Miss United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Miss United States 2022 - Lily K. Donaldson
Miss United States
TypeBeauty pageant
HeadquartersRochester, New York
  • United States
Official language
Tony Ilacqua

Miss United States is a pageant held in the United States for unmarried women between the ages of 20 and 29. The pageant includes women selected to represent all 50 states, District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Miss United States pageant's mission is to "celebrate intelligent women of all walks of life."[1] The Miss United States pageant includes the following competition segments: Private Interview (a 3-minute private interview with judges about the delegate's career, academic, and charitable accomplishments), Evening Gown (a runway walk in formalwear to demonstrate the delegate's poise), Swimsuit (a runway walk in swimwear to display the delegate's physical fitness and on-stage confidence), and Personal Platform Promise (a 60-second 'pitch' of the delegate's chosen charitable cause followed by an onstage question).[2] All four competition segments are worth 25% of the delegate's overall score.[2]

Miss United States is part of the pageant system known as Mrs. United States Pageant, Inc. (DBA United States National Pageants)[3] which has eight divisions: Little Miss United States, Miss Pre-Teen United States, Miss Jr. Teen United States, Miss Teen United States, Miss United States, Ms. United States, Ms. Woman United States, and Mrs. United States. United States National Pageants is the official and exclusive owner of the "Miss United States" trademark. In 2016, Miss United States organizers held the national pageant in Las Vegas, where it initially was held, for a 30th anniversary celebration.

The reigning Miss United States is Lily K. Donaldson of Memphis, Tennessee, who was crowned on October 17, 2022, in Memphis, Tennessee.[4]

Notable past Miss United States titleholders include Miss United States 2013 Candiace Dillard, who is a reality television personality on Bravo's Real Housewives of Potomac, and Miss United States 2014 Elizabeth Safrit, who also represented the United States at Miss World 2014 in London, England on December 14, 2014, where she placed as 2nd runner-up and earned the title of Continental Queen of Beauty of the Americas.


