THOUGHTS OF MISS USA

2021

THE PRETHOUGHTS



THE RESULTS (November 30, 2021)



When you're this legally blonde, they call you Elle!
Ellen Elizabeth (Elle) Smith of Kentucky is Miss USA 2021.

This Kentucky Fly Chica was fingernail paintin' good as Elle captures a second Miss USA crown for the Bluegrass state succeeding the win of a world-famous name, Kentucky's Tara Elizabeth Conner in 2006.
In an interesting twist of fate, two former Miss Teen USA runners-up replicated their Miss Teen USA placements at Miss USA. North Dakota's Caitlyn Vogel was 1st runner up at both Miss USA 2021 and Miss Teen USA 2019 (which matches her fellow North Dakotan, Audra Mari who also placed as 1st runner up at both Miss USA 2014 and Miss Teen USA 2011) and now Caitlyn and Audra now hold the distinction of being the only two women to place as 1st runner up at both Miss USA and Miss Teen USA and they are both from North Dakota! Also of note is that every time that North Dakota has placed in Miss USA history, they have always advanced to a top 6 position. As I said before, when North Dakota places, they place BIG! The other former Teen runner up to match her placement was Illinois' Sydni-Dion Bennett who placed as 3rd runner up at both Miss USA 2021 and Miss Teen USA 2018.

In terms of my predictions, I picked 9 of the top 16 plus 2 alternates (Nebraska and Kansas), 3 honorable mentions (North Dakota, Mississippi and Louisiana) and the two that I missed were: South Dakota and Tennessee who were both in my next tier below honorable mentions.


ACTUAL TOP 16:

MY PREDICTIONS:

Winner=Kentucky-Elle Smith

Winner=North Carolina-Madison Bryant*

1st Runner Up=North Dakota-Caitlyn Vogel

1st Runner Up=Illinois-Sydni-Dion Bennett*

2nd Runner Up=Florida-Ashley Carino

2nd Runner Up=Maryland-Layilah Nasser*

3rd Runner Up=Illinois-Sydni-Dion Bennett

3rd Runner Up=New York-Briana Siaca

FINALISTS (alpha'l):

FINALISTS:

Maryland-Layilah Nasser

Kentucky-Elle Smith*

North Carolina-Madison Bryant

Utah-JessiKate Riley*

South Carolina-Marley Stokes

Texas-Victoria Hinojosa*

Texas-Victoria Hinojosa

South Carolina-Marley Stokes*

SEMIFINALISTS (alpha'l):

SEMIFINALISTS:

Kansas-Gracie Hunt

Oklahoma-Albreuna Gonzaque

Louisiana-Tanya Crowe

Florida-Ashley Carino*

Mississippi-Bailey Anderson

Indiana-A'Niyah Birdsong

Nebraska-Erika Etzelmiller

Oregon-Allison Cook

South Dakota-Caroline Pettey

Pennsylvania-Sydney Robertson

Tennessee-Elizabeth Pistole

Georgia-Cora Griffen

Utah-JessiKate Riley

California-Sabrina Lewis

Virginia-Christina Thompson

Virginia-Christina Thompson*

 

ALTERNATES: Nebraska*, Delaware, Nevada, Kansas*, Arkansas

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS: New Hampshire, Alabama, North Dakota*, Mississippi*, Louisiana*

 

* = made actual top 16






I will post my full commentary on Miss USA 2021 on December 7.



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THE PREDICTIONS (November 28, 2021)

The big night is Monday, November 29 on FYI!
Here come the predictions for Miss USA 2021! The preliminary judges for both Miss Teen USA and Miss USA preliminaries were: Leeanne Locken-Miss Arizona USA 1989, Paul Anthony, Dr. Pamela Price, Chuck Steelman, and Elan Bongiorno. You might have noticed that some of the delegates were out of order and the reason for that was an incentive to sell ad pages in the program book was to pick the order of where you competed in the preliminaries. It's an unusual twist and I almost thought it was because some of the girls didn't like each other (like in Miss Universe 2001 when they had to separate Israel and Lebanon during preliminaries) but I hope they don't continue this as it's confusing and unnecessary. After watching the preliminaries and viewing bios, headshots, some online pics and overall impression juggling other people's impressions as well bearing in mind that there is new directorship for both Miss Teen USA and Miss USA so we shall see how this goes...
After reviewing preliminaries, bios, videos and pictures, I have now come up with my final predictions for Miss USA 2021 and they are as follows!



TOM’S FINAL PREDICTIONS FOR MISS USA 2021

Winner=North Carolina-Madison Bryant

Madison has been my winner right from when she won her state title and that still hasn't changed. I'm very impressed with this lady. She's remarkably tall and telegenic and her stage presence is undeniable. Couple that with her warm-hearted spirit and we have us a very strong Miss USA contender. North Carolina has captured the crown three times: in 2005, 2009 and as recently as 2019 so is Madison about to add another crown for the Tarheel state? I hope so!

