Olivia Jordan-Miss USA 2015, Katherine Haik-Miss Teen USA 2015, Paulina Vega-Miss Universe 2014/15A rich reward came to Louisiana only one month after hosting the 2015 Miss USA pageant with the crowning of Katherine Haik as Louisiana's second Miss Teen USA after Shelley Hennig won their first Miss Teen USA crown in 2004. At the age of 15, Katherine is the youngest winner ever in the history of the Miss Teen USA pageant. Katherine was born on May 9, 2000 only a few days before India's Lara Dutta was crowned Miss Universe 2000 on May 12th of that year. Katherine is also the first of the Miss Universe organization titleholders to be younger than my website which was started on June 9, 1998. So a lot of people feel much, much older now. ;-) Katherine wowed the judges with her ability to name all the American presidents in order from George Washington to Barack Obama as demonstrated on stage in a song. Louisiana has also hosted some of the most memorable Miss Teen USA and Miss USA pageants in the past so the glory returns to the crawfish state once again. Katherine is also the second Katherine in a row to win Miss Teen USA as the 2014 winner, K. Lee Graham's full name is Katherine Lee Graham.

For the eighth year in a row, Miss Teen USA was held on the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. This year it was hosted by Nick Teplitz who has been hosting numerous preliminaries for the Miss Universe Organization over the past few years and he co-hosted with Miss USA 2013, Erin Brady who recently married Tony Capasso who served as a judge for Miss Teen USA this year. Erin and Tony will be appearing on a reality show called, "Start Up U" where they hope to win funding for Erin's business "Romeo In A Box" which helps men design personalized gifts for their significant others.

In terms of my predictions this year, I picked 11 of the 15 semifinalists plus 2 alternates (Oklahoma and Alabama) and 1 honorable mention (Massachusetts). The one I missed entirely was New York who literally was the next delegate in my tier below honorable mentions. However, what disturbed me the most was that my winner, the absolutely stunning and well-spoken Caroline Ford of Kentucky was inexplicably excluded from the semifinals which was beyond shocking. Let's not forget beauty, people. The other 3 of my picks that were excluded were: Maryland, Ohio and Nevada. What happened to my ladies that didn't place? Well, Sweet Caroline Ford of Kentucky was on practically every predictions list and was a heavy favorite for the crown. The bluegrass state had an opportunity to capture its first Miss Teen USA crown and this state also easily won the twitter save at Miss USA last month so there is much interest in pageantry in this state. Caroline had the perfect look but sometimes that can trigger jealousy from some people as the prettiest girls often have an easy life and sometimes taking out the best contestant can make it easier for someone else who might be desired to win. Some people thought her posture was off but I didn't see that and she was incredibly well-spoken and just glowed when I watched her close-up video that I found it beyond disturbing that she didn't place. Maryland was also quite strong in all aspects of the competition but some say she looked more Miss than Teen but sometimes the Miss look is accepted at Miss Teen USA so I have no idea what happened here. I included Ohio because of her interesting background. She is half-black but doesn't look it at all and is already signed with Ford models at the age of 16 and she did speak and present well but she was one of those delegates that would either go very far or not place at all and she ended up not placing at all. Nevada sent a nice, well-prepared delegate who also made a lot of lists but I gave her a spot mainly for that reason. I did have a feeling she wouldn't place as her gown may have been deemed a bit too much and she could have been in a bit better shape which is why I put her on the bottom of my list. Did you notice that the first and last of my top 5 and the first and last of my semifinalists were the 4 in my list that didn't place???



