World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Miss America

Miss America
Type Scholarship pageant
Founded 1921
Headquarters Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Key people Sam Haskell (CEO)
Website .orgmissamerica

The Miss America Pageant is a competition which awards scholarships for college and graduate school to American women between the ages of 17 to 24.[1] Miss America travels about 20,000 miles a month, changing her location every 24 to 48 hours. She tours the nation promoting her particular platform of interest.[2]

The current title-holder, Miss America 2015, is Kira Kazantsev of New York. She was crowned on September 14, 2014, at the 88th pageant by her predecessor, Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014, making her the third consecutive Miss America winner from New York.


  • Overview 1
  • The Early Years 2
  • Mid-Century Changes 3
  • Miss America 2014 - Present 4
  • Criticism 5
  • Competing 6
    • Eligibility 6.1
    • Judging 6.2
  • Hosts 7
    • Present 7.1
    • Past 7.2
  • Recent winners 8
  • Further reading 9
    • Video clips 9.1
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Woman with crown, holding a large flag
Margaret Gorman was the first Miss America Pageant winner in 1921.

The origins of the Miss America Pageant lie in a 1920 event entitled The Fall Frolic. Held on September 25 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the event was designed to bring business to the Boardwalk: "three hundred and fifty gaily decorated rolling wicker chairs were pushed along the parade route. Three hundred and fifty men pushed the chairs. However, the main attractions were the young 'maidens' who sat in the rolling chairs, headed by a Miss Ernestine Cremona, who was dressed in a flowing white robe and represented "Peace." [3]

The event was so successful that The Businessmen's League planned to repeat it the following year as a beauty pageant or a "bather's revue" [3] (to capitalize on the popularlity of newspaper-based beauty contests that used photo submissions).[3] Thus, "newspapers as far west as Pittsburgh and as far south as Washington, D.C., were asked to sponsor local beauty contests. The winners would participate in the Atlantic City contest. If the local newspaper would pay for the winner's wardrobe, the Atlantic City Businessmen's League would pay for the contestant's travel to compete in the Inter-City Beauty Contest."[3] Herb Test, a "newspaperman" coined the term for the winner as, "Miss America."[3] On September 8, 1921, 100,000 people gathered at the Boardwalk to watch the contestants from Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Ocean City, Camden, Newark, New York, and Philadelphia.[3] The 16 year-old winner from Washington D.C., Margaret Gorman was crowned the "Golden Mermaid" and won $100.[3]

The pageant continued consistently over the next eight decades except for the years 1929-1933, when it was temporarily shut down due to financial problems and suggestions that it promoted "loose morals."[4] With its revival in 1933, 15 year-old Marian Bergeron won, prompting future contestants to be between the ages of 18 to 26.[4] In 1935, Lenora Slaughter was hired to "re-invent" the pageant and served for 32 years as its Director.[4] By 1938, a talent section was added to the competition, and contestants were required to have a chaperone.[4] In 1940, the title officially became "The Miss America Pageant" and the pageant was held in Atlantic City's Convention Hall.[4] In 1944, compensation for "Miss America" switched from "furs and movie contracts" to college scholarships.[4]

During the 1930s, under the directorship of Lenora Slaughter, the pageant became segregated as rule number seven stated: "contestants must be of good health and of the white race."[5] Rule seven was abolished in 1950.[6] While there were Native American, Latina, and Asian-American contestants, there were no African-American contestants until 1970 when Cheryl Brown, Miss Iowa, competed (although African-Americans appeared in musical numbers as far back as 1923, when they were cast as slaves).[5][7][8]

Nina Davuluri, (Miss America 2014), is the first Indian-American to win the pageant . She is the second Miss Syracuse to win after Miss New York 1983, Vanessa Lynn Williams. Miss Williams became the first African-American winner as Miss America 1984.[9][10][11] Both Davaluri and Williams won when the pageant was held in Atlantic City and both faced a backlash over their respective wins.[10][11] In addition, Congresswoman Grace Meng compared Davuluri to the first Miss New York to win the crown, Jewish-American winner Bess Myerson, (Miss America 1945).[11][12] Myerson also faced a backlash as a result of her win.[11][13]

