Hosts: Cecilio Asuncion and Erin LimThe IMG era is about achievements and accomplishments over beauty. Kansas has captured a second Miss Teen USA crown (succeeding Keylee Sue Sanders' win in 1995) thanks to Hailey Colborn who was accepted to the prestigious Princeton University where she will attend with a political concentration with the ambition of becoming involved in politics. She danced ballet for 14 years and self love is her platform as she started a mentorship group called SelfPosi where she travels to schools preaching the importance of self love. For the first time in history, the Miss Teen USA and Miss USA pageants were held concurrently on the same stage within a few days of each other and all the delegates were together at the host city which was Shreveport, Louisiana which last hosted the Miss Teen USA pageant in the year 2000. The Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants used to be concurrent events also from 1952 to 1964. I was surprised this wasn't done sooner especially since Miss Teen USA has been off the air since 2008 and is now a webcast but the 2008 to 2015 pageants were held in the Bahamas while a certain president owned the pageants so there was obviously a business deal there. The 1983 to 2002 pageants aired on CBS and the 2003 to 2007 pageants aired on NBC. It is more efficient and probably more cost effective to have it all done at one venue on different dates and even though it could have been quite hectic, it looks like it all worked out so I think the sister pageants should continue to be held concurrently for a long time. The hosts this year were Erin Lim and Cecilio Asuncion and his fan. They were fair but I usually prefer to have former titleholders host as they seem to understand more of what this means for the delegates and normally put in more energy and it seemed to be a bit of a struggle for them to get the audience to interact. The webcast for the pageant was delayed by about 15 minutes and this may have been due to a last minute decision to start the show with outgoing Miss Teen USA, Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff addressing the recent shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas in which 10 people were killed which occurred earlier on the day of the pageant (May 18). A similar speech was given by Kelly Clarkson on May 20 when she hosted the Billboard Music Awards.

In terms of my predictions, I picked 10 of the top 15 plus 2 alternates (Maryland and West Virginia). Utah was in my next tier but the 2 ladies that missed my list entirely were the winner (Kansas) and the 2nd runner up (Colorado). Surprises were to be expected and Kansas wasn't anywhere on my radar and Colorado dared to be different and I guess the judges appreciated that. I was glad though that 3 of my top 5 made the actual top 5 and I even correctly predicted both the 1st runner up and the 3rd runner up. So what happened to the 5 ladies in my list that didn't place? The first was Virginia who was also of South Asian descent like North Carolina and her gown and overall presentation were strong and I thought she would have done well in interview so I have no idea what happened there. Minnesota had a glow about her and a look similar to Reese Witherspoon so I thought her shine would put her in the running but no idea what happened there either. Oklahoma impressed me during preliminaries as her gown was sensational and her overall look was really appealing but her goal of wanting to be a celebrity stylist may have been what it was as I have said before, under IMG ownership, aspirations to be in the entertainment industry tend to be frowned upon. New Jersey also impressed me in preliminaries and she had great accomplishments wanting to be a geneticist and boasting a 4.2 GPA so I don't what happened there. Finally, Texas' four year streak in the semifinals was broken this year and I actually could sense this was coming because her goals were to be involved in the fashion world but I gave her a spot because Texas is the most successful state at both Miss Teen USA and Miss USA boasting 3 Miss Teen USA winners with 2 1st runner ups as well as 9 Miss USA winners one of whom went on to win Miss Universe.



Winner=Kansas-Hailey Colborn

Winner=North Carolina-Kaaviya Sambasivam*

1st Runner Up=South Carolina-Kirby Self

1st Runner Up=South Carolina-Kirby Self*

2nd Runner Up=Colorado-Chloe Zambrano

2nd Runner Up=Tennessee-Sofie Rovenstine*

3rd Runner Up=Illinois-Sydni-Dion Bennett

3rd Runner Up=Illinois-Sydni-Dion Bennett*

4th Runner Up=North Carolina-Kaaviya Sambasivam

4th Runner Up=Virginia-Himanvi Panidepu

FINALISTS (alpha'l):


Florida-Lou Schieffelin

Minnesota-Peyton Schroeder

Georgia-Savannah Miles

Georgia-Savannah Miles*

Louisiana-Lindsey Conque

Nevada-Britney Barnhart*

Tennessee-Sofie Rovenstine

California-Janeice Love*

Utah-Madilen Kellogg

Michigan-Anane Loveday*



California-Janeice Love

Oklahoma-Zoe Ferraro

Maryland-Caleigh Shade

Florida-Lou Schieffelin*

Michigan-Anane Loveday

New Jersey-Diana Smerina

Nevada-Britney Barnhart

Louisiana-Lindsey Conque*

West Virginia-Trinity Tiffany

Texas-Brenna Flynn


ALTERNATES: Maryland*, West Virginia*, Iowa, Alabama, New Mexico


HONORABLE MENTIONS: North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Wisconsin, Nebraska