Winner=Louisiana-Katherine Haik

Winner=Kentucky-Caroline Ford

1st Runner Up=California-Melanie Mitchell

1st Runner Up=Vermont-Alexandra Marek*

2nd Runner Up=North Carolina-Jane Axhoj

2nd Runner Up=Texas-Chloe Kembel*

3rd Runner Up=Tennessee-Hannah Greene

3rd Runner Up=South Carolina-Wesley Mitchell*

4th Runner Up=Massachusetts-Sophie Baird

4th Runner Up=Maryland-Taylor Dawson



Alabama-Taylor Ryan Elliott

Ohio-Shelby Stapleton

Arkansas-Arynn Johnson

Tennessee-Hannah Greene*

Arizona-Neda Danilovic

California-Melanie Mitchell*

Missouri-Christina Stratton

North Carolina-Jane Axhoj*

New York-Geena Cardalena

Arkansas-Arynn Johnson*

Oklahoma-Cherokee Pearce

Louisiana-Katherine Haik*

Pennsylvania-Jasmine Daniels

Arizona-Neda Danilovic*

South Carolina-Wesley Mitchell

Pennsylvania-Jasmine Daniels*

Texas-Chloe Kembel

Missouri-Christina Stratton*

Vermont-Alexandra Marek

Nevada-Geovanna Hilton


ALTERNATES: Oklahoma*, Alabama*, Georgia, Colorado, Michigan


HONORABLE MENTIONS: Nebraska, Alaska, Rhode Island, Florida, Massachusetts*


* = made actual top 15

After the top 15 were announced, it was on to the swimsuit competition and first up was North Carolina's Jane Axhoj who placed avenging their absence from Miss USA last month where they were represented by Julia Dalton who somehow didn't place at Miss USA even though she was 2nd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2008, just like Jane Axhoj placed as 2nd runner up this year. Jane was also gorgeous with a great body and strong overall look. Jane was in my top 5 at one point but fell to a semifinalist spot in my list but I knew she would make the top 5. Jane is one that shows promise if she competes on the Miss USA stage one day. Arizona was also a favorite from other people. She had a classy presentation but not the best body so it was not surprising to see her be eliminated. Texas followed looking a lot like K. Lee Graham who won Miss Teen USA last year that a lot of people commented that the two could be sisters. It looks like the most successful state in Miss USA history (Texas) is back on track after not placing from 2005 to 2013 with the exception of the year 2011 which was one of two years that they won the crown. Next was Massachusetts who was favored for others but not so much by me. She didn't exactly wow me in her close-up or during the pageant either but sometimes that amateur beauty delegate appeals to those judges that seek a more natural style. California had a great body with her long legs and indented waist. This was a strong delegate. Pennsylvania followed being one of the few African-American delegates competing this year but a lot of people really liked Jasmine as she does have a great body and just seems like a nice person. Our winner, Louisiana followed looking amazing with her long legs and toned body and she presented well. I will admit that her being only 15 years old made me think she would be a semifinalist and go no further but she ended up going all the way and making history in the attempt. Arkansas had a nice body and overall look. Missouri's look was more distinct and unique but she had strong presence, great hair and superb abs. If she did make the top 5, she probably could have taken it all as she has very strong interview skills. New York followed and she was the main surprise this year and she was the next delegate below my honorable mentions so she just barely missed my list as she was a talker and had more of a teen look. They captioned her name wrong though and posted New Mexico's name instead. Oklahoma looked decent. I felt that she could have presented better than she did but she does have a good look being half-Irish, half-Native American. South Carolina had the pressure of being from the state of the reigning Miss Teen USA. No state has won back-to-back Miss Teen USA titles yet and Wesley looked like she was a possibility as she does have a finely toned body. At times, she reminded me of Tara Conner, Miss USA 2006. Tennessee also was a strong delegate being tall with a chiseled frame and nice hair. Alabama has a great body. The hairstyle was deemed somewhat unusual but I'm glad she placed as she wasn't on a lot of lists but I felt she was deserving. Finally, Vermont wowed us with only their third placement in Miss Teen USA history and their first since their only win in 1993. Alexandra Marek was a total find for this state that rarely places and she could have gone all the way so many people hope that she competes for her Miss USA state title in the near future. I'm also glad they took a moment to honor Sylvia Hitchcock Carson, Miss Universe 1967 who passed away on August 16 from cancer. Sylvia sadly became the third Miss Universe to enter mortality following Sweden's Hillevi Rombin Schine, Miss Universe 1955 who passed away in a plane crash in 1996 and Spain's Amparo Munoz Quesada, Miss Universe 1974 who also had cancer passing away in 2011.

