Nicole Johnson (Miss America)

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Nicole Johnson
Nicole Johnson 2008.png
Nicole Johnson signing autographs at the Miss America 2008 pageant
Born (1974-01-09) January 9, 1974 (age 44)
St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of South Florida
Regent University
University of Pittsburgh
EmployerAmerican Diabetes Association
TitleMiss Lynchburg Festival 1998
Miss Virginia 1998
Miss America 1999
PredecessorKatherine Shindle
SuccessorHeather French
Scott Baker
(m. 2003; div. 2008)

Nicole Johnson (born January 9, 1974)[1] is an American beauty queen, author, actress, and activist. Crowned Miss America 1999 and Miss Virginia 1998, she became the first Miss America with diabetes and the first contestant to publicize the use of an insulin pump.[2][3] She now advocates for diabetes research, treatment, and education, having been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1993.


Johnson holds a B.A. in English from the University of South Florida and an M.A. in journalism from the School of Communication & the Arts at Regent University in Virginia.[4] She also has a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Pittsburgh gained in 2007. In 2013, Johnson received a Doctor of Public Health degree from the University of South Florida.


Early pageantry[edit]

Johnson first started competing in pageants in Florida and placed in the Top 10 at Miss Florida in 1995 and was third runner-up in the Miss Florida USA 1995 pageant. After moving to Virginia to pursue post-graduate education at Regent University she continued competing and placed in the top ten at Miss Virginia 1997.[5][6]

Miss Virginia 1998[edit]

In March 1998 she won the Miss Lynchburg Festival title and went on to win the Miss Virginia 1998 title on June 29, 1998.[6]

Miss America 1999[edit]

In September Johnson represented Virginia in the Miss America 1999 pageant, becoming the second woman representing that state to win the Miss America title.[4][7] She sang "That's Life" in the talent competition.[4] In 1997 she started wearing an insulin pump on her hip to control her illness, which she wore while competing at Miss Virginia and Miss America, the first Miss America contestant and winner to do so.[6][8][9][10]

Diabetes activism[edit]

Johnson with congressman, Gus Bilirakis, in 2008

Johnson became a spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association in the 1990s and had testified in legislative hearings in Washington, D.C. prior to winning the Miss Virginia title.[8]

In 2004, her communication skills and journalism background led her to become the anchor of dLife, a weekly TV series about diabetes that aired on CNBC. Johnson has also written several books over her career: three cookbooks with Mr. Food, an independent cookbook titled, Nicole Johnson's Diabetes Recipe Makeovers, an autobiography titled Living with Diabetes, and a book for young adults titled, Young Adult Type 1 Diabetes Realities.

She continues to work as a diabetes advocate and patient care expert - professionally and in a volunteer capacity. Her consulting clients have included Novo Nordisk, Animas Corporation, AmMed Direct LLC and Eli Lilly and Company. On a volunteer basis, she has served in leadership roles within the JDRF and the American Diabetes Association. Her academic credentials have most recently led her to public health work at the University of South Florida where she is the Executive Director of a program she created called Bringing Science Home. In 2010, Johnson founded Students With Diabetes (SWD), at the University of South Florida, to serve the needs of the young adult population with diabetes.

Personal life[edit]

Johnson was briefly engaged to investment banker, Conn Jackson, in 2000.[11]

In 2003, Johnson married journalist and later co-founder of Breitbart News, Scott Baker.[12] The couple met in the mid-90s at a seminar Baker held for college students interested in news careers.[12] Together the couple had a daughter, Ava Grace, born on January 7, 2006. Johnson and Baker later divorced in 2008.


Prior to her participation in 1995 Miss Florida pageant, she appeared in a supporting part in the independent Australian film, No Worries (1994), directed by David Elfick.[13] In 1997, she had a minor cameo part as an extra in Neil LaBute's In the Company of Men.[14] She later appeared in a supporting role in the independent horror film, Blood Games (2003).


Year Title Role Notes
1994 No Worries Lisa
1997 Anita Liberty Make-out Queen Short film
1997 In the Company of Men Extra
2003 Blood Games Lucy Nightingale
2008 dLife Herself (host) Television series


  1. ^ "Meet Miss Virginia 1998 Nicole Johnson". Miss America Organisation. 1998. Archived from the original on April 23, 1999.
  2. ^ "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.
  3. ^ Kaplan-Mayer, Gabrielle (2003). Insulin Pump Therapy Demystified: An Essential Guide for Everyone Pumping. Marlowe & Co. ISBN 0-7867-3068-4. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Curran, John (September 19, 1998). "Miss Virginia Nicole Johnson wins Miss America pageant". Times Daily.
  5. ^ "Device helps Miss Lynchburg to stay competitive". The Free Lance-Star. June 28, 1998.
  6. ^ a b c Associated Press (June 29, 1998). "Diabetic Crowned Miss VA". The Free Lance-Star.
  7. ^ Curran, John (September 21, 1998). "New Miss America 'Never Gave Up'". The Free Lance-Star.
  8. ^ a b "Virginian wins Miss America pageant". Chicago Tribune. September 20, 1998. Retrieved September 19, 2009.
  9. ^ "The Reliable Source". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ Kaplan-Mayer, G.; Scheiner, G. (2009). Insulin Pump Therapy Demystified: An Essential Guide for Everyone Pumping Insulin. Da Capo Press, Incorporated. p. 43. ISBN 9780786730681. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  11. ^ Tauber, Michelle; Neill, Mike; Russell, Lisa; Fowler, Joanne; Dam, Julie; Tresniowski, Alex; Miller, Samantha; Dougherty, Steve; Yu, Ting (October 16, 2000). "American Beauties: 80 Years". People.
  12. ^ a b Owen, Rob (August 9, 2003). "The anchorman and the beauty queen". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  13. ^ Murray, Scott; Raffaele Caputo, and Alissa Tanskaya (1995). Australian Film, 1978-1994: A Survey of Theatrical Features. Oxford University Press. p. 366. ISBN 978-0-195-53777-2.
  14. ^ "In the Company of Men (1997)". Turner Classic Movies. Rovi. Retrieved January 22, 2017.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Katherine Shindle
Miss America
Succeeded by
Heather French
Preceded by
Kelli Quick
Miss Virginia
Succeeded by
Nita Booth