The Early Years

The year after Margaret Gorman's win in 1921, Mary Katherine Campbell (Miss Ohio) won the Miss America contest in both 1922 and 1923.[14] She returned to compete again in 1924 but placed as 1RU that year. Beginning in 1940, Bob Russell served as the first official host of the Pageant.[15] In 1941, Mifauny Shunatona, Miss Oklahoma, became the first Native American contestant.[16][17] A few years later, Miss New York Bess Myerson (Miss America 1945), became the first Jewish-American and the first Miss New York to win the Miss America Pageant.[5][16][18][19] In 1948, Irma Nydia Vasquez, the first Miss Puerto Rico, became the first Latina contestant.[16][20][21] In addition, in 1948 Yun Tau Chee, the first Miss Hawaii, was also the first Asian-American contestant.[16]Miss America 1949 Jacque Mercer was married and divorced during her reign; after this, a rule was enacted requiring Miss America contestants to sign a certification that they have never been married or pregnant.[22]

Starting in 1950, although the pageant continued to be in September, the Miss America title changed to "post-dated", thus that year's pageant winner became Miss American 1951, and there was no Miss America 1950.

The pageant was first televised nationally in 1954, hosted by Bob Russell.[15] Future television star, Lee Meriwether, was crowned Miss America 1955. It would also be the last time Russell served as host. He recommended, and was replaced by, Bert Parks, who served as the host for the second televised pageant in 1955 and stayed as host until 1979.[15][23] Television viewership peaked during the early 1960s, when it was the highest-rated program on American television.[24]

Mid-Century Changes

With the rise of Miss America protest, No More Miss America!, became a source for feminist scholarship.[27]

In 1970, Cheryl Brown, Miss Iowa, was the first [38]

During the period of 2004-2013, the Miss America Pageant changed locations, time periods, and networks. Miss America 2005 was held in Atlantic City on September 18, 2004 and was broadcast live on ABC. ABC dropped the pageant after this broadcast, however, as it "drew a record-low 9.8 million viewers."[39] In addition, the winner for the Miss America 2005 pageant, Deidre Downs, held the position four months longer than usual as the Miss America 2006 pageant was moved from September, 2005 to January 21, 2006. Miss America 2006 also marked a move to the Las Vegas Strip's Theatre for the Performing Arts at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.[40][41] It was broadcast live on MTV Networks' Country Music Television. A few years later in 2009, Discovery Networks picked up the pageant on TLC (with Countdown to the Crown airing on Friday nights before the pageant).[42] ABC resumed broadcasting the pageant for Miss America 2011,[43] when Claire Buffie became the first Miss America contestant to advocate a gay-rights platform [44][45] and when Kayla Martell advanced to the semifinal round as the first bald contestant.[46][47]Alexis Wineman, Miss Montana, became the first autistic contestant in the Miss America 2013 pageant.[48][49]

Miss America 2014 - Present

The Miss America 2014 competition returned the pageant to its traditional location (Boardwalk Hall, previously known as Convention Hall, in Atlantic City, New Jersey) and month (September, rather than January) for the first time in nine years. Thus, Miss America 2013 (Miss New York 2012) Mallory Hagan's reign was cut short by four months (as she was crowned on January 12, 2013).[50][51]

Miss New York 2013, Nina Davuluri, was the first Indian-American and second Asian-American to be chosen as Miss America.[52][53] Shortly after Davaluri was crowned Miss America 2014, xenophobic and racist comments[54][55][56] relating the proximity of the event date to the 9/11 anniversary and to anti-Indian sentiment appeared in American social media.[54][55][57][58][59] News agencies cited tweets that misidentified her as Muslim or Arab, associated her with groups such as Al-Qaeda, and questioned why she was chosen over Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail.[54][55][57][60][61] Davuluri said that she was prepared for the social media response because "as Miss New York, I was called a terrorist and very similar remarks."[62][63] Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, denounced this response in a September 19 post on her blog (Miss Outdoor Girl)[64] and later referred to these comments as "disgusting," saying that they were made out of "ignorance.”[65][66] In addition to Davaluri becoming the first Indian-American Miss America in the Miss America Pageant 2014, Vail was the first contestant to display tattoos in the swimsuit competition.[67][68] Also Nicole Kelly, Miss Iowa 2013, became the first contestant born without part of one arm (her left forearm).[69] Miss Florida, Myrrhanda Jones, won the preliminary talent competition for her baton twirling routine in the week prior to the Miss America 2014 Pageant, despite suffering a torn ACL and MCL in rehearsal just a few hours prior to her scheduled performance. During the Miss America 2014 Pageant, she performed with a decorated leg brace.[70][71][72][73][74]

