Miss America

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Contestant in Miss America 2003 competition ( Andrews Air Force Base )

The Miss America election is an annual beauty pageant that has been held since 1921 to select the most beautiful woman in the United States . However, the event has shared this claim with the Miss USA election since 1952 .


Margaret Gorman , Miss America 1921

The event first took place in Atlantic City on September 7th and 8th, 1921, as a two-day beauty pageant. But it was still held under the title Atlantic City Pageant . It was only when the event changed its name to Miss America the following year that last year's winner Margaret Gorman was also retroactively dubbed Miss America . One of the aims of the event was to keep tourists in the city after Labor Day .

Identical twins Jean and Jane Cunningham traveled to Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA in August 1947 to participate in the Miss America beauty pageant. The twins both won the Miss Tennessee competition together. It was decided that they could compete as Ms. Chattanooga (Jane) and Ms. Tennessee (Jean) in the Miss America contest. As of January 2015, they are the only twin candidates to have both entered this competition.

In the first decades of the event, the highlight was the appearance of the participants in bathing suits. As the winner of 1951, Yolande Betbeze , refused to so easily beschürzt to pose for photos, the swimwear manufacturer Catalina different from the group of sponsors and called two separate competitions to life, in addition to choosing the Miss USA namely also to Miss Universe in which the most beautiful woman in the world was to be determined.

The Miss America election has been televised nationwide since 1954 . The competition reached its peak of popularity in the 1960s, when it was one of the shows with the highest ratings of all every year. Bert Parks became famous, who ran the show from 1954 to 1979 and sang the song "There She Is" every time the newly crowned Miss America floated down the show stairs.

For a long time, a decidedly conservative role model prevailed: the goal of the title contenders should primarily be to find a husband and to be a devoted wife to him. Black women were also excluded from the competition until the 1970s, which led to the establishment of the Miss Black America competition in 1968 . During this time, the beauty pageants came under criticism from the growing feminism ; the Miss America contest responded to a vow to place more emphasis on the personality and intellect of women. In 1974 the election of Rebecca Ann King caused waves in the press - she had previously spoken out in favor of the right to abortion. The audience ratings sank steadily. In 1979, Parks was fired to rejuvenate the show, but that recipe didn't help much either.

Another scandal occurred in 1984: Vanessa Lynn Williams was the first African American woman to be voted the most beautiful woman in the country, but later had to cede her title to Suzette Charles when the adult magazine Penthouse published a photo series with nude pictures of her that were taken before the election was.

After the number of television viewers fell below the ten million mark for the first time in 2005, the broadcasting television broadcaster ABC decided to take the election off the program. The organizers then reached an agreement with Country Music Television , which is now broadcasting the event. The traditional date in September was given up; the next election was scheduled for January 26, 2006. It was also no longer held in the traditional Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, but in Las Vegas . In 2013, the competition was held twice, in January and then again in September, reducing the 2013 term of office of Miss America, Mallory Hagan, to 8 months. At the competition on September 15, 2013, Nina Davuluri was chosen as the first Indian-born candidate for Miss America 2014, which immediately afterwards to z. T. led to racist comments.

Organization, procedure and prices

Many regional competitions are subordinate to the Miss America competition in which the participants are determined. There are competitions for cities (such as Miss Birmingham, Alabama ). The winners then enter the competition in which the most beautiful in the respective state (e.g. Miss Alabama ) is chosen. The fifty winners of the states as well as Miss Washington, DC and, since 2004, the Miss Virgin Islands are qualified for the Miss America election.

The choice always includes the same four individual disciplines at regional, state, and national levels:

  1. In the interview , the ladies have to prove themselves in the art of entertainment and answer questions from the "judges" as eloquently and charmingly as possible, thus showing their self-confidence with all due modesty. This part of the election rarely takes place in front of an audience and is rarely televised.
  2. In the talent competition, the competitors can put their skills to the test in a discipline of their choice. Usually this is singing, dancing or making music, but other skills such as juggling may also be demonstrated.
  3. In the swimsuit competition, you show off the good figure you cut in a swimsuit. The posture and the well-formedness of the body curves are decisive for a good grade. Until a few years ago, all women had to wear the same suit for reasons of fairness, now they can choose it themselves. Since the wearing of bikinis was approved, most of the participants opt for this two-piece variant. There are strict guidelines for the rigor of swimwear.
  4. In the costume competition, the ladies present themselves in an evening gown of their choice and have to walk as elegantly as possible on a catwalk.

In 2003, a casual wear competition was also introduced at the national level. This is about the most advantageous presentation of casual clothing. This addition is also enjoying increasing popularity at the regional level. Since 1989, the competitors have also had to confirm their support for a charitable cause, such as caring for the homeless or preventing diabetes.

The winners will receive scholarships to help put their careers on the right track. There are also advertising contracts, appearances as a photo model and in an "official" function, for example when opening supermarket branches.

