Cheslie KrystThe power of Kryst compelled the judges to select Cheslie Kryst as Miss USA 2019! (It’s not pronounced Christ actually, it’s pronounced krist with a short “I”) The quick-change artist, Cheslie Kryst who arrived in Reno with straightened hair to compete only a few days later in preliminaries and finals with full diva curls captured a third Miss USA crown for the Tarheel state of North Carolina. Originally, I was concerned that she wouldn’t be sporting her fabulous curls during the competition but she knew to embrace her naturally beautiful curls and it surely helped her. North Carolina also captured the Miss USA crowns in 2005 and 2009 thanks to Chelsea Cooley and Kristen Dalton respectively and North Carolina also placed as 1st runner up last year and that runner-up, Caelynn Miller-Keyes wasn’t able to crown Cheslie as her successor because Caelynn became a contestant on the recently concluded season of ‘The Bachelor’ finishing in 4th place so Cheslie was actually crowned by Kaaviya Sambasivam, Miss North Carolina Teen USA 2018, who finished as 4th runner up at Miss Teen USA 2018 and was my prediction to win that year. Apart from this fabulous distinctive look, Cheslie also fits the accomplished category that IMG is seeking in their titleholders as has become evident in recent years. Cheslie works full-time as an attorney and is licensed to practice law in two states. She earned both her law degree and MBA from Wake Forest University and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor's degree from the Honors College at the University of South Carolina. In her spare time, she also runs a fashion blog called “White Collar Glam” highlighting professional attire for women and even hopes to start her own line of clothing focusing on workwear fashion. She volunteers for "Dress For Success" which is an organization that empowers women to escape volatile situations and achieve economic independence by providing the support and tools needed for women to prosper. Cheslie won Miss North Carolina USA on her third try after placing in the top 10 for 2018 and as 4th runner up for 2017 and even daring to re-use the same gown she had competed in her state pageant in the year before. She was inspired to compete in pageants by her mother, April Simpkins, who was Mrs. North Carolina US 2002. Due to the new age cut-offs that are more with the times, Cheslie is now the oldest woman to become Miss USA winning the title at the age of 28. Cheslie was born on April 28, 1991. Nana Meriwether, was the previous oldest Miss USA titleholder, inheriting the crown at age 27 after the original Miss USA 2012, Olivia Culpo went to win Miss Universe 2012. This is also the first time in history that Miss Teen USA, Miss USA and Miss America were all black. The recently concluded Miss Teen USA pageant saw Connecticut's Kaliegh Garris win the crown and New York’s Nia Franklin won the 2019 Miss America crown in September 2018. To make this even more interesting, Cheslie is actually Nia Franklin’s attorney and the two competed together at a Miss North Carolina for Miss America preliminary in 2015! If the upcoming Miss Universe crowned later this year is also black, that would also be a historical first. Maybe it’s a coincidence but it looks like they have reverted to crowning a Miss USA who looks like she could be the reigning Miss Teen USA’s sister like I have commented on in the past. For example, I felt that Shawnae Jebbia, Miss USA 1998 could pass as Miss Teen USA 1997, Shelly Moore’s older sister and other sister examples include: Miss USA 1999, Kimberly Pressler and Miss Teen USA 1998, Vanessa Minnillo who are both part Asian; Miss USA 2000, Lynnette Cole and Miss Teen USA 1999, Ashley Coleman; Miss USA 2001, Kandace Krueger and Miss Teen USA 2000, Jillian Parry; Miss USA 2002, Shauntay Hinton and Miss Teen USA 2001, Marissa Whitley; now we have Miss USA 2019, Cheslie Kryst and Miss Teen USA 2019, Kaliegh Garris.