1st Runner Up=Illinois-Sydni-Dion Bennett

Stunning Syndi is a very strong overall candidate and she was a favorite when she competed at Miss Teen USA 2018 where she finished as 3rd runner up but will she surpass that feat this time and perhaps go all the way? Her gown reminds me a lot of the sexy gown that Pennsylvania's Brenda Brabham wore at Miss USA 2005.

2nd Runner Up=Maryland-Layilah Nasser

Maryland's delegate gives a lot of people Naomi Campbell vibes but she has reason to be so confident especially in her presentation with that great body as Layilah is very accomplished. She is very active working with the Girl Scouts and works for Google in recruiting and created a diversity talent acquisition team at Adobe and even founded a program to help women break into technology. Maryland's 5 year streak in the semifinals was unexpectedly broken in 2016 but they did come back and place in both 2018 and 2019 so they have placed in 7 of the last 10 years which is very impressive even though the streak was broken last year. Maryland won the crown in 1957 but that winner, Leona Gage, was dethroned shortly after her win when it was discovered that she was a married mother of two boys who also lied about her age. Maryland also inherited the crown in 2012 thanks to Nana Meriwether who was runner-up to Olivia Culpo who would go on to win the USA's 8th Miss Universe crown in 2012. Is Layilah about to get another crown for Maryland?

3rd Runner Up=New York-Briana Siaca

Briana remains among my top 5 picks and she is favored by many also. She has a great body and a captivating look combined with a strong story of being raised by a single father in a less-desirable neighborhood. New York has won 3 Miss USA crowns (1952, 1979, and 1999) and inherited one crown in 1995 and they last placed in 2020 so let's see how Briana does. This gown is quite opulent and her body/catwalk skills are excellent.

4th Runner Up=Kentucky-Elle Smith

Uniquely legally blonde Elle with her curly locks immediately make her a standout and she is winning favor and she is an experienced broadcast journalist so she speaks well and has the goods to do well in this competition. Kentucky won the crown once in 2006 and they last placed in the top 11 in 2015. Will Elle capture a second Miss USA crown for the Bluegrass state?

FINALISTS:

Utah-JessiKate Riley

Raised a farm girl and currently working as a project manager for a supplement company, Beaver's JessiKate slipped a bit in my list after preliminaries as I'm not sure about this gown but her body and overall appearance are great. I just get a feeling of polish and refinement from her. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree emphasizing Violin Performance in 2019 and she has been playing the violin since childhood. She was also Miss Utah 2017 but went unplaced at Miss America 2018 (similarly to Asya Branch who went unplaced at Miss America 2019 but would win Miss USA 2020) and she was also Miss Utah's Outstanding Teen 2014. Utah inherited the crown in 1957 and won the crown in 1960 and that winner, Linda Bement, went on to win Miss Universe. Utah last placed in 2013.

Texas-Victoria Hinojosa

While I still think Victoria looks somewhat thin, everyone seems to think she's a sure thing so I'm going along with it. After prelims, her gown is really nice and unique and her overall look is strong. Texas, the most successful state at Miss USA, has won the crown 9 times. She shoots skeet competitively and holds a degree in Agricultural Communications and Journalism. A placement for Texas hasn't been such a sure thing in recent years but they did make the top 15 in 2018 so we'll see if Victoria can turn this around perhaps in a big way??

South Carolina-Marley Stokes

I will say this gown concerns me but overall, Marley is a very strong candidate in terms of speaking skills, body and presentation and she has always had a unique style going back to her days competing for Miss Teen USA where she placed as 2nd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2016. Marley is expected to bring her state back strong after surprisingly going unplaced for three years. South Carolina last placed in 2017 when they made the top 5 and they won the Miss USA crown three times in 1954, 1980 and 1994 and two of those winners won Miss Universe and their 1990 winner won Miss World so South Carolina's universal pageant track record is one to be revered.

Oklahoma-Albreuna Gonzaque

The hometown girl is tall and striking with a great body and overall look and she speaks well and I think she performed well in preliminaries and should make the cut. The host delegate hasn't won the crown since 1995 so could Albreuna do it? Oklahoma last placed in the top 3 for 2019 and 2020 and they won their first Miss USA crown in 2015 thanks to Olivia Jordan.

Florida-Ashley Carino

Coming fresh off a Miss Teen USA win, could Florida pull off the Miss USA win too for the same year? No state has done this so it would be a first if it happens although Connecticut did win Miss Teen USA 2012 and then Miss USA 2013 so that would be the closest. Passionate about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and helping children diagnosed with mental health issues through STEM activities, Ashley is also among the more accomplished candidates who studies at the University of Central Florida, majoring in Aerospace Engineering. Ashley has been a favorite since winning her state title with her appealing overall look but I'm not so sure about this gown. Florida's streak in the semifinals was surprisingly broken last year so we'll see if Ashley can bring them back in a big way. Surprisingly, the Sunshine state has yet to outright win Miss USA. Their 1967 titleholder, Cheryl Ann Patton was originally 2nd runner up that year but accepted the crown after Sylvia Hitchcock won Miss Universe 1967 and the 1st runner up from California did not accept the title. Is it time for the Sunshine state?

