Miss USA special awards

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The following tables list the winners of the special awards given to candidates at the Miss USA pageant.

Current awards[edit]

Miss Congeniality[edit]

The first Miss Congeniality award specific to the Miss USA pageant was given out in 1965. Prior to this year, the award could be won by either a Miss USA or Miss Universe contestant because both pageants were held jointly. This is the only award voted on by the delegates themselves. The name of the award has changed a number of times over the years, and has been known as "Miss Unity" and "Miss Amity". The current definition of the award is that it "reflects the respect and admiration of the delegate's peers, who voted for her as the most congenial, charismatic and inspirational participant."

As of 2011, Vermont has received the most awards with five. Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana and Wyoming follow with three awards.

Only one Miss USA winner would be voted Miss Congeniality: Chelsi Smith (1995). She would also be crowned Miss Universe 1995, becoming the only Miss USA titleholder and special award winner in history to capture the Miss Universe crown.

Year Winner State Placement at MUSA Notes
1952[^] AWARD WON BY MISS UNIVERSE CONTESTANT
1953[^] Jeanne Thompson Louisiana Louisiana Top 20 semifinalist Previously Miss Louisiana 1951 and Miss Louisiana USA 1952; 1st runner-up at Miss USA 1952; only woman to compete at Miss USA pageant twice.
1954-1959[^] AWARD WON BY MISS UNIVERSE CONTESTANT
1960[^] Judy Fletcher (tie) Louisiana Louisiana Top 15 semifinalist Tied with Myint Myint May of Burma from Miss Universe to win the award.
1961-1963[^] AWARD WON BY MISS UNIVERSE CONTESTANT
1964[^] Jeanne Venables California California Top 15 semifinalist
1965 Elizabeth Carroll (tie) Minnesota Minnesota
Bonnie Perkins (tie) Tennessee Tennessee
1966 Linda Leafdale Wyoming Wyoming
1967 Sandra Baldwin Idaho Idaho
1968 Julia Pinkley Kentucky Kentucky
1969 Mary Verdiana Vermont Vermont 1st runner-up
1970 Diane Swendeman Texas Texas Top 15 semifinalist
1971 Diane Knaub Colorado Colorado
1972 Peggy Moore Utah Utah
1973 Kiki Kirkland South Carolina South Carolina
1974 Donna Thornton Vermont Vermont
1975 Constance Crabtree Vermont Vermont
1976 Connie Clark (tie) Kentucky Kentucky
Dorothy Westphal (tie) South Dakota South Dakota
1977 Linda LeFevre FloridaFlorida
1978 Nancy Wierzbicki Vermont Vermont
1979 Pam Williams Wyoming Wyoming
1980 Robbin English Montana Montana
1981 Cynthia Ann Kerby California California 3rd runner-up Also won Miss Photogenic.
1982 Toni McFadden Alaska Alaska
1983 Dana Ruth Mintzer Iowa Iowa Also won Miss Congeniality at state level
1984 Diane Gadoury New Hampshire New Hampshire
1985 Marty Browning Tennessee Tennessee
1986 Lisa Summerour-Perry New Jersey New Jersey
1987 Lori Lynn Dickerson[1] California California
1988 Elva Anderson[2] Washington, D.C. District of Columbia
1989 Kimberly Nicewonder Virginia Virginia
1990 Janet Tveita[3] Minnesota Minnesota
1991 Charlotte Ray[4] New Jersey New Jersey 1st runner-up
1992 Alesia Prentiss[5] Nevada Nevada
1993 Stacey Blaine[6] Massachusetts Massachusetts
1994 Denise White Oregon Oregon
1995 Chelsi Smith Texas Texas Miss USA 1995 MISS UNIVERSE 1995
1996 Ku'ualoha Taylor Hawaii Hawaii
1997 Napiera Groves[7] Washington, D.C. District of Columbia
1998 Vera Morris[8] North Carolina North Carolina
1999 Cara Jackson Arizona Arizona
2000 Michele Kaplan Hawaii Hawaii
2001 Monica Palumbo[9] North Carolina North Carolina
2002 Meredith McCannel Montana Montana
2003 Breann Parriott[10] Washington (state) Washington
2004 Michelle Fongemie[11] Vermont Vermont
2005 Melissa Young[12] Wisconsin Wisconsin
2006 Dottie Cannon[13] Minnesota Minnesota
2007 Stephanie Trudeau Montana Montana
2008 Monica Day Ohio Ohio
2009 Cynthia Pate Wyoming Wyoming
2010 Belinda Wright Nebraska Nebraska Top 15 semifinalist
2011 Kia Hampton Kentucky Kentucky
2012 Rebecca Hodge Iowa Iowa
2013 Gabrielle Neilan Oregon Oregon
2014 Christina Palavra Rhode Island Rhode Island

^ Denotes winner of Miss Congeniality when the award was given to either a Miss USA or Miss Universe contestant.