The selection committee for Miss USA 2019For those of you who read my first round prethoughts, I associated this year’s pageant with the movie “Sister Act” which was also set largely in Reno and Whoopi’s Goldberg’s character also sported the big Diana Ross-esque diva curls (when not wearing the habit) similarly to Cheslie so it almost seemed to be a case of art imitating life imitating art! This whole Sistah Act in Reno Tahoe saw the Miss Teen USA and Miss USA pageant being held concurrently for the second time after last year being the first with Miss Teen USA being crowned on April 28 and her sister-queen, Miss USA being crowned a few days later on May 2. It all came together at the last minute with Reno being confirmed as the venue after city council approved funding for the pageant on March 28. The date for the pageant was announced on March 18. The rumor of the pageant being held in Reno was circulating for a while leading up to the official announcement but the date of May 2 was somewhat unexpected as May 2 was a Thursday. FOX must have allotted the Thursday time slot in an attempt to boost ratings as they have been dwindling over the years with last year seeing the second lowest ratings in the pageant’s history with 2.35 million viewers but it had some heavy competition on that Monday night (May 21, 2018) but the ratings did improve so it looks like it worked as Miss USA 2019 pulled in 2.96 million U.S. viewers narrowly beating 2017’s 2.9 million, 2018’s 2.35 million and the nearly derailed 2015 on Reelz’s 925,000. I’m sure the international ratings are much higher though. Last year was also the first time that Miss USA was not held on a Sunday since 2008 which was held on a Friday. 2005 was also held on a Monday but the last time Miss USA was held on a Thursday was 20 years ago, back in 1999. The lowest rated Miss USA pageant was the chaotic 2015 Miss USA pageant which almost got derailed when a certain former co-owner of the pageants who would later become President said some stuff resulting in NBC abruptly dropping the pageant to be picked up by a smaller network, Reelz in a last-minute scramble resulting in 925,000 viewers. The highest rated Miss USA pageant was the 1979 pageant which pulled in 38.1 million viewers but 1979 was a very different time compared to today so with a combination of other factors like social media and other competitive factors, those numbers will never be reached again for any special event. FOX came in third for the night but the night was dominated by CBS’ “Big Bang Theory” which pulled in 12.17 million viewers and ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” which pulled in 6.9 million viewers.

I was very happy to see that we welcomed back last year’s hosts, Vanessa Lachey (Miss Teen USA 1998) and her husband Nick Lachey of the boy-band 98 Degrees and they did a formidable job just like last year and as previously mentioned, I hope they stay for years to come. This was also the third time that the judging panel/selection committee consisted of all females, succeeding the finals of 2015 and 2018. The 8 all-female judges in the selection committee were: Nicole Feld – businesswoman, producer, and vice president for Feld Entertainment, Inc., Kim Kaupe – businesswoman and co-founder of The Superfan Company, Ukonwa Ojo – marketing executive for Covergirl, Rimmel, and Vera Wang, Amy Palmer – journalist and media entrepreneur, Hillary Schieve – politician and Mayor of Reno, Nevada, Pat Southall-Smith – Miss Virginia USA 1994 and 1st runner up at Miss USA 1994, Denise Quiñones – Miss Universe 2001 from Puerto Rico, and recently engaged Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters – Miss Universe 2017 from South Africa who tragically lost her disabled younger half-sister Franje, (who was only 13 years old) just two days after judging Miss USA so condolences go out to Demi-Leigh and her family.

The opening number for Miss USA was awesome with a nice little montage incorporating clips from past pageants and a few glimpses and hearing the voice of the longest-serving Miss USA host, Bob Barker, who hosted 21 consecutive years from 1967 to 1987. The historical aspect is important to the fans and it puts it all into perspective for casual viewers so I was happy that they included this. The stage at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno (the Biggest Little City in the World) is critically acclaimed and with the LCD displays, it really made the stage look spectacular. T-Pain opened up the show performing his songs, “Best Love Song,” “Your Friend,” and “All I Do is Win” as the ladies were introduced on stage by a female voice-over artist incorporating some nice choreography.



Winner=North Carolina-Cheslie Kryst

Winner=New Jersey-Manya Saaraswat

1st Runner Up=New Mexico-Alejandra Gonzalez

1st Runner Up=West Virginia-Haley Holloway

2nd Runner Up=Oklahoma-Triana Browne

2nd Runner Up=North Carolina-Cheslie Kryst*

FINALISTS (alpha'l):