SEMIFINALISTS:

Indiana-A'Niyah Birdsong

A'Niyah's mother DeVeta tragically recently passed away after being in a car crash on October 31 so this could earn her some sympathy points similarly to Nigeria's 2019 delegate at Miss Universe. Although she is petite, A'Niyah is very fit and her presentation in preliminaries with this gown in this nice shade of red really worked well for her and it was enough to make me put her in my list. Indiana made the top 5 last year but they have never won the crown but they do have a 1st runner up with Holly Dennis in 1981.

Oregon-Allison Cook

Allison is quite tall with a great body and catwalk. She also was Miss Oregon 2013 but going unplaced at Miss America 2014 but since Miss Teen USA skewed somewhat interview heavy, I think the Miss America delegates should do well. This gown is very unique and may not be for everyone but I liked how she confidently worked it. Oregon has never won the Miss USA crown but they have won Miss Teen USA three times but Oregon hasn't had much success at Miss USA. Oregon did place in 2018 so we'll see how Allison does.

Pennsylvania-Sydney Robertson

Easily one of this year's most photogenic natural beauties, Sydney was 2nd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2014 where she even won the Congeniality award and her warm-heartedness is just irresistible and she also continues to sport that unique short blonde hair. Perhaps the body/walk might be deemed more Teen than Miss but her look just draws you in making her one of the stars of this competition. Pennsylvania won the crown in 1971 and last placed in 2019.

Georgia-Cora Griffen

Cora defeated some strong competition at her state pageant including Erin Snow who previously made top 5 at Miss Teen USA 2016 and Sabrina Lewis who would win Miss California USA 2021 which automatically makes Cora one to watch so she is among my picks. Cora earned a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in communications and she was also an Auburn University cheerleader. She has worked in various administrative positions and as a legal assistant and leasing coordinator. Georgia has never won the crown even though they have several runners-up and they placed in the top 10 in 2018 and they seem to have a lot of alternating placements over the last decade but they did place last year. How will Cora do?

California-Sabrina Lewis

This delegate has impressive achievements but I don't seem to be finding a lot of consensus on her placing from other. She fell on my list as a result. To win Miss California USA, which is very competitive, is an achievement in itself. Sabrina graduated with a 4.0 GPA from East Coweta High School and also attending the University of California, Berkeley earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a minor in Spanish Language & Literature. She enrolled in a Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at the University of Georgia and also recently placed 3rd runner up at Miss Georgia USA 2021 before winning the coveted California crown. With a love of horses from a young age, Sabrina is also a champion equestrian who aims to run a non-profit equine therapeutic center for veterans and disabled children. California placed among the top 10 last year and they have won the Miss USA crown 6 times (1959, 1966, 1975, 1983, 1992 and 2011) once in each decade excluding the 2000s and now that we are in the 20s, will Sabrina get California's crown for this decade?

Virginia-Christina Thompson

I like this gown but somehow I feel like the judges might deem it costumey. Christina also competed in North Carolina previously placing one spot below Madison Bryant at Miss North Carolina USA 2020 so these ladies will also meet again competing for Miss USA 2021. Christina also placed among the top 16 at Miss Teen USA 2013 representing New Jersey and she is the daughter of Miss Ohio USA 1987, Hallie Bonnell who went unplaced at Miss USA 1987 but Hallie succeeded Halle Berry herself at the state level. Now, Christina has an opportunity to make a name for herself. Virginia won the crown twice back in 1969 and 1970 and had a 3 year streak from 2014 to 2016 but they haven't placed since so is it time for a return?

ALTERNATES:

Nebraska-Erika Etzelmiller

Erika seems to be favored despite not placing at Miss Teen USA 2016 but she could do it but I kept her as an alternate due to this gown and overall impression but her body is great. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May 2020 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and is in her second year of dental school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry. Through that she began The 400 Fund which is an organization dedicated to generating proceeds to provide Nebraska’s underserved communities with free dental care. Nebraska won their first crown in 2018 thanks to Sarah Rose Summers but they haven't placed since and placements for Nebraska are usually rare but will Erika bring them back in a big way?

Delaware-Drew Sanclemente

Delaware placed for the first time ever in 2015 thanks to Renee Bull who made the top 10. Drew is a a medical student and has a decent body but something's a bit off for me and the sash fell off during preliminary gown competition but I just didn't have room in my list of course so this is where she ended up but she could be up there.

Nevada-Kataluna Enriquez

I was hoping a reveal in preliminaries like she did at her state pageant when she revealed one gown underneath another but she wore a self-designed gown with rainbow streams on it as a tribute to her community. Of course, as we all know, Kataluna is the first openly transgendered delegate in the history of Miss USA. Will this Filipina place or will she be given the 'special segment' treatment similarly to Spain's Angela Ponce who was the first openly transgendered Miss Universe delegate back in 2018. I'm leaning towards special segment so I placed her as an alternate but we'll see how she does. Nevada won their only Miss USA crown in 2014 and they have the longest running streak in the semifinals currently placing three years in a row so how will Kataluna do?