* = made actual top 15

The choreography was well done for this pageant so kudos to Stephani Kammer for that and it also helped that they had a larger stage for the pageant this year. The long runway felt very Miss America-esque but I actually prefer a long stage at the back so that all the delegates are lined up in a way that the whole audience can see them rather than each one standing in front of another. After the top 15 was announced, it was on to the active wear competition and I liked that they all wore the same outfit this year which was a white sportsbra with a pink horizontal rectangle showing the Miss Teen USA logo in the middle and tight blue leggings with stars on them and the Goldsheep logo which was different from the preliminary leggings which had daisies on them. Having the delegates wear the same outfit was better for judging purposes as opposed to last year where the delegates all wore something different and some even wore jackets... I didn't mind that they came on stage in groups of two and three this time because of the way it was choreographed and the nice patterns on stage. California was up first and Janeice prides herself in being a biracial beauty and boasts achievements of being an honor graduate, cheerleading captain, completed 1 year of college in high school, and is a member of Soldiers Angels, a non-profit organization that sends care packages to deployed female soldiers. She was a strong overall delegate but she didn't advance past this round. Next up was Maryland and I wasn't surprised to see her up there as her presentation was fun and I probably would have been more sure of her if I had seen the preliminaries which were not webcast this year as opposed to having to judge using still pictures. She is heavily involved in politics so I figured the judges would be impressed with her achievements. Illinois was next and this girl was a universal favorite and she is one of the many dancers that did well this year as expected as she also has a powerful aura about her with a very fit body and fantastic overall look. Nevada was next and Britney looked really good but a lot of people were surprised to see her cut in the first round which prevented us from seeing her gown which was similar to the one worn by Miss Universe 2015, Pia Wurtzbach when she did her farewell walk. Britney also has significant achievements as a scholar Honor Roll student, a dancer for fourteen years, and she authored and published "Katie The Caterpillar," a children's anti-bullying book promoting kindness. Georgia followed and she was also a heavy favorite and she had strong goals and accomplishments. She is an aspiring doctor committed to childhood cancer research after losing a friend to cancer at the age of 14 and she has also received the prestigious Gold Presidential Service Award three times. Next up was Colorado, one of the surprises of this pageant and also one of the few to have her bangs down and sometimes little things like that can set a girl apart and make her stand out and she dared to be different having hair covering much of her face for her headshot. Michigan followed and I wanted her to advance to see her unique gown as I liked how different yet breathtaking it was but sadly it was not to be. I guess her shorter stature and wider hips caused her to be eliminated in the first round but she had a great story of being adopted and speaking no English when she came to America after experiencing an impoverished childhood in Ethiopia. Next up was the tall and stunning delegate from Tennessee who is already signed to IMG so she was a potential winner but she didn't advance to the top 5. She had the accomplishments also including obtaining her associates degree in International Affairs with plans to attend law school after graduation and she has even lived in the mountains of Mexico performing mission work with her family in her youth caring for underprivileged people. Maybe we will see her on the Miss USA stage in a few years. Next up was my winner, North Carolina who was actually my winner right from when first saw her headshot and I love her hair and how she worked it and her overall look was excellent. Utah was next and I heard positive things about her personality so that must have been what got her a spot. South Carolina followed which is another state that regularly sends strong contenders and Kirby was also a potential winner with a great overall look and with many strong accomplishments including pursuing a degree in Language & International Trade with a double minor in Non-profit Leadership and Business Administration. She is also a three-time State Track & Field Champion and is even near obtaining her private pilot’s license with only a few instructional hours left before her first solo flight which made me think of another pilot, Australia's Voni Delfos who placed 4th at Miss Universe 1993. Louisiana was next and as the host delegate, she had a great look for a teen delegate and she is also well rounded being a cheerleader whose love for biology gave her the ambition to become a medical illustrator. Next up was Kansas who would win the crown but based on body, she should have been eliminated in the first round but her interview and the fact that she was accepted to Princeton University must have impressed the judges so much that they kept her all the way to the end. Sometimes when a judge has a really positive conversation with a delegate, they remember that conversation all the way to the crown. But Miss Teen USA throwing curveballs at us isn't new as there have been lots of past winners that most people didn't expect to even place among the semifinalists but ended up taking it all. West Virginia followed and she looked great. She just fell short of making my list but I wasn't surprised to see her up there as her grades got her free tuition to Marshall University so she also is accomplished. Finally, Florida has a great body but of most importance, she is extremely accomplished boasting a 5.0 GPA, has performed 700 hours of community service, was the only student invited from her school to the 2018 National Student Leadership Conference for Law, Advocacy & National Security and she aspires to be a lawyer herself with an eye on her father's alma mater: Harvard. She is also active in AT&T's anti-texting and driving campaign.