In the evening gown competition, the introduction matching the delegates by color schemes was very nicely done and organized. My favorite gown this year was the one worn by Nebraska who unfortunately didn't place. North Carolina was up first looking stunning in her blue gown. It not that often that we see a gown with a belt but she made it work. Arizona also looked regal in another blue gown with a fuller skirt with a slit and ornate bodice. Texas looked sensational in her lovely purple gown with floral prints on the inside of the train and I actually loved her preliminary gown presentation which is what propelled her into my top 5. She toned it down a bit for finals but her walk with her hands on her hips and her look with her hair up was excellent to me. Massachusetts followed in a black gown that I didn't feel she presented that well as her walk was too fast. California's green gown was very similar to the one worn by Georgia's Brooke Fletcher at Miss USA last month. Brooke was 1st runner up at Miss Teen USA 2009 but went unplaced at Miss USA 2015 and I felt it had a lot to do with this gown as the material looked cheap to me. This is also was dropped California out of my top 5 but I guess this gown worked better for Teen but I wished she had picked a better gown as I wasn't a fan of this one. Pennsylvania was truly Princess Jasmine in her pink princess gown. Louisiana's gown was a light turquoise which is a color that really pops on stage. I didn't find this gown particularly figure-flattering but it was teen appropriate and she made it work. Arkansas followed in one of those panty-gowns but this one was more subtle so I didn't mind this one. Missouri followed in a turquoise number that provided a strong contrast with her red hair and she seemed to be channeling Alyssa Campanella's look when she won Miss USA 2011. New York wore a salmon mermaid style gown with which I wasn't particularly impressed. Oklahoma's gown was nice, white and flowy but something about the midsection looked wrong to me. Perhaps if it was a bit tighter and had a bit better structure, it might have worked more for me. I liked South Carolina's cherry red gown with the two-toned train and I felt it really worked for her. Tennessee's gown was also what took her out of my top 5 similarly to California but both of them made top 5 anyway as the only thing I liked about it were the off-shoulder cuffs but I didn't really like yellow color or the lower train or the material either. Alabama's gown was very nice though. It had the nice fishtail design and it looked metallic when the lights hit it. Finally, Vermont looked divine in her navy blue gown with the fuller train and I would have loved to have seen her in the top 5 but alas, it was not meant to be.

The top 5After the top 5 were announced, it was time for a round of questions to get to know them better. First up was Tennessee who was asked what she likes most about living in Tennessee which is also where Nick Teplitz resides. Tennessee replied, "I think my favorite part is definitely how much we've come together after the shooting in Chattanooga. You should see all of the bridges, there's flags everywhere. Every time I drive by, I like to blink my lights at them just to show them that I'm supporting them. We've all come together and that's definitely my favorite part so far. Yes." Massachussetts was asked to briefly tell everyone about her trips to Haiti to which she replied, "Oh my. Briefly? I don't know if I can all fit it in. Um. So I've been to Haiti twice. Port-au-Prince, Haiti. My two sisters who are 26 and 24, they've actually together have spent six years living in Haiti. So, um, you know I don't think I'll carry on the tradition with living there but the amazing experience was going there and visiting just for a brief time. You know these people they don't have much but they're so, so, so rich. They're so rich in Christ and their faith and their love and they're so happy and that's what success is. It's happiness so that is truly the trip that has changed my life and it's who I am today." North Carolina was asked what worked she has put in to achieving her dream of becoming a Radio City Rockette. North Carolina replied, "Right. Well, I auditioned for the Rockette summer intensive about four years ago. And I've attended it twice. I did it every other year and so that's a week long intensive in New York City. And I get to learn from the Rockettes and hang out with girls from all over the country and some of them I've actually competed against before at competitions so that was a fun reunion but um, but yeah, it was just an incredible time and it would be a dream come true to be a Rockette. I think that would be awesome!" California was asked what it was like to be homeschooled. She replied, "Well, actually, I'm no longer homeschooled but homeschooling allowed me to be able to finish high school early and now, I'm officially a college student and I'm so excited to start this new year in college. It's crazy!" Finally, Louisiana was asked the deal-sealer to sing the song of all U.S. presidents in order. Louisiana replied, "Y'all can clap along too, okay? (sings) Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Adams, Jackson, Van Buren, Harrison, Tyler, Polk, and Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, Lincoln, Johnson, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, Harrison, Cleveland, McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama." Not to brag or anything but I could totally do that with all Miss Teen USA winners, Miss USA winners and Miss Universe winners but I'm sure you already knew that...

