss Universe Organization.
The pageant has been held every year since 1952. Host locations have included Oxnard, Palm Springs, and Long Beach.Erica Dann of San Francisco was crowned Miss California USA 2019 on January 27, 2019 at Arcadia Performing Arts Center in Arcadia. She represented California for the title of Miss USA 2019 on May 2, 2019 in Reno, Nevada.Miss Hawaii USA
The Miss Hawaii USA competition, previously known as Miss Hawaii Universe, is a beauty pageant that selects the representative for the state of Hawaii in the Miss USA pageant.
Lacie Choy of Honolulu was crowned Miss Hawaii USA 2019 on November 18, 2018 at Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu. She represented Hawaii for the title of Miss USA 2019 on May 2, 2019 in Reno, Nevada where she placed in the Top 15.Miss Illinois USA
The Miss Illinois USA pageant is a competition that selects the representative for the state Illinois in the Miss USA pageant. It is directed by Vanbros and Associates and is previously directed by D&D Productions from 2001 to 2014 before becoming part of Vanbros organization in 2014, headquartered in Lenexa, Kansas.
Illinois is one of the most successful states in the competition. It is one of only four states to have won four or more Miss USA titles and one of only four states to win two Miss USA titles in consecutive years. All four winners came from the early history of the competition, with their last Miss USA being Karen Morrison, who held the title in 1974. The pageant's most successful years were from 1984 to 1996, when all but two delegates made the cut at Miss USA. That period was followed by many years without a placement, until Stacie Juris finished second runner-up in 2013, the state's highest placement since Catherine Warren, placed top 15 in 2006.
In 1986, sisters Tricia and Laura Bach won the title consecutively, the first occasion of this in the history of the Miss Universe organization. Later on, in 1994, Kathleen Farrell, sister of Miss Florida USA 1988, won the title, making the state pageant the first to have two sisters compete in Miss USA.
Alexandra Plotz of Geneva was crowned Miss Illinois USA 2019 on September 3, 2018 at Braden Auditorium in Bloomington-Normal. She represented Illinois for the title of Miss USA 2019 on May 2, 2019 in Reno, Nevada.Miss Missouri USA
The Miss Missouri USA competition is the pageant that selects the representative for the state Missouri in the Miss USA pageant. It is directed by Vanbros and Associates, based in Lenexa, Kansas. In 1993, Missouri joined the Vanbros group of state pageants for the Miss USA and Teen USA system.
Missouri has had only one Miss USA, Shandi Finnessey, who placed as 1st runner-up to Jennifer Hawkins of Australia in the Miss Universe 2004 pageant. Three Miss Missouri USAs have competed at Miss America, including Finnessey. Six former Miss Teen USA delegates have also won the title, equalling Indiana and Virginia for the most crossovers, although both Indiana and Missouri have had titleholders who competed in a different state at Miss Teen USA.
Miriah Jo Ludtke of St. Louis was crowned Miss Missouri USA 2019 on September 16, 2018 at Isle of Capri Casino Hotel in Boonville. She represented Missouri for the title of Miss USA 2019 on May 2, 2019 in Reno, Nevada.Miss Teen USA
Miss Teen USA is a beauty pageant run by the Miss Universe Organization for girls aged 14–19. Unlike its sister pageants Miss Universe and Miss USA, which are broadcast on Fox, this pageant is webcast on the Miss Teen USA website and simulcast on mobile devices and video game consoles.
The pageant was first held in 1983 and has been broadcast live on CBS until 2002 and then on NBC from 2003–2007. In March 2007, it was announced that the broadcast of the Miss Teen USA pageant on NBC had not been renewed, and that Miss Teen USA 2007 would be the final televised event.From 2008–15, the pageant was held at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort, located in Nassau, Bahamas.
Notable pageant winners include actresses Kelly Hu (1985, Hawaii), Bridgette Wilson (1990, Oregon), Charlotte Lopez-Ayanna (1993, Vermont), Vanessa Minnillo (1998, South Carolina) and Shelley Hennig (2004, Louisiana).
The current titleholder is Kaliegh Garris of Connecticut who was crowned on April 28, 2019 at Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada.Miss Texas USA
The Miss Texas USA competition is the pageant that selects the representative for the state Texas in the Miss USA pageant, and the name of the title held by that winner.
Nine Miss Texas USA titleholders have won the Miss USA title, including Chelsi Smith, has been crowned Miss Universe. In the 1980s Texas won the Miss USA title five consecutive years from 1985 to 1989, a streak known as the "Texas Aces". Prior to this no state had ever won the Miss USA pageant more than two times in succession. Past state directors have included Richard Guy and Rex Holt, "GuyRex" and Al and Gail Clark of "The Crystal Group".The pageant is currently held in Houston and has previously been hosted by El Paso, San Antonio, South Padre Island, Lubbock and Laredo. It was televised from 1971 to 2009.Contestants enter by winning local pageants or may choose to compete "at large" with an assigned title. In 2001 a record number of former Miss Texas Teen USA winners, six, competed for the Miss Texas USA 2002 title.Alayah Benavidez of San Antonio was crowned Miss Texas USA 2019 on September 2, 2018 at Hilton Post Oak Hotel in Houston. She represented Texas for the title of Miss USA 2019 on May 2, 2019 in Reno, Nevada.Miss Universe
Miss Universe is an annual international beauty pageant that is run by the American-based Miss Universe Organization. It airs in more than 190 countries worldwide and seen by more than half a billion people annually. Along with Miss World, Miss International, and Miss Earth, Miss Universe is one of the Big Four international beauty pageants.The Miss Universe Organization and its brand, along with Miss USA and Miss Teen USA, are currently owned by the WME/IMG talent agency.The current Miss Universe is Catriona Gray of the Philippines, who was crowned on 17 December 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand.Olivia Culpo
Olivia Frances Culpo (born May 8, 1992) is an American model, actress and former beauty pageant titleholder. After winning the Miss Rhode Island USA competition, the first pageant she entered, she went on to be crowned Miss USA, and then Miss Universe in 2012 becoming the first winner from the United States since Brook Lee in 1997.Rima Fakih
Rima Fakih (Arabic: ريما فقيه) (born September 22, 1985) is a Lebanese-American actress, model, professional wrestler and beauty pageant titleholder who won Miss USA 2010. She represented the state of Michigan in the national pageant, having previously won the 2010 Miss Michigan USA pageant. In 2016, Fakih converted to the Maronite Church from Shia Islam upon marriage to Lebanese-Canadian music producer Wassim Slaiby, known as Tony Sal.
In 2018, Fakih became the National Director of Miss Lebanon.Sarah Rose Summers
Sarah Rose Summers (born November 4, 1994) is an American model and beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss USA 2018. As Miss USA, she represented the United States at Miss Universe 2018, where she placed in the top twenty. Previously, Summers was crowned Miss Nebraska Teen USA 2012 and Miss Nebraska USA 2018, becoming the first woman from Nebraska to win Miss USA.
Miss USA state pageants