14 janeiro 2011

Miss America Pageant: Notable winners, stories, scandals

William Browning William Browning – Fri Jan 14, 4:44 pm ET

The Miss America pageant airs its 2011 show Saturday on ABC at 9 p.m. Eastern. Judges for this year's show include Joy Behar, former Miss America Debbye Turner Bell and fitness guru Marilu Henner.

Here's a look at the most notable winners, stories and scandals surrounding the famous beauty pageant.

Who has won the Miss America pageant more than once?

Mary Katherine Campbell is the only woman to win the Miss America pageant more than once. She defended her 1922 title with another win in 1923. In 1922, Campbell was in a field of 57 contestants that grew to 74 in 1923, making her feat even more remarkable. Since then, rules have been changed to make it possible to represent a state only once.

Who is the youngest winner of the Miss America pageant?

Marian Bergeron won the 1933 Miss America title when she was 15. Because the contest wasn't held in 1934, Bergeron retained her title for two years. Because of rule changes, the youngest Miss America in the modern era can be 17.

Has any Miss America overcome long odds?

Debbye Turner Bell won the Miss America pageant in 1990 after seven years competing in pageants. She is a motivational speaker and licensed veterinarian today, and she is also the only Miss Missouri to win the crown.

Another great win came in 1995 with Heather Whitestone from Alabama. She is the only deaf Miss America winner. She furthered many causes for deaf students and currently goes on speaking tours about overcoming similar odds. The former Miss America also is a spokesperson for several nonprofit organizations.

Why did Vanessa Williams resign in 1984?

Since Vanessa Williams won the Miss America pageant for 1984, she has become a famous singer, actress, designer and spokeswoman. In what was perhaps the biggest scandal of the Miss America pageant history, Williams resigned after nude photos appeared in "Penthouse" magazine without her consent.

The photos were taken two years before the pageant and Williams claims she never signed a release for them to be published. She sued "Penthouse" for $500 million, but Williams dropped the suit, according to the New York Times. Meanwhile, the scandal made the racy magazine an additional $14 million beyond its normal profits.

Amid pressure from sponsors threatening to pull out because of the photos, Williams resigned under pressure. She still got to keep the crown and money, and she remains the most recognizable Miss America in the United States today.



Vanessa Williams
Syracuse, New York An Atlantic City contestant representing New York, Vanessa won both the swimsuit and talent competition, going on to become the first African American Miss America and making an unforgettable mark in pageant history. Despite her resignation over questionable photos, she performed her duties as Miss America in an exemplary fashion. She moved into the world of entertainment with ease and grandeur. Vanessa's talent as a singer, dancer and actress has catapulted her to stardom due to her perseverance and determination.
Today, Vanessa has four children and some describe her as the embodiment of American values. She nurtures at home, encouraging her children in their educational endeavors and social activities, and, of course, continues to pursue quite a remarkable career, being well recognized for recording hits such as "Save the Best for Last" and "Running Back to You."

Vanessa is currently in a leading role on the new ABC sitcom Ugly Betty.
  Vanessa Williams, Miss America 1984 - A

Vanessa Williams, Miss America 1984 - A

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