Arkansas-Savannah Skidmore

Florida-Nicolette Jennings*

Nevada-Tianna Tuamoheloa

Georgia-Katerina Rozmajzl



District of Columbia-Cordelia Cranshaw

California-Erica Dann

Florida-Nicolette Jennings

New Mexico-Alejandra Gonzalez*

Kansas-Alyssa Klinzing

Texas-Alayah Benavidez

Maryland-Mariela Pepin

Pennsylvania-Kailyn Perez*

Ohio-Alice Magoto

Kansas-Alyssa Klinzing*



Hawaii-Lacie Choy

Massachusetts-Kelly O'Grady

Iowa-Baylee Drezek

Connecticut-Acacia Courtney

Louisiana-Victoria Paul

Virginia-Courtney Smits

Minnesota-Catherine Stanley

Arkansas-Savannah Skidmore*

Pennsylvania-Kailyn Perez

Iowa-Baylee Drezek*


ALTERNATES: Tennessee, Arizona, Michigan, Ohio*, South Dakota


HONORABLE MENTIONS: Oklahoma*, South Carolina, Minnesota*, New Hampshire, Utah


* = made actual top 15

In terms of my predictions, I picked 7 of the top 15 plus 1 alternate (Ohio), 2 honorable mentions (Oklahoma and Minnesota). 4 of the top 15 were in my next tier and they were: Maryland, Hawaii, Nevada and Louisiana. District of Columbia was literally the next delegate after my next tier so this is line with me usually being about half-right anyway. This was a really competitive year but there were some disappointing exclusions but at the same time, surprises are always to be expected. There were stronger girls in terms of accomplishments when we see who ended up placing so I think it's not so much about accomplishments as it seems to be about zeroing in on a winner and filling the semifinals with weaker competition to allow the chosen one to shine. This has often been the case in pageants past like Miss USA 2000 where Tennessee and Kansas were leagues better all-around than the rest of the top 10 that year. There also seemed to be a lot of table-turning with respect to past pageant results. For example, this year had 7 former Miss Teen USA contestants compete (Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Virginia and West Virginia) and oddly enough, Arizona, Illinois, Virginia and West Virginia all placed at Miss Teen USA but went unplaced at Miss USA whereas Maryland and Minnesota went unplaced at Miss Teen USA but placed at Miss USA! The only exception here was Kansas who placed at both Miss Teen USA and Miss USA. This year also had former Miss America contestants compete (Connecticut, Ohio and Oklahoma) also seeing flip-flop results with Connecticut placing at Miss America and Ohio and Oklahoma going unplaced at Miss America only to see the tables turned with Connecticut going unplaced at Miss USA but Ohio and Oklahoma placing!! What happened to my 8 ladies that didn’t place? In yet another sign of the times, my winner didn’t place for the third year in a row and that woman was New Jersey’s Manya Saaraswat who I felt checked all the boxes for IMG’s accomplished titleholder era. Manya is exotic being the third woman of Indian descent to represent New Jersey succeeding Emily Shah in 2014 and Chhavi Verg in 2017 and she had an incredible overall look, body and stage presence and was very intelligent and accomplished having graduated from Bucknell University earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She held a stem cell internship at Harvard University and has been published in several medical journals. I thought she would have at least placed so I have no idea what happened here. I really hope it wasn’t something as trivial as her interview outfit which was a long suit-jacket dress. Next up was West Virginia’s Haley Holloway. As everyone expected, Haley found a high ranking in my list since she was my winner for Miss Teen USA 2013 where she finished as 2nd runner up and I anticipated the day she competed for Miss USA. She has pop-star looks and a vivacious personality and I was hoping she would repeat her success even though she was fizzling for others but as mentioned earlier, there seemed to be a lot of table-turning going on this year. I also worried because she posted on social media about her Fiat breaking down and Fiat was a sponsor last year giving a car to Miss Teen USA 2018 so ladies, please be mindful of what you post on social media. Then there was this year’s most polarizing figure who really presented a conundrum in today's era of pageantry, Georgia’s Katerina Rozmajzl. She was this year’s living Barbie in terms of appearance but she came across as somewhat reserved in interviews and Miss USA needs to be a spokesperson so they decided to take her out completely. I figured having no males on the judging panel would work against her but still I was hoping her beauty would at least be showcased as a semifinalist but it was not to be. Regardless, she has a successful social media following and is an influencer for brands like Sherri Hill who is a sponsor this year and is an entrepreneur who started her own line of cosmetics and helps support other entrepreneurs through the Kiva program. California’s Erica Dann started being taken off lists after preliminaries as some deemed her walk a bit off and her gown could have been better but she does have an amazing body and overall look and she is very accomplished. She went west to become an employee of Google working as a People Operations Business Partner. She holds a Masters in International Business and a Bachelors in Political Science from the University of Florida. I thought her accomplishments would get her through. Georgia and California both had the swollen pouty lip look but I don’t think that judges, especially ones that are all female don’t really approve of that look and aspects that might be deemed artificial should be toned down as a note to future contestants. Next was Texas’ Alayah Benavidez and although Texas is the most successful state at Miss USA and Miss Teen USA, recent years have not been kind to Texas and a placement is not such a sure thing anymore as Texas has only placed in 2 of the last 6 Miss USA pageants. Alayah did hold the title of Miss United States 2016 and had a literacy campaign but may not have been deemed accomplished enough or lacked in interview. She went unplaced at Miss Texas USA 2015 and 2016 only to come back strong and win Miss Texas USA 2019 which is a similar story to Kandace Krueger who went unplaced at Miss Texas USA for several years until she placed and won Miss Texas USA 2001 and going on to win Miss USA 2001 so anything can happen! Massachusetts’ Kelly O’Grady was extremely accomplished so I thought she would be favored in this era. She graduated with Honors from Harvard University with a double major in Social Studies and East Asian Studies. She worked in Corporate Strategy at The Walt Disney Company and she even earned her MBA from Harvard Business School. Her body wasn’t quite on par with some of the others but I still thought she would get recognized but she doesn’t need this anyway as she already has an impressive résumé. Next up was Connecticut’s Acacia Courtney who was strong in all aspects but she seemed to be a victim of the table-turning going on as she placed at Miss America but went unplaced at Miss USA. Finally, Virginia’s Courtney Smits was tall with striking eyes and she did place at Miss Teen USA 2012 representing Georgia. In terms of accomplishments, she has been working five years in the military continuing a long family tradition, serving as a Psychological Operations Specialist in the United States Army Reserve. The military angle made me think of Miss USA 2016, Deshauna Barber and Maine's delegate that placed last year so I gave her a spot in my list as a result. It was unusual to see some ladies that didn’t have as many accomplishments/achievements place over others so it makes it hard to predict and see exactly what they want.