Year Miss United States State Represented Host City Notes
2022 Lily K. Donaldson New York (state) New York Memphis, Tennessee Lily was previously Miss Tennessee US 2021.[5]
2021 Samantha Keene Anderson  Arizona Las Vegas, Nevada Samantha also held the following pageant titles: Miss Teen Arizona US 2014, Miss Vermont US 2018, Miss Virginia US 2019, Miss Arizona US 2021.
2020 Tiffany Ann Rea  California Palm Beach, Florida
2019 Alexia Robinson  Missouri Las Vegas, Nevada
2018 Andromeda Peters  Virginia Orlando, Florida
2017 Rachael Todd  Florida Orlando, Florida
2016 Alayah Benavidez  Texas Las Vegas, Nevada
2015 Summer Priester  South Carolina Washington, District of Columbia
2014 Elizabeth Safrit  North Carolina Washington, District of Columbia Miss World 2014 - 2nd Runner-up
*Miss Multimedia
*Top 5 Performing Talent
*Top 19 Interview Scores
2013 Candiace Dillard Washington, D.C. District of Columbia Washington, District of Columbia Currently appears on The Real Housewives of Potomac
2012 Whitney Miller  Texas Washington, District of Columbia
2011 Ashley Smith  Virginia Las Vegas, Nevada
2010 Jessica Black  Georgia Las Vegas, Nevada
2009 Erin Grizzle  Georgia Las Vegas, Nevada
2008 Brittany Williams  Nevada Las Vegas, Nevada
2007 Ashley Kazian [6][7]  South Carolina Raleigh, North Carolina
2006 Shannon Haggard  North Carolina Raleigh, North Carolina
2005 Nicole Falsone  Arizona Los Angeles, California
2004 Brandy Baham  Louisiana Houston, Texas
2003 Lacie Lybrand  South Carolina New York City, New York
2001 Starla Smith[8]  Alabama New York City, New York Smith was also Miss Teen United States 2000.[9] This is the first Miss United States pageant held by the current owners, Mrs. United States Pageant, Inc., and followed the release of the 2000 film Miss Congeniality.
Organizers of the pageant that chooses the U.S. representative to Miss World used the title "Miss United States" from 1958-1961[10][11] and the American contestant sent to Miss Universe was known as "Miss United States of America" from 1952-1962. From 1962-1999, the Miss Universe organization held the trademark to "Miss United States", but did not hold a "Miss United States" pageant, instead calling their representative to Miss Universe "Miss USA".
1940* Barbara Dean[12] unknown unknown
1939* Hilda Williams[13][14]  Georgia Virginia Beach, Virginia
1938* unknown unknown unknown Several newspaper articles say that R.H. Thompson, promoter of the Miss United States 1937 pageant, would hold another Miss United States pageant along with a Miss Universe pageant during Labor Day weekend 1938,[15][16] whether these pageants were actually held is unknown. One source says the pageant is to take place in Biloxi, and another says Thompson plans to hold the 1938 pageant in Miami, instead.
1937* Margaret Smith[17]  Tennessee Biloxi, Mississippi Women from 16 states competed at a Miss United States pageant held in Biloxi, Mississippi in September 1937; the contestants competed in a pajama parade, bathing suit parade, and talent contest, and Mississippi senator Pat Harrison crowned the winner.[18] Smith received a crown, diamond-encrusted watch, and a trip to Hollywood as prizes.[18] The pageant was held by promoter R.H. Thompson.[19]
1936* unknown unknown Idaho Falls, Idaho The Post Register noted in an August 1936 article that "Miss United States" would be selected at an American Legion conference the following day.[20]
1935 Louise Lyman[21] New York (state) New York appointed Lyman (originally from New York) was appointed to be the United States representative to Miss Universe (International Pageant of Pulchritude) after she participated in Miss Europe 1934 as Miss Atlantique.
1934* unknown unknown Miami, Florida The Worcester Democrat noted in an August 1934 article that "Miss United States" would be selected at the national American Legion conference to be held in October 1934 in Miami.[22]
1933* Gene Handley[23] Texas Texas Big Spring, Texas Miss United States and Miss West Texas were named in a 1933 revue held by the Big Spring Chamber of Commerce with a theme of "an imaginary trip to Mars."[24] Handley is named in one source as the daughter of the pageant organizer, Mrs. Lee Weathers.[23][24]
1932 Helen Cant[25] New York (state) New York Buffalo, New York Held as part of the International Pageant of Pulchritude. Cant was selected represent the U.S. at Miss Universe 1932 which was held in Spa, Belgium.[26]
1931 Ann Lee Patterson[27] Kentucky Kentucky Galveston, Texas Held as part of the International Pageant of Pulchritude. Patterson was crowned as Miss Northern Kentucky.
1930 Dorothy Dell Goff[28][29] Louisiana Louisiana Galveston, Texas Held as part of the International Pageant of Pulchritude. Goff was crowned as Miss New Orleans.
1929 Irene Ahlberg[30][29] New York (state) New York Galveston, Texas Held as part of the International Pageant of Pulchritude. Ahlberg was crowned as Miss Greater New York.
1928 Ella Van Hueson[31] Illinois Illinois Galveston, Texas Held as part of the International Pageant of Pulchritude. Hueson was crowned as Miss Chicago.
1927 Dorothy Britton[32] New York (state) New York Galveston, Texas Held as part of the International Pageant of Pulchritude. Britton was crowned as Miss New York.
1926 Catherine Moylan[33] Texas Texas Galveston, Texas Held as part of the International Pageant of Pulchritude. Britton was crowned as Miss Dallas.
1880 Myrtle Meriwether[34] Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Rehoboth Beach, Delaware The veracity of the 1880 Miss United States competition is contested.[35]

*From 1933-1952 (with the exception of 1935), "Miss United States" pageants may have been held by different organizations across the U.S., but there was no centralized organization or trademark.