After the top 10 were announced, there were a few video segments including one featuring the delegates interacting with each other in a speed dating sort of scenario which I actually liked because it really gave us a chance to hear the girls speak and show their personalities so I wonder if they could do their intros similarly to how it was done from 1990 to 1994 especially since it is a webcast so there could even be a short interview segment on stage like there was prior to the year 2000. After a lovely parade of the girls grouped by their gown colors, the top 10 competed in the gown competition starting with Kansas who dared to wear an uncommon shade of green which made me think of another former Miss Teen USA, Iowa's Jamie Solinger who won the crown in 1992 also wearing a distinct green gown. Tennessee followed looking divine in a bold blue fuller gown with a thigh-high slit but she was cut in this round so maybe she was perceived as more Miss looking than Teen? Utah had a dark green ball gown also with a slit but I wasn't wowed by her presentation. Florida followed in a light greyish-blue gown that had a really full train and she carried it well. Colorado followed in a pink gown which was quite open in the chest but she also worked it well. North Carolina followed in a multilayered sparkly blue number which just added to her overall shine and presence. Georgia's pink gown was lovely and it flowed beautifully. Louisiana followed in an interesting two-piece white gown with an embroidered, long-sleeved top showing the midriff and a long white skirt and it was okay. Illinois looked heavenly in a classic white gown with nice, silver designs on the bodice and I loved how she showed off that gorgeous train. South Carolina followed in what looked like one of those gowns one would make for a doll out of tissues but it was spectacular and unique and she worked it well and it was appropriate for a Teen pageant. This year, there were icons next to each delegate's name caption indicating who was wearing a gown from sponsor Sherri Hill. The delegates in the top 10 that weren't wearing Sherri Hill were Florida, North Carolina, Louisiana, Illinois and South Carolina.

I liked the video segments with the former Miss Teen USAs encouraging the current class. After the top 5 were announced, I didn't quite get why they were positioned with two standing in front and three standing behind. It just didn't look right. The girls were first asked a casual question by Erin Lim. Up first was Colorado who was asked to tell them about her recent volunteer work. Colorado replied, "So, I do a lot of volunteer work with kids who have disabilities. They hold a very special place in my heart so everyday in the classroom, I am working with kids who have down syndrome, autism and it has changed my life completely with their positive attitudes and I just admire kids who have disabilities." North Carolina was asked to tell them about the volunteer work she did in India. North Carolina said, "Okay, so when I was a junior in high school, I went to the blind people's association in Northern India and I had the opportunity to work with the kids. I got to teach them stuff. It was really, really interesting and honestly, it was the most eye-opening experience I've ever had in my life." I liked how she described this experience as "eye-opening" when talking about working with blind people. South Carolina was asked to tell them about the foundation she created called "Service with Self". South Carolina said, "Yes, so I created this foundation because I noticed that high schoolers in my area, they really wanted to volunteer but they didn't know where to begin so I created to help engage them in their community and recently, I went on a service trip with Clemson and I went into the island of Dominica and... not to be confused with the Dominican Republic. I know it's confusing but I went over there. It's in the Caribbean and I had an exceptional time. It was beautiful and it was wonderful and we were there rebuilding after Hurricane Maria had hit. This hurricane, Category 5, devastated the island and I'm proud to say that next year, I'll be returning with a Clemson research team to help use the Unicef grant to preserve the native Kalinago language on the island. Thank you." Kansas was next and because she wants to run for political office one day, she was asked if she were campaigning tonight what she would say to potential voters. Kansas replied, "Well, if I were campaigning tonight, especially since it is such a prevalent issue and we are dedicating tonight's show, I would address gun control because children should be able to attend school and feel safe in their classrooms. Thank you." Finally, Illinois was asked what her dream job would be since she wants to work in the entertainment industry. Illinois replied, "I would like to be a dancer. No longer I able to fulfill that dream d... dream due to my torn ligaments in my hip but I'm still going to be in the industry, the entertainment industry because I will be an up and coming model." This answer concerned me not because of the stammers but because under the IMG era, aspirations to work in the entertainment industry tend to be frowned upon.