List of winners

year Miss America origin
1921 Margaret Gorman Margaret Gorman Washington , District of ColumbiaUSA-District of ColumbiaDistrict of Columbia 
1922 Mary Katherine Campbell Mary Katherine Campbell Columbus , OhioUSA OhioOhio 
1924 Ruth Malcomson Ruth Malcomson Philadelphia , PennsylvaniaUSA PennsylvaniaPennsylvania 
1925 Fay Lanphier Oakland , CaliforniaUSA CaliforniaCalifornia 
1926 Norma Smallwood Tulsa , OklahomaUSA OklahomaOklahoma 
1927 Lois Delaner Joliet , IllinoisUSA IllinoisIllinois 
1933 Marian Bergeron West Haven , ConnecticutUSA ConnecticutConnecticut 
1935 Henrietta Leaver Pittsburgh , PennsylvaniaUSA PennsylvaniaPennsylvania 
1936 Rose Coyle Philadelphia , PennsylvaniaUSA PennsylvaniaPennsylvania 
1937 Bette Cooper Bertrand Island , New JerseyUSA New JerseyNew Jersey 
1938 Marilyn Meseke Lima , OhioUSA OhioOhio 
1939 Patricia Donnelly Detroit , MichiganUSA MichiganMichigan 
1940 Frances Marie Burke Philadelphia , PennsylvaniaUSA PennsylvaniaPennsylvania 
1941 Rosemary LaPlanche Los Angeles , CaliforniaUSA CaliforniaCalifornia 
1942 Jo-Carroll Dennison Tyler , TexasUSA TexasTexas 
1943 Jean Bartel Los Angeles , CaliforniaUSA CaliforniaCalifornia 
1944 Venus Ramey Washington , District of ColumbiaUSA-District of ColumbiaDistrict of Columbia 
1945 Bess Myerson New York , New YorkUSA New Yorknew York 
1946 Marilyn Buferd Los Angeles , CaliforniaUSA CaliforniaCalifornia 
1947 Barbara Walker Memphis , TennesseeUSA TennesseeTennessee 
1948 BeBe Shopp Hopkins , MinnesotaUSA MinnesotaMinnesota 
1949 Jacque Mercer Litchfield , ArizonaUSA ArizonaArizona 
1951 Yolande Betbeze Yolande Betbeze Mobile , AlabamaUSA AlabamaAlabama 
1952 Coleen Kay Hutchins Salt Lake City , UtahUSA UtahUtah 
1953 Neva Jane Langley Macon , GeorgiaUSA GeorgiaGeorgia 
1954 Evelyn Margaret Ay Ephrata , PennsylvaniaUSA PennsylvaniaPennsylvania 
1955 Lee Meriwether San Francisco , CaliforniaUSA CaliforniaCalifornia 
1956 Sharon Ritchie Denver , ColoradoUSA ColoradoColorado 
1957 Marian McKnight Manning , South CarolinaUSA South CarolinaSouth carolina 
1958 Marilyn Van Derbur Denver , ColoradoUSA ColoradoColorado 
1959 Mary Ann Mobley Brandon , MississippiUSA MississippiMississippi 
1960 Lynda Lee Mead Lynda Lee Mead Natchez , MississippiUSA MississippiMississippi 
1961 Nancy Fleming Montague , MichiganUSA MichiganMichigan 
1962 Maria Fletcher Asheville , North CarolinaUSA North CarolinaNorth Carolina 
1963 Jacquelyn Mayer Sandusky , OhioUSA OhioOhio 
1964 Donna Axum El Dorado , ArkansasUSA ArkansasArkansas 
1965 Vonda Kay Van Dyke Phoenix , ArizonaUSA ArizonaArizona 
1966 Deborah Irene Bryant Overland Park , KansasUSA KansasKansas 
1967 Jane Anne Jayroe Laverne , OklahomaUSA OklahomaOklahoma 
1968 Debra Dene Barnes Moran , KansasUSA KansasKansas 
1969 Judith Anne Ford Belvidere , IllinoisUSA IllinoisIllinois 
1970 Pamela Anne Eldred Birmingham , MichiganUSA MichiganMichigan 
1971 Phyllis George Denton , TexasUSA TexasTexas 
1972 Laurie Lea Schaefer Columbus , OhioUSA OhioOhio 
1973 Terry Anne Meeuwsen De Pere , WisconsinUSA WisconsinWisconsin 
1974 Rebecca Ann King Denver , ColoradoUSA ColoradoColorado 
1975 Shirley Cothran Fort Worth , TexasUSA TexasTexas 
1976 Tawny Elaine Godin Yonkers , New YorkUSA New Yorknew York 
1977 Dorothy Kathleen Benham Dorothy Kathleen Benham Edina , MinnesotaUSA MinnesotaMinnesota 
1978 Susan Perkins Columbus , OhioUSA OhioOhio 
1979 Kylene Barker Galax , VirginiaUSA VirginiaVirginia 
1980 Cheryl Prewitt Ackerman , MississippiUSA MississippiMississippi 
1981 Susan Powell Elk City , OklahomaUSA OklahomaOklahoma 
1982 Elizabeth Ward Russellville , ArkansasUSA ArkansasArkansas 
1983 Debra Maffett Anaheim , CaliforniaUSA CaliforniaCalifornia 
1984 Vanessa Lynn Williams Millwood , New York (later revoked) USA New Yorknew York 
1984 Suzette Charles Mays Landing , New JerseyUSA New JerseyNew Jersey 
1985 Sharlene Wells Hawkes Salt Lake City , UtahUSA UtahUtah 
1986 Susan Akin Meridian , MississippiUSA MississippiMississippi 
1987 Kellye Cash Memphis , TennesseeUSA TennesseeTennessee 
1988 Kaye Lani Rae Rafko Monroe , MichiganUSA MichiganMichigan 
1989 Gretchen Carlson Anoka , MinnesotaUSA MinnesotaMinnesota 
1990 Debbye Turner Debbye Turner Mexico , MissouriUSA MissouriMissouri 
1991 Marjorie Vincent Oak Park , IllinoisUSA IllinoisIllinois 
1992 Carolyn Suzanne Sapp Honolulu , HawaiiUSA HawaiiHawaii 
1993 Leanza Cornett Jacksonville , FloridaUSA FloridaFlorida 
1994 Kimberly Clarice Aiken Columbia , South CarolinaUSA South CarolinaSouth carolina 
1995 Heather Whitestone Birmingham , AlabamaUSA AlabamaAlabama 
1996 Shawntel Smith Muldrow , OklahomaUSA OklahomaOklahoma 
1997 Tara Dawn Holland Overland Park , KansasUSA KansasKansas 
1998 Katherine Shindle Evanston , IllinoisUSA IllinoisIllinois 
1999 Nicole Johnson Baker Roanoke , VirginiaUSA VirginiaVirginia 
2000 Heather French Heather French Maysville , KentuckyUSA KentuckyKentucky 
2001 Angela Perez Baraquio Honolulu , HawaiiUSA HawaiiHawaii 
2002 Katie Harman Katie Harman Gresham , OregonUSA OregonOregon 
2003 Erika Harold Erika Harold Urbana , IllinoisUSA IllinoisIllinois 
2004 Ericka Dunlap Ericka Dunlap Orlando , FloridaUSA FloridaFlorida 
2005 Deidre Downs Deidre Downs Birmingham , AlabamaUSA AlabamaAlabama 
2006 Jennifer Berry Jennifer Berry Tulsa , OklahomaUSA OklahomaOklahoma 
2007 Lauren Nelson Lauren Nelson Lawton , OklahomaUSA OklahomaOklahoma 
2008 Kirsten Haglund Kirsten Haglund Farmington Hills , MichiganUSA MichiganMichigan 
2009 Katie Stam Katie Stam Indianapolis , IndianaUSA IndianaIndiana 
2010 Caressa Cameron Caressa Cameron Fredericksburg , VirginiaUSA VirginiaVirginia 
2011 Teresa Scanlan Teresa Scanlan Low , NebraskaUSA NebraskaNebraska 
2012 Laura Kaeppeler Kenosha , WisconsinUSA WisconsinWisconsin 
2013 Mallory Hagan USA New Yorknew York new York
2014 Nina Davuluri Nina Davuluri USA New Yorknew York new York
2015 Kira Kazantsev USA New Yorknew York new York
2016 Betty Cantrell Warner Robins , GeorgiaUSA GeorgiaGeorgia 
2017 Savvy Shields Fayetteville , ArkansasUSA ArkansasArkansas 
2018 Cara mouth Bismarck , North DakotaUSA North DakotaNorth Dakota 