Miss Photogenic[edit]

Like Miss Congeniality, the first Miss Photogenic award specific to the Miss USA pageant was given out in 1965. Prior to this year, the award could be won by either a Miss USA or Miss Universe contestant. The winner of the award was initially chosen by the press, however this was changed to an internet vote in 1996. The most recent definition of the Miss Photogenic award is that it defines "beauty behind the lens of a camera".

The most successful state as of 2011 is Virginia, with six awards. The next most successful states are Louisiana and Texas, each tied with four, followed by Alabama and California with three.

Coincidentally, California and Louisiana both have two Miss USA winners who have also been voted Miss Photogenic, the most from any state to win the award and the title: Maria Remenyi (1966) and Shannon Marketic (1992) from California; Sharon Brown (1961) and Ali Landry (1996) from Louisiana. Virginia has the only other Miss USA and Photogenic award winner: Debbie Shelton (1970).

Year Winner State Placement at MUSA Notes
1955-1955 NO AWARD
1956-1960[^] AWARD WON BY MISS UNIVERSE CONTESTANT
1961[^] Sharon Brown Louisiana Louisiana Miss USA 1961 Won joint Miss Universe/Miss USA award as Miss Louisiana USA 1961 prior to winning Miss USA 1961; immediately competed in Miss Universe 1961, placing 4th runner-up.
1962-1964[^] AWARD WON BY MISS UNIVERSE CONTESTANT
1965 Cheryl Semrad Oklahoma Oklahoma Top 15 semifinalist
1966 Maria Remenyi California California Miss USA 1966 Top 15 semifinalist at Miss Universe 1966.
1967 Elizabeth Kallmyer Virginia Virginia Top 15 semifinalist
1968 Kathy Hebert Louisiana Louisiana 3rd runner-up
1969 Susan Hawkins Colorado Colorado Top 15 semifinalist
1970 Debbie Shelton Virginia Virginia Miss USA 1970 1st runner-up to Miss Universe 1970
1971 Brenda Joyce Miller Virginia Virginia Top 12 semifinalist
1972 Susan Lunette Peters Texas Texas
1973 Janice Geiler Nebraska Nebraska Top 12 semifinalist
1974 Barbara Cooper New York New York 1st runner-up
1975 Pamela Flowers Alabama Alabama 1st runner-up
1976 Liz Wickersham Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia Top 12 semifinalist
1977 Elizabeth Curran Illinois Illinois
1978 Suzanna Timberlake Tennessee Tennessee
1979 Michele Maria Sandoval New Mexico New Mexico
1980 Jineane Ford (tie) Arizona Arizona 1st runner-up
Kim Thomas (tie) Ohio Ohio Also won Best State Costume.
1981 Cynthia Ann Kerby California California 3rd runner-up Also won Miss Congeniality.
1982 Sondra Dee Jones Virginia Virginia Top 12 semifinalist
1983 Lisa Allred Texas Texas 1st runner-up
1984 Laura Shaw Texas Texas Top 10 semifinalist
1985 Robyn Overbey Kentucky Kentucky
1986 Beth King Wyoming Wyoming Top 10 semifinalist
1987 Sophia Marie Bowen Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia 4th runner-up
1988 Rowanne Brewer[14] Maryland Maryland Top 10 semifinalist
1989 Elizabeth Primm Louisiana Louisiana 3rd runner-up
1990 Stephanie Teneyck[3] Mississippi Mississippi Top 12 semifinalist
1991 Pat Arnold[4] North Carolina North Carolina Top 6 finalist
1992 Shannon Marketic[5] California California Miss USA 1992 Top 10 semifinalist at Miss Universe 1992.
1993 Kelly Hu[6] Hawaii Hawaii Top 6 Finalist Previously Miss Hawaii Teen USA 1985 and Miss Teen USA 1985.
1994 Patricia Southall[15] Virginia Virginia 1st runner-up
1995 Nichole Holmes Illinois Illinois 2nd runner-up
1996 Ali Landry Louisiana Louisiana Miss USA 1996 Previously Miss Louisiana Teen USA 1990; Top 12 semifinalist at Miss Teen USA 1990; Top 6 finalist at Miss Universe 1996; first woman to compete at all three.
1997 Audra Wilks Virginia Virginia Previously Miss Virginia Teen USA 1998.
1998 Sonja Glenn[16] South Carolina South Carolina
1999 Elyzabeth Pham Wisconsin Wisconsin
2000 Paige Swenson Minnesota Minnesota Previously Miss Minnesota Teen USA 1994.
2001 Katee Doland Colorado Colorado
2002 Shannon Ford[17] Florida Florida
2003 Sarah Cahill[10] Minnesota Minnesota Previously Miss Minnesota Teen USA 1996.
2004 Jennifer Sherrill[11] Arkansas Arkansas
2005 Tyler Willis[12] Texas Texas Top 15 semifinalist
2006 Cristin Duren[18] Florida Florida 4th runner-up Previously Miss Florida Teen USA 1997; first woman to win Miss Photogenic at both Miss Teen USA (in 1997) and Miss USA.
2007 Rebecca Moore Alabama Alabama
2008 Courtney Carroll Alaska Alaska
2009 Jessi Pierson West Virginia West Virginia Top 10 finalist
2010 Audrey Moore Alabama Alabama Top 10 finalist
2011 Brittany Brannon Arizona Arizona Top 16 semifinalist Previously Miss Teen America 2007
2012 Alaina Bergsma Oregon Oregon
2013 Marissa Powell Utah Utah 3rd runner-up