After the top 15 were announced and briefly interviewed by Vanessa and Nick, it was on to the swimsuit round. There was an introductory dance/presentation with the unplaced delegates to Ciara’s “Thinking ‘Bout You” changing to Lizzo’s awesome song “Juice.” Lizzo has done some incredible performances of this song on various talk shows so I hope it becomes a huge hit. First up was Florida who has a great overall look and was more natural with smaller bust and fuller hips. She has strong stage presentation skills. Her tomboy-turned-pageant-girl story must have appealed to the judges which is often the case in pageantry. Nicolette is currently obtaining her Master's degree in Sports Management and shatters glass ceilings by working in a male-dominated field of sports reporting for the NFL team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. New Mexico showed us why she was a runner-up several times at Miss Texas USA (prompting some to call her Miss New Texaco) with a very great toned body and her overall look and presentation skills were also exceptional. She is of Mexican descent and is fluent in Spanish and holds a Master's degree in Accounting and some people think she should try competing for the Mexican crown and perhaps represent Mexico at Miss Universe. Wouldn’t that be interesting to see?? But she has already said that she is content and will not be competing for the Mexican crown. Arkansas wasn’t on my radar until preliminaries where she really impressed with her magnificent body and look. It’s interesting to note that she was originally 1st runner up at Miss Arkansas (America) 2016 and when Arkansas' Savvy Shields won the Miss America crown for 2017, Savannah inherited the crown of Miss Arkansas but didn’t compete at Miss America but performed well at Miss USA. She has a degree in Broadcast Journalism and is currently pursuing her Juris Doctor at the University of Arkansas School of Law. Ohio was favored by others but I thought she appeared rather thin. She previously competed at Miss America 2017 where she went unplaced but did win a lifestyle and fitness award. Alice's main gimmick was promoting a photoshop-free lifestyle by submitting a headshot that wasn’t airbrushed and encourages this when posting on social media. The IMG era of pageantry embraces this natural aspect so she pulled it off. She is pursuing a degree in marketing with a minor in fashion studies and a certificate in digital engagement so while her message is modern, I didn’t think she quite had the achievements yet but others saw it differently. Oklahoma also placed at Miss USA after going unplaced at Miss America breaking an eight year streak Oklahoma had in the semifinals there. She has more of a broader frame and I saw an earlier picture of her at Lake Tahoe with her wearing an unflattering bikini bottom that took her out of my list but this swimsuit was a vast improvement. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and working as a Native American ambassador promoting sports programs. Her multiracial background was also a point of interest. I believe she also has a feather tattoo that she hid well. I just don’t understand why people get tattoos in the first place. Iowa was next and she was very nice and you couldn’t really tell she had an arm injury. I was glad I saw an interview with her online where she was just so irresistibly bubbly and after seeing that, I knew she would place because I probably wouldn’t have put her in my list accomplishments-wise. Minnesota was up next and you might have remembered I had her as my 1st runner up for Miss Teen USA 2014 where she went unplaced so I thought there was something I wasn’t seeing and in terms of accomplishments, she does hold a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree from Baylor University and plans to be a dermatologist. I thought she was more suited for Teen but her body is quite natural with smaller bust and fuller hips. Her mother is Indian so she has that exotic look to her. DC missed the semifinals last year after winning two consecutive Miss USA crowns in 2016 and 2017. Cordelia brought DC back in a similar way that Indonesia did at Miss Universe 2018 after missing the semifinals at Miss Universe 2017 so if Indonesia places at Miss Universe this year, I might have to put DC in my list next year! Cordelia did have achievements as she has earned a Master's degree of Social Work and has a story about being raised in foster care which immediately made me think of Miss Teen USA 1993, Charlotte Lopez. She has more of a smaller frame so I didn’t think she would place but at the same time, I think they are purposefully putting it different body types so maybe more petite girls might think they have a chance? Louisiana was up next and I didn’t think she quite had the accomplishments to place as she is a full-time emergency nurse but she did it after all. She also had a smaller frame but was very fit. North Carolina followed showing us why she won with that fit body with strong abs and that amazing hair and she worked it all very well even getting the wrap off in time. Kansas followed and she was the only delegate competing this year that managed to place at both Miss Teen USA and Miss USA so this says something about her power. I sensed she would place as she is significantly achieved earning the highest honor in the girl scouts and also holding a degree in political science. She is a part-time resident of Sleeping Beauty's Castle in Disneyland and also placed as 3rd runner up at Miss California USA 2018. Alyssa has a knowingly confident vibe about her and she showed that in swimsuit she surely did well in interviews. Pennsylvania followed showing off that long, lean frame as she is tall and moves well on stage being a former ballerina-turned-law school graduate after an injury derailed her dancing career. I was surprised she didn’t advance past this round but DC did. Maryland followed and being of Puerto Rican descent might have helped with Denise Quinones being on the judging panel. She is very much a pageant girl from which I thought they were trying to get away. She is also a graduate of Towson University, where she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies. It’s interesting to note that Maryland has placed in 7 of the last 9 Miss USA pageants. Hawaii was photogenic but not accomplished enough nor did she have the body to go further in this pageant. Finally, the hometown girl, Nevada’s own Tianna Jacqlyn Nomura McMoore Timu Tuamoheloa who is one of very few delegates of Samoan descent to compete at Miss USA. Tianna is very much a fitness buff who works for Top Rank Boxing and ESPN as a boxing ring girl. Tianna also previously held the 2014 Miss Nevada Collegiate America title. I didn’t think she quite had the accomplishments and her face looked long in still photos but she was more telegenic and worked her fit body. I did get the impression though that Nevada’s high placements at both Miss USA and Miss Teen USA were more thank-yous to Reno for hosting/funding last-minute. There was some body diversity going on with this group as there were tall and short girls as well as thin and muscular girls so I guess I need to keep having more of a mix of body types in mind too now. I would like to see more uniformity with the swimsuits as some weren’t as flattering as others but the designs were decent. This year’s swimsuit sponsor was Sinesia Karol with shoes by Lauren Lorraine.