Kansas-Gracie Hunt

Gracie is a legacy delegate being the daughter of Tavia Shackles-Miss Kansas USA 1993 and 2nd runner up at Miss USA 1993 and Tavia also placed 9th at Miss Teen USA 1990 representing Missouri. While Gracie does have an incredible body and this gown is reminiscent of the won worn by Peru's Janick Maceta who was 2nd runner up at Miss Universe 2020. Recent years haven't been kind to the legacy delegate so I feel like this is what will happen here so I placed Gracie as an alternate. Kansas won the Miss USA crown once back in 1991 thanks to Kelli McCarty and they last placed in 2019.

Arkansas-Stephanie Barber

Stephanie fell to my alternates list just because I felt stronger about others but she could be up there. She also competed at Miss Texas Teen USA 2017 along with the delegates from Texas and Kansas placing as a semifinalist. She is a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and political science and has a story about overcoming dyslexia. Arkansas has won the crown once in 1982 thanks to Terri Utley and they did place in the top 5 in 2019 so let's see how Stephanie does.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

New Hampshire-Taylor Fogg

I actually really like Taylor's look but New Hampshire doesn't have a great track record and this delegate has also competed in Colorado not winning her state title after three attempts there before statehopping to New Hampshire so I ended up putting her as an honorable mention. She is an athlete who graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Psychology and Business Management. New Hampshire has never won but they did pull off a 1st runner up placement in 2000 and they last placed in 2004.

Alabama-Alex Flanigan

Alex has a great body and she is a pre-law student aspiring to be a judge so she could impress in interview so this is a potential surprise delegate although the gown wasn't impressive to me. Alabama has won the Miss USA crown only once back in 1967 with the late Sylvia Hitchcock who would go on to win Miss Universe that year.

North Dakota-Caitlyn Vogel

An early favorite, Caitlyn seems to have fizzled somewhat after preliminaries. Even though she was 1st runner up at Miss Teen USA 2019, I'm just not getting the impression that she will place so she ended up as an honorable mention on my list.

Mississippi-Bailey Anderson

Bailey gave a formidable performance in preliminaries so she could do it but somehow I'm not getting a strong enough impression from her. She also has the pressure of representing the state of the reigning Miss USA, Asya Branch and Bailey was even Asya's 2nd runner up at the state level in 2020. Successive Miss USA crowns did happen as recently as 2017. Bailey holds an associate degree in Nursing from the University of West Alabama and is completing her bachelor's degree of science in nursing online working as a special care newborn nurse.

Louisiana-Tanya Crowe

Tanya has a decent look and body but I don't like this gown especially this type of fabric and I'm not sure about interview either. She won her state title on her 7th attempt. She is a cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints an holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Southeastern Louisiana University. Louisiana has won the crown 3 times (1958, 1961, 1996) and last placed in the top 16 in 2020.





There’s my list for this year! So we’ll find out on November 29 how I did and who I may have missed that ends up in the mix and who will be Miss USA 2021!

Tell everyone to watch Miss USA 2021 on Monday, November 29 on FYI or Hulu!



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SECOND ROUND PRETHOUGHTS (November 22, 2021)

North Carolina, Indiana, Oregon, Rhode Island, Illinois, Texas, New York, Maryland, Kentucky, Kansas, Nevada, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, California, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Utah, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Arizona, Florida

Preliminaries are on November 26 on the pageant vision website when we will see all 51 contestants compete in swimsuit and gown and then the 2021 Miss USA pageant will air on FYI and streamed on Hulu on Monday, November 29 live from the Paradise Cove Theater of River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Zuri Hall and Patrick Ta will serve as hosts, while Nicole Adamo will serve as backstage commentator. Ja Rule will perform. Spread the word and get people to watch Miss USA on FYI this year!

The ladies are arriving in Tulsa! Until confirmed, we will assume there is a top 16 this year which include the top 15 from the selection committee and a 16th spot for the winner of the Internet vote. It seems like the IMG era of Miss USA which started in 2016 seemed to have more emphasis on interview and unique accomplishments first before body or beauty and a lot of delegates have a background story but we might see some changes this year now that the Miss USA pageant is no longer under the Miss Universe Organization and is being directed by Crystle Stewart-Miss USA 2008 but like always, surprises are to be expected. As always, it's going to be difficult to predict who actually will make the final cut so let's see how I do this year.



I will be posting my final predictions for Miss USA 2021 on November 28 but in the meantime, I will be posting my present thoughts on each delegate.




Alabama
Alex Flanigan

Alabama made the top 5 last year but as for Alex, I do not have her among my picks this year. However, she is a pre-law student aspiring to be a judge so she could impress in interview. Alabama has won the Miss USA crown only once back in 1967 with the late Sylvia Hitchcock who would go on to win Miss Universe that year.



Alaska
Madison Edwards

Alaska placed in 2017 among the top 10 which was their first time placing since 1990 but the northernmost state has never won the Miss USA crown. This year's candidate is not among my picks.



Arizona
Cassidy Jo Jacks

Arizona inherited its only Miss USA crown in 1980 after Shawn Weatherly won Miss Universe and Arizona had placed 3 years in a row from 2014 to 2016 but hasn't placed since. This delegate has potential so she might be more of an honorable mention for me but I'll see if she impresses me in preliminaries.