In popular media[edit]

In the 2000 American comedy film Miss Congeniality, the FBI asks tomboy agent Gracie (Sandra Bullock) to go under cover as a contestant when a terrorist threatens to bomb the Miss United States pageant. The film also popularized the pop-culture phrase "she's beauty and she's grace" from the Miss United States song which has lyrics "she's beauty and she's grace, she's Miss United States."[36]


Rehoboth Beach 1880 pageant[edit]

The very first use of the title "Miss United States" allegedly goes back as far as 1880, when Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, held the first recorded "beauty pageant" in the United States searching for "the most beautiful unmarried woman in our nation" and awarding her the title of 'Miss United States'.[34][37][38] Some attribute this 1880 pageant to P.T. Barnum,[39] although, this may be confused with P.T. Barnum's unsuccessful effort in the 1850s to start a live beauty contest.[40] Several sources, including PBS and the History Channel, cite Thomas Edison as a judge of the 1880 Miss United States pageant.[40][41] However, the very existence of this 1880 pageant is contested.[42][35]


Many news articles about the current Miss United States organization cite the first Miss United States pageant as taking place in 1937 with the title being award to Miss California,[43][44][45] however, other sources point to the first Miss United States title as being awarded in 1925 to Miss California.[46] A 1937 Albuquerque newspaper names the 1937 Miss United States winner as Margaret Smith of Tennessee.[47] One source says the pageant was put on hold during World War 1, and then re-established in 1937,[46] however, the Boston Globe published a 1929 article naming Irene Ahlberg as Miss United States 1929[48] and Universal Newsreel footage from 1931 shows Miss United States 1931, Ann Lee Patterson.[27] Some of this confusion stems from the conflation of the original Miss Universe (International Pageant of Pulchritude) which also selected a 'Miss United States'[49] and the modern Miss Universe pageant which began in 1951 and where from 1951 to 1962, the U.S. representative was called 'Miss United States of America' before the title was renamed to 'Miss USA' in 1962.[50] The International Pageant of Pulchritude, which existed from 1920 to 1935, was the first international beauty pageant and crowned both a 'Miss United States' and 'Miss Universe'.[49]

Additionally, national "Miss United States" pageants were held after 1935 by several different entities across the United States including American Legion auxiliaries[20][22] and Biloxi event promoter R.H. Thompson.[19] Patriotic festivals/parades also often had a young woman play "Miss United States" for the festivities, unrelated to a pageant or competition.[51]


The title "Miss United States" was trademarked by Catalina Swimwear (which founded the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants) in 1957.[52] Catalina Swimwear's competitions, which began in 1952, included both "Miss Universe" and "Miss United States of America," which would be renamed to "Miss USA" in 1962. The "Miss United States" trademark was then transferred in accordance with the change of Miss USA ownership, including to Donald Trump's pageant business "Trump Pageants, L.P." in 1996 and to the Miss Universe organization in 1997,[52] although the pageant never used the title "Miss United States" or "Miss United States of America" after 1962. Organizers of the pageant that chooses the U.S. representative to Miss World used the title "Miss United States" from 1958 to 1961.[10][11] The Miss Universe organization allowed their "Miss United States" trademark to expire in 1999,[53] ten years after their trademark of the title "Miss USA" was accepted by the U.S. Patent office.[54]


In December 2000 (one year after the expiration of the 'Miss United States' trademark), the film Miss Congeniality was released grossing $212 million worldwide against its $45 million budget.[55] The following year, Mrs. United States Pageant, Inc. (who previously held 'Mrs. United States' and 'Miss Teen United States' pageants) held a "Miss United States" pageant for the first time, with their former Miss Teen United States, Starla Smith, taking the crown.[8] Mrs. United States Pageant, Inc. currently owns the "Miss United States" trademark which was applied for in 2005, and registered in 2008.[56] In 2012, the Mrs. United States Pageant, Inc. sued organizers of a "Miss United States of America" pageant for trademark infringement, and won.[57]