FloridaAfter the top 10 were announced and the video packages were shown, it was on to the gown competition set to Nick Lachey’s sweet performance of “The Way You Look Tonight” which reminded me a lot of the serenades performed in pageants past by artists like Donny Osmond, Jose Luis Rodriguez, John Denver, etc. so this was actually very nice to see and the song choice was appropriate. Maybe Nick’s next album will be a little more Michael Bublé-esque? Sherri Hill was the official gown sponsor designing all the delegates’ gowns. Arkansas was up first in a classic red beaded number and it was perfect for her and really helped her shine. Ohio followed in a liquid-beaded white gown with caped sleeves and it had a choir-girl feel to it almost looking like something you would have seen a 70s contestant wear. Kansas had a nice black velvet with a jeweled cuff-neck and a line of jewels going around the waist to the open slit at the leg which reminded me of the gown Hawaii’s Brook Lee wore when she won Miss USA 1997. North Carolina’s one-shoulder white gown was angelic, almost like it was the second coming of Kryst, and the cascade of rows of beads going down one arm just helped Cheslie shine like the star she is. DC’s gown was okay with red beading also but a slightly different design from Arkansas’ gown but this spot in the top 10 should have gone to another girl like Pennsylvania or Iowa even. New Texa…I mean New Mexico’s gown was the color of joy as Jeannie Mai would say. This yellow gown reminded me of a quinceañera dress and I probably would have suggested a different color but it didn’t affect her either way. Maryland followed in a uniquely-designed, long-sleeved yellow gown with see-through panel designs and a deep v-neck. I was indifferent to it. Florida was just wow, though! That fierce turn with the flared white capes was phenomenal. In preliminaries, the middle panel of this bodysuit gown started off between her legs which looked a bit funny but when she worked that gown and did that aggressive spin flaring it out, Nicolette became the star of the show. She absolutely should have advanced to top 5 and absolutely need more fabulousness like this during gown presentation rounds. Nevada followed in a white bodysuit gown but the skirt should have been lower as it hid her waist and didn’t elongate her either. Oklahoma’s gown was nice with the silver streaks. The shape was classic but the design stood out from a lot of the other gowns.