Arkansas
Stephanie Barber

Stephanie is among my top 16 at the moment. She is a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and political science and has a story about overcoming dyslexia. Arkansas has won the crown once in 1982 thanks to Terri Utley and they did place in the top 5 in 2019 so let's see how Stephanie does.



California
Sabrina Lewis

Sabrina is currently in my top 5. To win Miss California USA, which is very competitive, is an achievement in itself. Sabrina is very accomplished having graduated with a 4.0 GPA from East Coweta High School and also attending the University of California, Berkeley earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a minor in Spanish Language & Literature. She enrolled in a Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at the University of Georgia and also recently placed 3rd runner up at Miss Georgia USA 2021 before winning the coveted California crown. With a love of horses from a young age, Sabrina is also a champion equestrian who aims to run a non-profit equine therapeutic center for veterans and disabled children. California placed among the top 10 last year and they have won the Miss USA crown 6 times (1959, 1966, 1975, 1983, 1992 and 2011) once in each decade excluding the 2000s and now that we are in the 20s, will Sabrina get California's crown for this decade?



Colorado
Olivia Lorenzo

This delegate is currently not among my picks. Colorado last placed in 2012 but they have never won the crown.



Connecticut
Amanda Torchia

Amanda has an interesting background having an Afghani mother and Italian father but I'm not so sure that I foresee a placement for this delegate. Connecticut won their only Miss USA crown in 2013 and last made the top 10 in 2016.



Delaware
Drew Sanclemente

Delaware placed for the first time ever in 2015 thanks to Renee Bull who made the top 10. Drew is a a medical student and has a decent body but I'm thinking so might be more in my honorable mentions region so we'll see if she moves up after preliminaries.



District of Columbia
Sasha Perea

DC has been doing suspiciously well placing in 4 of the last 5 Miss USA pageants and even winning two of those crowns. Will Sasha keep it going? Sasha is of Colombian descent and speaks Spanish and English fluently and has pageant experience placing as 2nd runner up at Miss World America 2016 and previously competing for the 2020 DC and Virginia USA state titles. I think a placement is more of a longshot for this delegate. The nation's capital has won the crown 4 times thanks to Kára McCullough in 2017, Deshauna Barber in 2016, Shauntay Hinton in 2002 and Bobbi Johnson in 1964.



Florida
Ashley Carino

Passionate about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and helping children diagnosed with mental health issues through STEM activities, Ashley is also among the more accomplished candidates who studies at the University of Central Florida, majoring in Aerospace Engineering. Ashley is in my top 10 at the moment with possibilities of moving up if she really impresses me in preliminaries. Florida's streak in the semifinals was surprisingly broken last year so we'll see if Ashley can bring them back in a big way. Surprisingly, the Sunshine state has yet to outright win Miss USA. Their 1967 titleholder, Cheryl Ann Patton was originally 2nd runner up that year but accepted the crown after Sylvia Hitchcock won Miss Universe 1967 and the 1st runner up from California did not accept the title. Is it time for the Sunshine state?



Georgia
Cora Griffen

Cora defeated some strong competition at her state pageant include Erin Snow who previously made top 5 at Miss Teen USA 2016 and Sabrina Lewis who would win Miss California USA 2021 which automatically makes Cora one to watch so she is among my top 10 at the moment. Cora attended Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama where she earned her bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in communications and she was also an Auburn University cheerleader. She has worked in various administrative positions and as a legal assistant and leasing coordinator. Georgia has never won the crown even though they have several runners-up and they placed in the top 10 in 2018 and they seem to have a lot of alternating placements over the last decade but they did place last year. How will Cora do?



Hawaii
Allison Chu

Allison was also Miss Hawaii 2016 but went unplaced at Miss America 2017. This delegate is not among my picks. Hawaii placed last year and they have won the Miss USA crown 4 times with their most recent winner also winning Miss Universe in 1997.



Idaho
Katarina Schweitzer

Placements are rare for Idaho. Although their delegate for last year finished as 1st runner up, I don't foresee a placement for this delegate. Idaho also inherited the crown in 1997.



Illinois
Sydni-Dion Bennett

Sydni is among my top 5 this year as she was when she competed at Miss Teen USA 2018 where she finished as 3rd runner up. As mentioned in my first round prethoughts, Sydni has aspirations to be in the entertainment industry and trained in ballet until an injury so she taught ballet and she also is an entrepreneur. Let's see if Sydni can repeat her feat at Miss Teen USA and there is a strong possibility that she could go all the way this time. Illinois placed last year and they have captured the crown 4 times thanks to Myrna Hansen (1953), Marite Ozers (1963), Amanda Jones (1973) and Karen Morrison (1974).



Indiana
A'Niyah Birdsong

A'Niyah's mother DeVeta tragically recently passed away after being in a car crash on October 31 so this could earn her some sympathy points similarly to Nigeria's 2019 delegate at Miss Universe. A'Niyah is therefore one to keep an eye on so she is among my honorable mentions currently as she appears somewhat petite but she has possibilities of moving up after preliminaries. Indiana made the top 5 last year but they have never won the crown but they do have a 1st runner up with Holly Dennis in 1981.