The "Miss United States" pageant is held annually alongside the corporation's Little Miss United States, Miss Pre-Teen United States, Miss Jr. Teen United States, Miss Teen United States, Ms. United States, Ms. Woman United States, and Mrs. United States pageants.[58]

Gallery of Past Titleholders[edit]


  1. ^ "About | United States National Pageants". www.unitedstatescrown.com. 2019-02-20. Retrieved 2023-02-17.
  2. ^ a b "Scoring | United States National Pageants". www.unitedstatescrown.com. 2022-01-03. Retrieved 2023-02-17.
  3. ^ "Home - Miss United States Pageant". Miss United States Pageant.
  4. ^ Sherfield, Shyra. "Shelby County native crowned Miss United States". Action News 5. Retrieved 2022-10-17.
  5. ^ "Memphis woman named 2nd runner up at Miss United States 2021 pageant". localmemphis.com. October 27, 2021. Retrieved 2022-10-17.
  6. ^ "Home - Ashley Kazian crowned Miss United States 2007". Ashley Kazian crowned Miss United States 2007.
  7. ^ "Home - Greer's Ashley Kazian crowned Miss United States". Greer's Ashley Kazian crowned Miss United States.
  8. ^ a b "Warm welcome for Miss United States". Watford Observer. 2001-10-10. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  9. ^ "A Backstreet Boy ROCKS! The 2000 Miss United States Teen Competition". www.pageantrymagazine.com. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  10. ^ a b sashesandscripts (2017-03-25). "The Ever Changing NDs of Miss World USA". SASHES&SCRIPTS. Retrieved 2023-06-21.
  11. ^ a b "Miss World USA Pageant". Archived from the original on 2014-10-21. Retrieved 2014-12-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  12. ^ "Ready! Get Set! Cut the Tape!". The Hill County Sunday Journal. June 2, 1940. p. 7.
  13. ^ "Kathryn Hill Wins Title as Timmonsville Beauty". Florence Morning News. October 14, 1939. p. 7.
  14. ^ "Obituaries in Daytona Beach, FL | Daytona Beach News-Journal". news-journalonline.com. Retrieved 2023-06-21.
  15. ^ "Biloxi Beauty to be Selected". The Daily Herald. January 11, 1938. p. 6.
  16. ^ "Beauty Show in Miami". The Daily Herald. August 22, 1938. p. 3.
  17. ^ Central Press (September 19, 1937). "Miss United States". The Sunday Register. p. 12.
  18. ^ a b "Senator Pat Harrison To Crown Miss United States". The Daily Herald. September 6, 1937. p. 1.
  19. ^ a b "R.H. Thompson Gives His Views of Miss Perfect Beauty 1938". The Daily Herald. January 3, 1938. p. 3.
  20. ^ a b "Queens and Attendants to be Selected Tonight". The Post Register. August 4, 1936. p. 1.
  21. ^ Le Petit journal 7 July 1929, S. 2, retrieved from Gallica 7 June 2017.
  22. ^ a b "Chincoteague Beauty Show Most Successful". The Worcester Democrat. August 31, 1934. p. 2.
  23. ^ a b O.R.P. (May 11, 1933). "Crack Stage Band to Appear". The Big Spring, Texas, Daily Herald. p. 5.
  24. ^ a b "West Texas Cities Invited to Have Young Lady Representative In WTCC Revue At Annual Competition Here". The Big Spring Herald. April 21, 1933. p. 1.
  25. ^ "2 Ağustos 1932 Tarihli Hakimiyet-i Milliye Gazetesi Sayfa 3". www.gastearsivi.com (in Turkish). Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  26. ^ "Fox Movietone News Story 15-464". digital.tcl.sc.edu. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  27. ^ a b "Beauty Crown Goes to Miss Belgium!". texasarchive.org. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  28. ^ "What Never Was Told About the Tragic Crash Of Lovely Dorothy Dell", The Salt Lake Tribune, August 12, 1934, p. 7
  29. ^ a b O'Malley, Don (July 21, 1931). "New York Inside Out". The Daily News, Huntington, PA. p. 4.
  30. ^ "'Miss New York' National Winner". The New York Times. Associated Press. June 11, 1929. p. 7. ProQuest 104818664. Retrieved October 19, 2020 – via ProQuest.