Katherine Haik is crowned Miss Teen USA 2015The two Katherines: K. Lee Graham, Miss Teen USA 2014 with Katherine Haik, Miss Teen USA 2015After we had time to digest that, it was on to the final questions asked by the judges. Tennessee picked B.J. Coleman who asked, "If you had the opportunity to ask one of our founding fathers a question, what would it be and why?" Tennessee responded, "Oh my goodness. I would ask them why they decided to create the articles of Confederation at first because that created a system that didn't work at all but finally, they figured it out and made our Constitution which we still have today and are still changing all the time to make our country all the better." This was a really good answer that demonstrated intelligence and Hannah delivered it quite well. Massachusetts followed picking Tony Capasso, "As an entrepreneur, I learned that young people often come up with the best business ideas. What's something you would like to see invented in your lifetime?" Massachusetts replied, "Well, I'm actually going to school for Fashion Merchandising and then I plan to study Business so thank you for that question. Um. You know I think young people can seriously bring so much to the table. They've lived, you know, in this stage where everything is changing. And I would love to open up my own business afford, afford, or, provide affordable clothing and cute clothing for girls who can't really get it so businesses really have stepped up their game and I'm so proud of what's it's come and I cannot wait to open up my own." This was the weakest answer of the top 5 as she didn't really answer the question and rambled somewhat. Even in her earlier answer injecting religion seems to be frowned upon these days. Massachusetts seemed out of place in the top 5 but the other 4 were deserving so it was correct to place her as 4th runner up. North Carolina picked Mark Passera who asked, "Can you tell me what the best and worst thing about your generation is?" North Carolina replied, "The best thing I would say is that it's always changing. We live in this technological age where um... When I was born, I had a little Razr phone and now I have an Iphone 6 so you know, you can see how far we've come and so I think that's one incredible thing about our generation. One of the more negative things would be that the pressures that also come from the technology and social media and from girls and boys constantly comparing themselves to their peers. Thank you." This was a decent answer and probably one that was prepared in advance. California picked Danielle Doty who asked, "What's the most important lesson you've learned since competing for Miss Teen USA?" California responded, "What I've learned is how important it is to be confident in your own skin. I absolutely love the motto of the Miss Universe organization which says to be confidently beautiful and that's something that I learned when I was 13. Um, my crush told me that I was too tall and just from that one comment, I became really insecure about my height and I lost that self-confidence and I finally learned to be able to accept that and now I love being tall and I'm here feeling really confident and loving my body and loving my height and I'm feeling confidently beautiful." This was a very strong answer which didn't really surprise me coming from Melanie as her interview skills were really exceptional as demonstrated on stage and also in her close-up video watched prior to the pageant. Finally, Louisiana picked Fred Nelson's question which was a repeat of the question asked at Miss USA last month. "Last month, the top 5 finalists for Miss USA were asked who they thought should appear... what historical woman should appear on the new 10 dollar bill. Who do you think it should be and why?" Louisiana responded, "Well, I would have to go with Rosa Parks as well. I really love how she stood up for what she believed in and I really respect that of her bravery and I think if we as a generation really learned to do that, that we would be even better so just standing up for what we believe in and doing what's right." She probably practised this answer in advance but it wa a strong answer and her confident delivery confirmed that Louisiana was clearly this year's winner.

Finally after West Virginia won Congeniality and Missouri won Photogenic and the montage of winning moments was shown, K. Lee Graham said her farewell in a flowy white gown and the results were announced. Massachusetts was 4th runner up, Tennessee was 3rd runner up, North Carolina was 2nd runner up, California was 1st runner up and Louisiana won its second Miss Teen USA crown.

So our next order of duty in this turbulent year in pageantry is to find out when and where the next Miss Universe pageant will be held. I'm not expecting it to be held in 2015 so it will probably be late January 2016 or possibly even later in 2016 as NBC has cut ties with Donald Trump who co-owns the Miss Universe pageant after controversial remarks made during his speech announcing that he is running for President. These remarks led to a massive overhaul of the 2015 Miss USA pageant at the last minute but it managed to all come together nicely even finding an alternative broadcaster, the Reelz channel. So now people are wondering if someone is going to buy Donald Trump's share of the pageants and one of the more desired contenders is said to be Ari Emanuel who heads one of the leading entertainment and media talent agencies under the William Morris Endeavor but nothing is confirmed at this time so we will have to keep watching the news to see what happens!





Some photos courtesy Miss Universe L.P., LLLP