The following year, [76]


The Miss America pageant has received criticism over the years from feminist activists and public figures. On September 7, 1968 it was the target of a protest by members of

  • Official Website

External links

  1. ^ a b Become a Contestant
  2. ^ Watson, Ellwood; Martin (2000). "The Miss America Pageant: Pluralism, Femininity, and". Journal of Popular Culture 1 (34): 105–126. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "People & Events: The First Miss America Beauty Pageant, 1921".  
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Miss America Timeline: 1901-1950".  
  5. ^ a b c d "Miss America, People & Events: Breaking the Color Line at the Pageant".  
  6. ^ Daniel, G. Reginald (2006). Race and Multiraciality in Brazil and the United States: Converging Paths?. Pennsylvania State University.  
  7. ^ Shirley Jennifer Lim (2007). A Feeling of Belonging: Asian-American Women's Popular Culture, 1930–1960. NYU Press. pp. 126–127.  
  8. ^  
  9. ^ a b "Vanessa Williams Reflects on Becoming the First Black Miss America".  
  10. ^ a b Stern, Marlow (September 21, 2013). "Vanessa Williams, the First Black Miss America, On Nina Davuluri and Racism".  
  11. ^ a b c d "Vanessa on Valentine’s Day:The most successful Miss America in the entertainment world, Vanessa Williams brings her love of the stage to Caesars on Feb. 14.". Atlantic City Weekly. 2014-02-12. 
  12. ^ Jha, Lalit K (September 17, 2013). "Nina Davuluri's win similar to Bess Myerson's: US lawmaker".  
  13. ^ "ADL Deeply Troubled by Hateful Messages Labeling Newly Crowned Miss America ‘A Foreigner’". ADL Press Release. September 16, 2013. 
  14. ^ Mary Katherine Campbell
  15. ^ a b c d Bob Russell, Entertainer, Is Dead at 90
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h "American Experience | Miss America | People & Events". Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  17. ^ Woo, Elaine (September 4, 1987). "Yun Tau Chee, 73; Miss Hawaii of 1948, First Asian in Miss America Pageant - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Is Miss America for Nice Jewish Girls? – The Sisterhood –". Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Miss America firsts: Nina Davuluri, Vanessa Williams and more". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  20. ^ Cheryl Browne was the first African-American contestant as Miss Iowa in 1970
  21. ^ "Miss America Pageant News". January 30, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  22. ^ Pageant tightens grip on its ideals
  23. ^ a b People & Events: Bert Parks (1914-1992)
  24. ^ Bill Gorman (January 30, 2010). "Miss America Crowned; What Ever Happened to Beauty Pageants?". TV by the numbers. Retrieved December 15, 2011. 
  25. ^ Dow, Bonnie J. (Spring 2003). "Feminism, Miss America, and Media Mythology". Rhetoric & Public Affairs 6 (1): 127–149.  
  26. ^ Duffett, Judith (October 1968). WLM vs. Miss America. Voice of the Women's Liberation Movement. 
  27. ^ Carole R. McCann and Seung-Kyung Kim (July 22, 2009). "Feminist theory reader: Local and Global Perspectives". New York: Routledge. pp. 90–91.  
  28. ^ a b "Miss America firsts: Nina Davuluri, Vanessa Williams and more". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  29. ^ "How Vanessa Williams Endured Her Miss America Scandal".  
  30. ^ Chira, Susan. She has also lived in Brookville, Long Island
    "TO FIRST BLACK MISS AMERICA, VICTORY IS A MEANS TO AN END", The New York Times, September 19, 1983. Accessed December 4, 2007. "Her home is in Mays Landing, 15 miles west of Atlantic City, the site of the contest."
  31. ^ "Miss America : 1985". Miss America. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  32. ^ "First Deaf Miss America - New York Times". September 19, 1994. Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Miss America firsts: Nina Davuluri, Vanessa Williams and more". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  34. ^ "A Crown, Scepter & Insulin Pump The New Miss America, Nicole Johnson, Has Drawn Attention To The Device, Which Frees Diabetics From The Strict Scheduling Of Conventional Insulin Regimens. -". October 5, 1998. Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  35. ^ Kaplan-Mayer, Gabrielle (2003). Insulin Pump Therapy Demystified: An Essential Guide for Everyone Pumping. Marlowe & Co.  
  36. ^ Brodeur, Nicole (September 19, 1999). "Here She Is, Miss America: Pageant Faces Reality And Recoils". The Seattle Times. 
  37. ^ Miss America Finds A Ceo Down By The Boardwalk After 1999's Furor Over Rules Changes, The Former Claridge Official Says He Will Rebuild Bridges To State Pageants
  38. ^ Miss America 2001
  39. ^ "No More Miss America Pageantry for ABC". Washington Post. October 21, 2004. 
  40. ^ Kimberly Nordyke (March 30, 2007). "CMT Drops Miss America Pageant". Reuters. Retrieved December 15, 2011. 
  41. ^ Peterson, Iver (April 9, 2005). Fear Factor' Era Poses a Challenge For Miss America"'". The New York Times ( Retrieved December 15, 2011. (registration required (help)). 