Vanessa Lachey and New Mexico-Alejandra GonzalezAfter the top 5 were announced, it was on to the question round. This year they had 5 unplaced delegates pose the questions to the top 5 which was nice to give others a chance to talk during the telecast. This has been done before but the questions were asked by the hosts and not the contestants themselves. New Mexico was up first who got Colorado’s question, “The 2020 election is right around the corner. What is one issue you would like all candidates to address and why?” New Mexico answered, “Well, being from a border state and being born and raised in a border city, immigration is something that is very important to me. This is not a black and white issue and that is why we need to have discussions and continue to listen to each other. I think that there’s so many people out there wanting the American dream and my parents immigrated here from Monterrey, Mexico and I am their representation of their American dream.” This was a relevant answer to a topical issue. North Carolina was up next and she got Massachusetts’ question, “For the past two years, the #MeToo and #TimesUp have dominated our national conversation. However, some believe it has only deepened the divide between men and women. Have these movements gone too far?” North Carolina answered, “I don’t think these movements have gone too far. What #MeToo and #TimesUp are about are making sure that we foster safe and inclusive workplaces in our country. As an attorney, that’s exactly what I want to hear and that’s exactly what I want for this country. I think they’re good movements.” Of course, we would expect a strong answer from our winner! Next, Nevada was asked Michigan’s question, “In October, my friend Kelsey Quayle was fatally shot while innocently driving to work. In your opinion, what is the largest contributing factor to the high rate of gun violence in our nation.” Nevada answered, “I think that what contributes to the high rate of gun violence is the availability to all of the weapons. I think there has to be another look into the gun reform and we have to consider mental health in this situation as well because this is not just about guns. This is about what is going on in the, in the minds of these, of these, um, of these people, eh, uh (laughs) Sorry… of these people who are using these weapons against everyone. It’s definitely a mental health issue. It’s not just a gun law.” I think she got distracted maybe seeing something in the audience that caused her to laugh during an answer when she absolutely should not have laughed and she rambled and stumbled through the second part of this answer so it was clear that she would be eliminated here. Oklahoma was asked North Dakota’s question, “Voting is an American right yet only two states currently allow their prison populations to vote. Do you believe the incarcerated should be allowed to participate in our elections?” Oklahoma answered, “Well, when it comes down to this situation, I definite…definitely believe that if you are a law abiding citizen then you have every right to vote. However, if you do anything that breaks the law then you should be held accountable until you are released and served your time.” She expressed her opinion in a dignified, tactful manner. Finally, Arkansas was asked Mississippi’s question, “America is one of the most racially diverse countries in the world, yet it is also one of the most racially divided. Why do you think this is?” Arkansas answered, “Well, I think diversity is one of the most unique things about our country and it’s one of the most special and we should cultivate that. We shouldn’t be divided. We shouldn’t look at our fellow contestants, our fellow man and say, ‘You aren’t like me so I don’t like you. You don’t look like me so I am racist against you.’ We should come together and in… and involve everyone in our lives. I think these 51 contestants that have stood up here tonight represent our country so well because they are so diverse and I think that that is exactly what we need in our world. We need to celebrate our diversity.” This was a fair answer. She rambled somewhat and there was a bit of a stumble but I think the middle bit where she quoted what a racist person would say probably shouldn’t have been included even if it may have been for the shock value as it just gave an uncomfortable vibe.