2014 Cassandra Kunze California California Top 10

^ Denotes winner of Miss Photogenic when the award was given to either a Miss USA or Miss Universe contestant.

Former awards[edit]

Best State Costume[edit]

The first Best State Costume award was given out in 1962. It's not awarded since 1994.

The most successful state was Alaska, with four awards. The next most successful states were Arizona, Illinois and Texas, each tied with three; followed by Ohio, Oregon and South Carolina with two.

Year Winner State Placement at MUSA Notes
1952-1961 NO AWARD
1962 Joyce Collin Oregon Oregon Top 16 semifinalist
1963 Linda England Florida Florida
1964 Pat Kerr Tennessee Tennessee
1965 Carla Sullivan Alaska Alaska
1966 Nancy Self New York New York Top 15 semifinalist
1967 Maureen Bassett Oregon Oregon Top 15 semifinalist
1968 Suzanne Fromm California California Top 15 semifinalist
1969 Linda Louise Rowley Alaska Alaska
1970 Vickie Lynn Chesser South Carolina South Carolina 1st runner-up
1971 Katherine Hartman Alaska Alaska
1972 Patricia Lane Alaska Alaska Top 12 semifinalist
1973 Lavon McConnell (tie) Texas Texas Top 12 semifinalist
Diane Modrow (tie) Wisconsin Wisconsin
1974 Charlesy Gulick Kentucky Kentucky
1975 Gayla Bryan Oklahoma Oklahoma
1976 Virginia Murray South Carolina South Carolina 3rd runner-up
1977 Kimberly Tomes Texas Texas Miss USA 1977 Top 12 semifinalist at Miss Universe 1977.
1978 Barbra Horan Texas Texas 2nd runner-up
1979 Debra Niego Illinois Illinois 3rd runner-up
1980 Elizabeth Kim Thomas Ohio Ohio Also won Miss Photogenic.
1981 Joann Savery Massachusetts Massachusetts
1982 Kim Ann Weeda Ohio Ohio 3rd runner-up
1983 Julie Page Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Top 12 semifinalist
1984 Daria Sparling Arizona Arizona
1985 Michelle Ducote Arizona Arizona Top 10 semifinalist
1986 Tricia Bach Illinois Illinois Top 10 semifinalist
1987 Kriston Gayle Killgore New Mexico New Mexico Top 11 semifinalist
1988 Lagracella Omran[19] Nevada Nevada
1989 Kelly Holub Illinois Illinois Top 10 semifinalist
1990 NO AWARD
1991 Maricarroll Verlinde[4] Arizona Arizona Top 11 semifinalist
1992 Heather Gray[5] Indiana Indiana
1993 Tavia Shackles[6] Kansas Kansas 2nd runner-up Previously Miss Missouri Teen USA 1990; Top 12 semifinalist at Miss Teen USA 1990.

Best in Swimsuit[edit]

This prize was first awarded in 1992 by Catalina until 1993. In 1994-1998 by Jantzen. In 1999-2000 by Speedo. In 2001 by Pieces from Bikini.com, and in 2002 by Bluepoint. Not awarded since 2003.