Iowa
Katie Wadman

I don't foresee a placement for this year's rep. Iowa last placed in 2019 and Carol Morris in 1956 won Iowa's only Miss USA crown and later also won Miss Universe that year.



Kansas
Gracie Hunt

As mentioned in my first round prethoughts, Gracie is the daughter of Tavia Shackles-Miss Kansas USA 1993 who was 2nd runner up at Miss USA 1993. Will Gracie be able to match or even surpass her mother's placement?? Or are we about to get Utah 2017'd?? I have Gracie in my top 16 at the moment just because her mother's performance at Miss USA was so phenomenal that it's hard for me to let go of a great legacy delegate. Kansas won the Miss USA crown once back in 1991 thanks to Kelli McCarty and they last placed in 2019.



Kentucky
Elle Smith

Elle's unique look with the curly blonde locks immediately make her a standout and she is winning favor and she is an experienced broadcast journalist so she speaks well and has the goods to do well in this competition. She is among my top 10 at the moment. Kentucky won the crown once in 2006 and they last placed in the top 11 in 2015. Will Elle capture a second Miss USA crown for the Bluegrass state?



Louisiana
Tanya Crowe

Tanya won her state title on her 7th attempt. She is a cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints an holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Southeastern Louisiana University. Tanya is among my alternates at the moment but we'll see if she can move up my list after preliminaries. Louisiana has won the crown 3 times (1958, 1961, 1996) and last placed in the top 16 in 2020.



Maine
VeronicaIris Bates

Maine has never won the crown but they did have a 3 year streak placing from 2010 to 2012 and they did place in 2018. This is a potential story delegate as she served in the U.S. Air Force and she attends American Military University in Virginia studying health science and criminal justice and after being diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder, she became an advocate for other U.S. Air Force veterans who suffer from PTSD. In 2019, she was stationed in South Korea. This story bears similarity to that of Miss USA 2016, Deshauna Barber. Will it also work for VeronicaIris? I feel like this delegate doesn't have the body for this competition so she's not in my list currently but I'll be watching her during preliminaries to see if she can move into my list.



Maryland
Layilah Nasser

Layilah is among my top 10 picks this year. She has quite confident presentation but apart from that, she has been an active member of the Girl Scouts since the first grade and she has served as a troop leader, president and spokesperson earning multiple community service awards. As a graduate of Spelman College, she landed her first job working at Google as a Recruiting Coordinator then helped create the first ever Diversity Talent Acquisition team at Adobe. She also founded "Queen in Tech Connect" which focuses on helping women break into technology and is an avid traveller. Maryland's 5 year streak in the semifinals was unexpectedly broken in 2016 but they did come back and place in both 2018 and 2019 so they have placed in 7 of the last 10 years which is very impressive even though the streak was broken last year. Maryland won the crown in 1957 but that winner, Leona Gage, was dethroned shortly after her win when it was discovered that she was a married mother of two boys who also lied about her age. Maryland also inherited the crown in 2012 thanks to Nana Meriwether who was runner-up to Olivia Culpo who would go on to win the USA's 8th Miss Universe crown in 2012.



Massachusetts
Sarah DeSouza

This delegate is not among my picks. Massachusetts has won the crown twice in 1998 and 2003 and last placed in 2018.



Michigan
Taylor Hale

This delegate is currently not among my picks but I like that she has a picture of her being held as a baby by Miss Michigan USA 1996, Natasha Bell. Michigan won the crown 3 times (1990, 1993 and 2010) and last placed in 2018.



Minnesota
Katarina Spasojevic

This delegate is not among my picks at the moment. Minnesota won its only crown in 1976 and they last placed in 2019.



Mississippi
Bailey Anderson

Bailey has the pressure of representing the state of the reigning Miss USA, Asya Branch so can Bailey get two crowns in a row for Mississippi? Bailey was even Asya's 2nd runner up at the state level in 2020. Successive Miss USA crowns did happen as recently as 2017. Bailey is among my honorable mentions currently as she has a decent overall look. She also holds an associate degree in Nursing from the University of West Alabama and is completing her bachelor's degree of science in nursing online working as a special care newborn nurse.



Missouri
Joye Forrest

Joye is only the second black Miss Missouri USA after their 2017 delegate. This delegate is a professional cheerleader for the Laker Girls and is passionate about dance but I need to see more of her so I'll be watching her during preliminaries as I'm not really sure about her at the moment. Missouri won its only Miss USA crown in 2004 and they last placed in 2020.



Montana
Jami Forseth

This delegate is not among my picks this year. Montana has not placed since way back in 1958.



Nebraska
Erika Etzelmiller

Erika seems to be getting noticed in spite of not placing at Miss Teen USA 2016 but she could do it so I have her as an alternate currently. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May 2020 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and is in her second year of dental school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry. Through that she began The 400 Fund which is an organization dedicated to generating proceeds to provide Nebraska’s underserved communities with free dental care. Nebraska won their first crown in 2018 thanks to Sarah Rose Summers but they haven't placed since and placements for Nebraska are usually rare but will Erika bring them back in a big way?