Host-Erin Lim and Kansas-Hailey ColbornHailey Colborn is crowned Miss Teen USAFinally, it was time for the final question round where the judges did something wonderful which was that they asked questions that were posed to former winners in previous Miss Teen USA pageants which a long time fan like me really appreciates! Colorado was asked a question from 1983 won by New York's Ruth Zakarian posed by Marta Topran, "What is it about teenagers you wish adults would understand better?" Colorado answered, "I wish adults would understand better, um... Teenagers need freedom to learn and grow as individuals. We need to have that independence so everyday we can get out in the world and learn the good and the bad things that we need to be doing everyday. Thank you." I understood this answer that some teenagers sometimes need to be exposed to the outside world and not be so sheltered so it was a decent answer. North Carolina was asked a question from 2004 won by Louisiana's Shelley Hennig posed by Kalani Hilliker, "Do you think your future will be determined by choice, chance or destiny?" North Carolina replied, "You know I'm a huge believer in creating your own destiny so what that means to me is the choices that you make every day, choosing being right and wrong, choosing that you can't be the one to determine your success and you can determine whatever you choose to do is up to you and whatever you're doing is just absolutely 100% in your hands so I don't believe that, you know, there is fate. I believe that you create whatever it is that you want to do." This answer came across as somewhat scattered and she rambled a bit but it sounds like she went with choice. South Carolina was asked a question from 1996 won by Texas' Christie Lee Woods posed by another Texan winner, Crystle Stewart-Sebrechts, "If you could talk to the president about the problems facing today's teenagers, what would you want to discuss?" South Carolina replied, "I would talk to him about the YMCA and I know that seems kind of odd but that's the number one place where I love to volunteer and I worked there, um, at the High Hopes and the I Educate, I Explore ... excuse me, program that helps, um, at-risk children in their communities and if I was given the opportunity to be Miss Teen USA, I would have a High Hopes program put in every single state and I would lobby on Capitol Hill for the YMCAs to continue their work. Thank you." The funny thing is that I've watched the 1996 Miss Teen USA pageant so many times that I can quote Texas, Pennsylvania and California's answers from that year by heart even though it was 22 years ago so if I were answering this question, I could give Christie Lee Woods' exact winning answer but I'm glad South Carolina came up with something original! Kansas was asked a question from 1985 won by Hawaii's Kelly Hu posed by Ashley Fox, "As Miss Teen USA, you can serve as a role model for many young girls in this country. If you spoke to a group of them, what would you want to tell them?" Kansas replied, "Uh, I started an organization about three years ago called SelfPosi because in classical ballet for 14 years, I've grown up as the only African-American in my class so I struggled with some self-esteem issues that I overcame and after doing that, I felt the need to give back so I travel to middle schools and tell young girls how important their self-esteem is and I host a seminar yearly that is free so that any girl of any socio-economic background can attend so that is a message that I would just love to expand to a national platform." The way Kansas answered this question demonstrates why she won. She spoke clearly and was calm, concise and focused. She was even already doing what the question asked! Finally, Illinois was asked a question from the 1989 Miss Teen USA pageant won by Idaho's Brandi Sherwood posed by Brittney Rogers-Collins, "If you could change anything about your life so far, what would it be?" Illinois answered, "I would change the amount I use social media. Social media is a big thing going on right now and often times, girls look on social media as to how they should act or how they should look. I believe if we step away from our phones and take time to meet people in person and look at the actual way we look, I believe that that would make a big difference." Illinois did well here but I think her ranking had more to do with her previous answer.

After the montage of winning moments (minus 2013 to 2016) was shown and Alabama was announced as the Congeniality winner, Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff did her farewell walk. And then the results: the 4th runner up was North Carolina, 3rd runner up was Illinois, 2nd runner up was Colorado, 1st runner up was South Carolina and Kansas would win its second Miss Teen USA crown thanks to Hailey Colborn. Only a few days later, her sister queen, Miss USA was chosen, Nebraska's Sarah Rose Summers who also competed at Miss Teen USA 2012 and Sarah was my prediction for 2nd runner up that year but went unplaced at Miss Teen USA only to win Miss USA 6 years later. Other Miss USA winners that went unplaced at Miss Teen USA include: Miss USA 1999-New York's Kimberly Pressler (unplaced at Miss Teen USA 1994), Miss USA 2003-Massachusetts' Susie Castillo (unplaced at Miss Teen USA 1998), and Miss USA 2005-North Carolina's Chelsea Cooley (unplaced at Miss Teen USA 2000). It just goes to show you how random pageant results can be and any number of factors can affect the outcome. Hailey should have an amazing year as Miss Teen USA and she also won a Fiat car as a prize and there hasn't been a car awarded to the winner for a while. Hailey will be attending classes at Princeton during her reign so it is going to be busy for her but we shall see how she handles it!

 The Prethoughts - Miss Teen USA 2018




Some photos courtesy Miss Universe L.P., LLLP