  42. ^ Richard Huff (August 13, 2007). "TLC's the latest to pick Miss America".  
  43. ^ Robin Leach (January 17, 2011). "2011 Miss America Pageant: Ratings increase 47% for ABC telecast". Las Vegas Sun ( Retrieved December 15, 2011. 
  44. ^ "Miss Kansas Bares Tattoos and 6 Other Memorable Miss America Moments |". September 14, 2013. Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  45. ^ Leach, Robin (January 14, 2011). "2011 Miss America photos: Four contestants stand out among field - Las Vegas Sun News". Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  46. ^ "Miss Delaware, Bald and Bold". CBS News. June 28, 2010. Retrieved June 30, 2010. 
  47. ^ "Miss America firsts: Nina Davuluri, Vanessa Williams and more". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  48. ^ "Miss America firsts: Nina Davuluri, Vanessa Williams and more". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 22, 2013. 
  49. ^ "Alexis Wineman, Miss Montana, First Miss America Contestant Diagnosed With Autism". ABC News. Retrieved January 12, 2013. 
  50. ^ Miss America Mallory Hagan in D.C.: Making most of short tenure
  51. ^ "Miss America to air from Atlantic City on Sept. 15". 2013-03-20. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  52. ^ Cavaliere, Victoria (September 16, 2013). "Miss New York is first Indian-American to win Miss America".  
  53. ^ Mascarenhas, Roland (October 4, 2013). "Opinion: Why Nina Davuluri matters".  
  54. ^ a b c Hafiz, Yasmine (September 16, 2013). "Nina Davuluri's Miss America 2014 Win Prompts Twitter Backlash Against Indians, Muslims".  
  55. ^ a b c Abad-Santos, Alex (September 16, 2013). "The First Indian-American Miss America Has Racists Very, Very Confused".  
  56. ^ Wischhover, Cheryl (September 26, 2013). "Is Bollywood the New Zumba?".  
  57. ^ a b Broderick, Ryan (September 16, 2013). "A Lot Of People Are Very Upset That An Indian-American Woman Won The Miss America Pageant".  
  58. ^ Judkis, Maura (September 22, 2013). "Miss America fights post-pageant racism with a beauty queen’s poise".  
  59. ^ Greenhouse, Emily (September 20, 2013). "COMBATTING TWITTER HATE WITH TWITTER HATE".  
  60. ^ Editorial (September 19, 2013). "Pigment of our imagination".  
  61. ^ Stuart, Tessa (September 16, 2013). "Fox Host Todd Starnes Outraged That Indian-American Nina Davuluri Won Miss America".  
  62. ^ Khemlani, Anjalee (November 16, 2013). "Miss America promotes cultural dialogue amid racist stereotypes".  
  63. ^ Keeler in the Morning (October 2, 2013). "[AUDIO] Miss America on Keeler in the Morning".  
  64. ^ Vail, Theresa (September 19, 2013). "Miss America". Theresa Vail's Blog: Miss Outdoor Girl. 
  65. ^ Gould, Joe (September 30, 2013). "Miss Kansas: 'Raise hell' about sexual harassment".  
  66. ^ Brady, Dani (September 29, 2013). "The story behind the crown: an interview with Miss Kansas 2013".  
  67. ^ Tattooed Kan. Guard sergeant is Miss America contestant
  68. ^ Miss Kansas Bares Her Tattoos
  69. ^ Miss America contestant born without forearm: 'I'm just like you'
  70. ^ "Miss Florida, Despite Knee Injury, Wins Miss America Talent Competition".  
  71. ^ "Miss Florida Myrrhanda Jones’ Bedazzled Knee Brace Gets Twitter Attention At Miss America 2014".  
  72. ^ "Miss America 2014: Baton twirling Miss Florida wins talent with knee injury".  
  73. ^ "Fans show support for Miss Florida Myrrhanda Jones".  
  74. ^ "UF senior competes for Miss America crown Sunday night despite painful injury".  
  75. ^
  76. ^ Friedman, Molly (September 15, 2014). "The secrets behind New York's stunning three Miss America wins in a row". New York Daily News. 
  77. ^
  78. ^
  79. ^
  80. ^
  81. ^ a b c d "Dethroned Miss Delaware Amanda Longacre Files $3 Million Lawsuit". ABC News. 2014-07-17. 
  82. ^ a b c d Brown, Robin (2014-07-17). "Ousted beauty queen sues Miss Del. pageant".  
  83. ^ a b c d Burns, Francis (2014-07-17). "Miss Delaware ousted for being too old sues pageant".  
  84. ^ a b National Judging Process
  85. ^ a b Bobbin, Jay (2011-01-06). "There she is again: Brooke Burke, Chris Harrison welcome Miss America back to ABC". Zap2it. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  86. ^ a b "Chris Harrison, Lara Spencer to Host Miss America 2014". ABC News. May 20, 2013. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  87. ^ a b Kuperinsky, Amy (August 14, 2014). "Miss America 2015: Judges include N.J.'s Gary Vaynerchuk". The Star-Ledger. 
  88. ^ Lopez to host Miss America pageant again
  89. ^ Mario Lopez to Host Miss America 2010
  90. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Miss America: FAQ
  91. ^ Witchel, Alex (August 28, 2014). "Taking the Crown, Then Taking Orders: Former Miss America Kate Shindle Revisits Favorite Haunts".  
  92. ^ Elisa, Lala (August 18, 2014). "Miss America winner writes book documenting experiences". Press of Atlantic City. 