Social commitment of the candidates

Allyn Rose, Miss Candidate of the Year 2013, caused controversy in the run-up to the competition , as she announced that she would undergo a bilateral breast removal operation ( mastectomy ) after the Miss election . Rose, previously Miss Maryland 2011 and Miss DC 2012, said she was hereditary and lost her mother, grandmother and aunt to breast cancer . The winner of the 2013 contest , Mallory Hytes Hagan (Miss New York 2012), spoke out against weapons after the massacre in the US state of Connecticut , in which 20 children and six adults were killed at an elementary school. "Violence should not be fought with violence," answered the 23-year-old Hagan when the jury asked about the benefits of armed security in schools.

List of winning states and frequency

  • California, Oklahoma and Ohio with 6 wins each.
  • Pennsylvania, Illinois and Michigan with 5 wins each.
  • Mississippi and New York with 4 wins.
  • Texas, Minnesota, Alabama, Colorado and Kansas with 3 wins each.
  • Florida, Hawaii, Virginia, Arkansas, South Carolina, Utah, Arizona, Tennessee, New Jersey and Washington DC with 2 wins each.
  • Connecticut, Georgia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kentucky, Oregon, Indiana and Nebraska with 1 win each.

The remaining 18 states of the USA have not yet won a victory.


Web links

Commons : Miss America  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ First identical twin contestants in the Miss America Pageant. Retrieved September 7, 2021 (German).
  2. merkur-online: New Miss America Racially Offended , accessed on September 16, 2013
  3. Miss America contestant is afraid for her breasts. on Welt.de.
  4. Miss America Beauty Queen fights for stricter gun laws on Spiegel.de, January 13, 2013.