Nevada
Kataluna Enriquez

Of Filipina descent, Kataluna is the first openly transgendered delegate in the history of Miss USA. Will she place or will she be given the 'special segment' treatment similarly to Spain's Angela Ponce who was the first openly transgendered Miss Universe delegate back in 2018. I'm reserving a spot for her in my top 16 currently and I'm interested to see if she does a dramatic reveal like she did at her state pageant where she took off her gown to reveal another gown underneath. Kataluna designs her own clothes through her fashion line called Kataluna Kouture. Nevada won their only Miss USA crown in 2014 and they have the longest running streak in the semifinals currently placing three years in a row so how will Kataluna do?



New Hampshire
Taylor Fogg

I actually really like Taylor's look but New Hampshire doesn't have a great track record and this delegate has also competed in Colorado not winning her state title after three attempts there before statehopping to New Hampshire so I have her as an alternate currently but she has a strong chance of moving into my top 16 after preliminaries. She is an athlete who graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Psychology and Business Management. New Hampshire has never won but they did pull off a 1st runner up placement in 2000 and they last placed in 2004.



New Jersey
Celinda Ortega

Of Dominican descent, Celinda has a story about overcoming lupus and is currently completing her second degree in biomedical science at Montclair State University. I don't feel strongly enough about this delegate so she is not among my picks currently. New Jersey has never won the crown and they last placed in the top 10 in 2020.



New Mexico
Christa Schafer

This delegate is currently not among my picks. New Mexico did pull off a win in 1984 and they did place as 1st runner up in 2019.



New York
Briana Siaca

Briana is among my top 5 picks at the moment. She has a great body and a captivating look combined with a strong story of being raised by a single father in a less-desirable neighborhood. New York has won 3 Miss USA crowns (1952, 1979, and 1999) and inherited one crown in 1995 and they last placed in 2020 so let's see how Briana does.



North Carolina
Madison Bryant

Madison is still my winner currently. I look at her overall appearance and her height and strong speaking skills and I just feel like she's the one even though North Carolina won the crown just two years ago. Madison is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she earned a neuro-specific psychology degree and is studying at Chamberlain University where she is earning her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree with an ultimate goal to be a Nurse Practitioner. She also is passionate about volunteering for Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. North Carolina won their three Miss USA crowns in 2005, 2009 and 2019 so let's see if Madison can do it again for the Tarheel state.



North Dakota
Caitlyn Vogel

Just two years ago, Caitlyn was 1st runner up at Miss Teen USA 2019 and Caitlyn just comes across as very personable and photogenic and she is also passionate about volunteering with special needs children and even organized a fashion show for a group she works with. She is also working on obtaining her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Minot State University. Will she match the most recent North Dakotan to place, Audra Mari who was also 1st runner up at Miss Teen USA 2011 and Miss USA 2014? I have her among my top 16 at the moment so we'll see if she stays there after preliminaries. An interesting factoid about North Dakota is that each of the 4 times that they placed in Miss USA history, each of those ladies also made the top 6 in their respective years of 1966, 1983, 1996, 2014 so when North Dakota places, they place strong.



Ohio
Nicole Wess

Ohio has won the Miss USA crown twice (1965 and 1981) and has a very famous 1st runner up with Oscar winning actress Halle Berry and Ohio last placed in 2020. This year's delegate is not among my picks.



Oklahoma
Albreuna Gonzaque

Will the host delegate place this year? Oklahoma last placed in the top 3 for 2019 and 2020 and they won their first Miss USA crown in 2015 thanks to Olivia Jordan. I have Albreuna among my honorable mentions at the moment.



Oregon
Allison Cook

Allison is quite tall with a good body and she also was Miss Oregon 2013 but going unplaced at Miss America 2014. I have her as an honorable mention currently but I'll see if she can move up after preliminaries. Oregon has never won the Miss USA crown but they have won Miss Teen USA three times but Oregon hasn't had much success at Miss USA. Oregon did place in 2018 so we'll see how Allison does.



Pennsylvania
Sydney Robertson

Sydney was 2nd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2014 and she certainly is photogenic and sports that unique short hairstyle. I do have her in my top 16 at the moment but some of her poses seem a smidge awkward and I wonder if her bio might be deemed a bit thin so we'll see how she does this time around. Pennsylvania won the crown in 1971 and last placed in 2019.



Rhode Island
Karly Laliberte

This delegate is not expected to place. Rhode Island captured its first Miss USA crown in 2012 and of course that winner, Olivia Culpo, went on to win Miss Universe and the smallest state in the union also placed as 2nd runner up in 2015.



South Carolina
Marley Stokes

Marley was also 2nd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2016 and she is in my top 10 currently and she is expected to bring her state back strong after surprisingly going unplaced for three years. South Carolina last placed in 2017 when they made the top 5 and they won the Miss USA crown three times in 1954, 1980 and 1994 and two of those winners won Miss Universe and their 1990 winner won Miss World so South Carolina's universal pageant track record is one to be revered.