See also

  • Miss America 2014: Groundbreaking Miss America Winner Miss New York Takes Home Pageant Crown - ABC News, September 16, 2013
  • John Oliver Segment: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Miss America Pageant (HBO) - HBO, September 21, 2014

Video clips

Further reading

Year Miss America State Represented
Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev  New York
Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri  New York
Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan  New York
Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler  Wisconsin
Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan  Nebraska
Miss America 2010 Caressa Cameron  Virginia
Miss America 2009 Katie Stam  Indiana
Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund  Michigan
Miss America 2007 Lauren Nelson  Oklahoma
Miss America 2006 Jennifer Berry  Oklahoma
Miss America 2005 Deidre Downs  Alabama

Recent winners




  • "Composite Score - 30% (Top 16)
  • Lifestyle and Fitness in Swimsuit - 20% (Top 16)
  • Evening Wear - 20% (Top 10)
  • Talent - 30% (Top 8)
  • On-Stage Question (Top 8)
  • Final Ballot – Each judge ranks the Top 5 contestants in the order he/she believes they should each finish. The outcome of the pageant is based solely on the point totals resulting from the final ballot."[84]

Final competition

  • "Lifestyle and Fitness in Swimsuit - 15%
  • Evening Wear - 20%
  • Talent - 35%
  • Private Interview - 25%
  • On-Stage Question – 5%".[84]

Preliminary competition

According to the official Miss America website, contestants are judged in the following fashion:


On June 14, 2014, [81][82][83]

  • "Be between the ages of 17 and 24.
  • Be a United States citizen.
  • Meet residency requirements for competing in a certain town or state.
  • Meet character criteria as set forth by the Miss America Organization.
  • Be in reasonably good health to meet the job requirements.
  • Be able to meet the time commitment and job responsibilities as set forth by the local program in which you compete."[1]

According to the official Miss America website, contestants must:




This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.