  31. ^ "Miss United States". Providence News. 5 June 1928. p. 3. Retrieved 14 June 2023 – via Google Books.
  32. ^ "New York Girl Is Winner". Galveston Daily News. May 24, 1927. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
  33. ^ "Beauty Prize Will Open College Door For Dallas Winner". Galveston Daily News. May 18, 1926.
  34. ^ a b "The Courier-News from Bridgewater, New Jersey". Newspapers.com. 1988-09-09. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  35. ^ a b Riverol, A. R. (1983). "Myth America and Other Misses: A Second Look at the American Beauty Contests". ETC: A Review of General Semantics. 40 (2): 207–217. ISSN 0014-164X. JSTOR 42576603.
  36. ^ William Shatner – Miss United States (Berman Brothers Mix), retrieved 2023-02-17
  37. ^ Grout, Holly (Spring 2013). "Between Venus and Mercury: The 1920s Beauty Contest in France and America" (PDF). French Politics, Culture & Society. 31 (1): 47–68. doi:10.3167/fpcs.2013.310103. JSTOR 24517582 – via JSTOR.
  38. ^ "Beauty queens: A mirror of the times". Milford Daily News. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  39. ^ OUPblog (2013-06-07). "The beauty pageant and British society". OUPblog. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  40. ^ a b "Miss America Timeline | American Experience | PBS". www.pbs.org. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  41. ^ "Delaware". HISTORY. 2018-08-21. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  42. ^ "Michael Morgan: Myths of 'Miss America' in Rehoboth". The Daily Times. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  43. ^ "LeFevre named Miss Junior Teen N.D." Jamestown Sun. 2015-04-08. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  44. ^ "5 from Southern Arizona enter Miss Arizona United States pageant". www.kold.com. 2013-03-23. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  45. ^ "The Citizen Newspaper Group". citizennewspapergroup.com. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  46. ^ a b "Daughters of Bartlesville native to pass on crowns". Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  47. ^ "Margaret Smith of Clinton TN 1937 Miss United States". Albuquerque Journal. 1937-09-12. p. 4. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  48. ^ "Irene Ware". The Boston Globe. 1929-07-04. p. 12. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  49. ^ a b "Miss United States Began In Galveston". The Islander Magazine. 2006. Archived from the original on 19 October 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  50. ^ Bell, Carrie (June 21, 2022). "What Miss USA Looked Like the Year You Were Born". Reader's Digest. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  51. ^ "With the Lions Today". Oakland Tribune. July 18, 1938. p. 6.
  52. ^ a b "USPTO Assignments on the Web". assignments.uspto.gov. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  53. ^ "Trademark Status & Document Retrieval". tsdr.uspto.gov. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  54. ^ "Trademark Status & Document Retrieval". tsdr.uspto.gov. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  55. ^ "Miss Congeniality". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2023-06-21.
  56. ^ "Trademark Status & Document Retrieval". tsdr.uspto.gov. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  57. ^ "Mrs. United States National Pageant, Inc. v. Miss United States of America Organization, LLC, 875 F. Supp. 2d 211 | Casetext Search + Citator". casetext.com. Retrieved 2023-06-20.
  58. ^ "Divisions | United States National Pageants". www.unitedstatescrown.com. 2019-02-20. Retrieved 2023-06-21.