Top 3-North Carolina, Oklahoma and New MexicoFinally the top 3 were asked the final question, “Millennials are often labelled as entitled but they’ve also been called one of the most socially conscious generations in decades. What is one word you would use to describe your generation, and why?” North Carolina answered, “I would say that my generation is innovative. I am standing here in Nevada, in the state that has the first majority female legislature in this entire country. Mine is the first generation to have that forward-looking mindset that has inclusivity, diversity and strength and empowered women. I am looking forward to continued progress with my generation.” Oklahoma answered, “Diverse. We are a nation. We are a nation of diverse…a multicultural nation which gives us the ability to view life from a completely different lens. At one point, my father who is Caucasian and my mother who is African-American would not have been able to be together but I am here standing today as a multicultural Chickasaw, African-American, Caucasian woman along with my peers able to view life from a beautiful, beautiful lens and that is what a Miss USA represents is a diverse woman.” New Mexico answered, “Impactful. We have the palm… the world at the palm of our hands right now and I think that with youth using it so much today, we are able to send out messages to the younger generations. I know just, just this competition, my following has grown so much and to be able to receive messages of inspiration that I have inspired someone to do something. It might not be necessarily pageantry but in fulfilling a career. I have my Master’s in Accounting so that’s really hard. Um, so, that’s just something that’s so important of our trait that we have and I’m so excited to be able to contribute that to society.” I watched the pageant with some friends and immediately after the final question, I called the results. North Carolina was the clear winner with her excellent, intelligent answer with New Mexico as 1st runner up and Oklahoma as 2nd runner up who both gave somewhat scattered answers but New Mexico’s was less so. Before I started working on my predictions, originally, I felt that New Mexico would be top 3 because she was 1st runner-up to Ylianna Guerra at Miss Texas USA 2015 and Ylianna was 1st runner up at Miss USA 2015 but I foolishly lowered New Mexico slightly in my predictions list when I knew these things usually have a way of aligning, similarly to Puerto Rico’s Ana Rosa Brito placing 8th at Miss Universe 1997 and then Ana’s runner-up, Brenda Liz Lopez would also finish in 8th place at Miss Universe 1999. This was also like Florida ranking over Pennsylvania and over Connecticut matching how these 3 ranked at Miss Florida USA 2018. Interestingly, Florida (Nicolette Jennings) was a runner up to Maryland’s Mariela Pepin when she won Miss Maryland Teen USA 2014 and both Maryland and Florida finished in the top 10. I guess that should have told me to include Maryland… Some of these rankings did also influence how I placed them in my list (i.e. New Mexico over Texas since Alejandra ranked over Alayah when she competed at Miss Texas USA 2015 and Florida over Pennsylvania over Connecticut as all 3 of these ladies’ rankings replicated themselves based on their rankings at Miss Florida USA 2018) but this kind of thing isn’t always the case. After Sarah Rose Summers did her farewell walk, Oklahoma was declared 2nd runner up, New Texaco was declared 1st runner up and North Carolina would capture their third Miss USA crown. Cheslie’s reaction was similar to that of Hilary Cruz, Miss Teen USA 2007 with her face hidden by her fabulous hair.

I was also pleasantly surprised at the dedication at the end of the pageant in loving memory of Linda Bement, Miss Universe 1960 and Chelsi Smith, Miss Universe 1995 who both happened to win Miss USA and Miss Universe and both happened to pass away in 2018. I wish they showed pictures but at least they were considerate enough to do that. Now we shall witness the second coming of Kryst on the Miss Universe stage later this year so we shall see if Cheslie is able to capture a 9th Miss Universe crown for the USA. May Kryst be with you during her reign. Amen.

 The Prethoughts - Miss USA 2019




Some photos courtesy Miss Universe L.P., LLLP