Year Winner State Placement at MUSA Notes
1992 Candace Michelle Brown Alabama Alabama 1st Runner-up
1993 Erin Nance Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia 1st Runner-up Previously Miss Georgia Teen USA 1988.
1994 Patricia Southall Virginia Virginia 1st Runner-up
1995 Chelsi Smith Texas Texas Miss USA 1995 MISS UNIVERSE 1995
1996 Danielle Boatwright Kansas Kansas 1st Runner-up Previously Miss Kansas Teen USA 1992; 2nd Runner-up at Miss Teen USA 1992.
1997 Angelia Savage Florida Florida Top 6 Finalist
1998 Shawnae Jebbia Massachusetts Massachusetts Miss USA 1998 Top 5 Finalist at Miss Universe 1998.
1999 Lauren Poppell South Carolina South Carolina Top 5 Finalist Previously Miss South Carolina Teen USA 1993; Top 12 Semi-Finalist at Miss Teen USA 1993.
Angelique Breaux California California 2nd Runner-up Became Miss World USA 2000; Top 10 Semi-Finalist at Miss World 2000.
2000 Lynnette Cole Tennessee Tennessee Miss USA 2000 Previously Miss Tennessee Teen USA 1995; Top 6 Finalist & Miss Photogenic at Miss Teen USA 1995; Top 5 Finalist at Miss Universe 2000.
2001 Larissa Meek Missouri Missouri Top 5 Finalist Previously Miss Missouri Teen USA 1997.
2002 Lanore Vanburen Minnesota Minnesota 3rd Runner-up

Style Award[edit]

It was awarded by Vibrance in 1995, Finesse Shampoo in 1996, Clairol Herbal Essences in 1999-2001. Not awarded 1997-1998, 2002-present.

Year Winner State Placement at MUSA Notes
1995 Lynn Vesnefski Hawaii Hawaii
1996 Becca Lee Tennessee Tennessee 2nd runner-up
1997-1998 NO AWARD
1999 Kellie Lightbourn Virginia Virginia Top 10 semifinalist
2000 Kristin Ludecke Florida Florida
2001 Megan Gunning Maryland Maryland

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Column: PEOPLE". The Orange County Register. 1987-02-13. 
  2. ^ Milloy, Courtland (1988-05-22). "Beauty is Having Your Act Together". The Washington Post. p. D.03. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  3. ^ a b "Detroit's Carole Gist Is Miss USA". Washington Post. 1990-03-03. p. d.09. 
  4. ^ a b c Curtright, Bob (1991-02-23). "Homegrown Beauty Miss Kansas wins Miss USA title". The Wichita Eagle. p. 1A. 
  5. ^ a b c Lewis, Diane (1992-02-05). "Stepping out with Glitz - State Icons". The Wichita Eagle. p. 1A. 
  6. ^ a b c Lewis, Diane (1993-02-17). "Miss Kansas Getting Attention as Pageant Ceremonies Begin". The Wichita Eage. p. 1A. 
  7. ^ Warrick, Camilla (1997-05-27). "Living her Lessons: Pageant Winner Leaving Her Job to Chase Dream". The Cincinnati Post. 
  8. ^ "Miss Massachusetts selected Miss USA in Shreveport". The Advocate. 1998-03-11. 
  9. ^ Price, Mark (2001-03-31). "Miss Congeniality Turns on Personality, Chews the Fat as a Pageant Insider". Charlotte Observer. p. 1F. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  10. ^ a b "Miss Massachusetts USA, Susie Castillo, Crowned Miss USA 2003 During Live NBC Telecast on March 24" (Press release). Miss Universe Organization. 2003-03-24. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  11. ^ a b "Miss Missouri, Crowned Miss USA(R) 2004 During Live NBC Telecast on April 12.". PR Newswire. 2004-04-13. 
  12. ^ a b "Miss North Carolina USA, Chelsea Cooley Crowned MISS USA 2005 During Live NBC Telecast On April 11th". Patriot News. 2005-04-11. Retrieved 2007-02-25. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Miss Kentucky Crowned Miss USA 2006 During Live NBC Telecast on April 21st" (Press release). Miss Universe Organization. 2006-04-21. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  14. ^ Conconi, Chuck (1990-12-10). "Personalities". The Washington Post. p. d.03. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  15. ^ Little, Robert (1994-02-13). "Mom's Death Inspired Miss USA contestant". The Virginian Pilot. p. B3. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  16. ^ "Shawnae Jebbia of Massachusetts Crowned "Miss USA 1998"". Business Wire. 1998-03-11. 
  17. ^ "Miss District of Columbia USA, Shauntay Hinton Crowned Miss USA(R) 2002 During Live CBS Telecast on March 1.". PR Newswire. 2002-03-02. 
  18. ^ Lovett, Valerie (2006-05-15). "Miss Florida looks to future: Panama City Beach woman remains optimistic after placing fifth in nationwide pageant.". News Herald. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 
  19. ^ Conconi, Chuck (1990-12-10). "Personalities". The Washington Post. p. d.03. Retrieved 2007-02-25. 

External links[edit]