South Dakota
Caroline Pettey

South Dakota has pulled off rare placements recently making the top 5 in 2018 and the top 10 in 2016 and they had only placed twice before in 1958 and 1974. Caroline statehopped from Alabama to compete in South Dakota where she works as a broadcast journalist. I have her as an honorable mention currently but we'll see if she can move up after preliminaries.



Tennessee
Elizabeth Pistole

Elizabeth is among my honorable mentions currently. She is pursuing a master’s degree in marketing with a concentration of social media strategies online at the University of Alabama to gain the knowledge to grow and develop her nonprofit, The Dancing Divas and Dudes, a dance team for individuals with special needs inspired by her sister, Natalie, who has Down Syndrome. Tennessee has won the crown twice thanks to two phenomenal beauties, Lynnette Cole in 2000 and Rachel Smith in 2007 who recently got married to Mike Weed and reports for Entertainment Tonight. The Volunteer state placed in the top 10 in 2018.



Texas
Victoria Hinojosa

What's interesting about this delegate is that both the delegates from Kansas and Texas competed at Miss Texas Teen USA 2017 (Texas was 3rd runner up and Kansas was 4th runner up) so Victoria and Gracie meet again at Miss USA 2021. Texas, the most successful state at Miss USA, has won the crown 9 times. Texas is among my top 16 at the moment only because others favor her but I don't quite see it. She shoots skeet competitively and holds a degree in Agricultural Communications and Journalism. A placement for Texas hasn't been such a sure thing in recent years but they did make the top 15 in 2018 so we'll see if Victoria can turn this around.



Utah
JessiKate Riley

Raised a farm girl and currently working as a project manager for a supplement company, JessiKate is among my top 5 picks currently as I just get a feeling of polish and refinement from her. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree emphasizing Violin Performance in 2019 and she has been playing the violin since childhood. She was also Miss Utah 2017 but went unplaced at Miss America 2018 and she was also Miss Utah's Outstanding Teen 2014. Utah inherited the crown in 1957 and won the crown in 1960 and that winner, Linda Bement, went on to win Miss Universe. Utah last placed in 2013.



Vermont
Joanna Nagle

Vermont hasn't placed since 1982 and that isn't expected to change this year but they did win the crown back in 1955.



Virginia
Christina Thompson

Christina also competed in North Carolina previously placing one spot below Madison Bryant at Miss North Carolina USA 2020 so these ladies will also meet again competing for Miss USA 2021. Christina also placed among the top 16 at Miss Teen USA 2013 representing New Jersey and she is the daughter of Miss Ohio USA 1987, Hallie Bonnell who went unplaced at Miss USA 1987 but Hallie succeeded Halle Berry herself at the state level. Now, Christina has an opportunity to make a name for herself. Will she go all the way? She is among my alternates at the moment as I'm having difficulty figuring out who to take out at the moment so preliminaries will be crucial here. Virginia won the crown twice back in 1969 and 1970 and had a 3 year streak from 2014 to 2016 but they haven't placed since so is it time for a return?



Washington
Christine Brodie

This delegate is not expected to place. Washington won the crown in 1968 and but hasn't placed since 2004.



West Virginia
Alexis Bland

West Virginia last placed in 2016 and has never won the crown. Their best placement was 1st runner up in 1984. Alexis is decent and she holds a degree in Business Administration and works as a realtor and owner of a women's boutique. This delegate will probably end up in my next tier but if she really impresses me in preliminaries, she could move up.



Wisconsin
Samantha Keaton

This delegate is not expected to place. Wisconsin has never won but they did place in the top 10 in 2014.



Wyoming
Mackenzie Kern

Placements for Wyoming are extremely rare as they have only placed twice (1986 and 2010). This year's delegate is not expected to place.






Again, the preliminaries are on November 26 webcasted on the pageant vision website. I will post my final predictions for Miss USA 2021 on November 28 and then November 29 is the night of the finals webcast airing on FYI or streaming on Hulu so we shall see who will be queen for 2021!



_________________________________________________



FIRST ROUND PRETHOUGHTS (November 15, 2021)

Asya Branch, Miss USA 2020Asya Branch, Miss USA 2020
Who will succeed Miss USA 2020, Asya Branch of Mississippi and be crowned Miss USA 2021??



It Is The Dawning of a New Day
(They’re Here From Every State and Now They’re On Their Way-ah-hey)



I’m opening up the headlines of the first round prethoughts for Miss USA 2021 with a little throwback to the opening song of the 1993 Miss USA pageant because 2021 appears to be echoing 1993 in many ways and it truly is the dawning of a new day. For starters, this 70th Miss USA competition will be the first to no longer being under the umbrella of the Miss Universe Organization but it is now under the directorship of Crystle Stewart who reigned as Miss USA 2008 and is the most recent Texan to win the Miss USA crown and although Texas hasn’t fared as well in recent years, Texas is still the most successful state in Miss USA history boasting 9 Miss USA winners topping the list of Who Has the Most Miss USAs. The official announcement was made on December 31, 2020 on ‘Good Morning America’ and time will tell if Crystle Stewart’s new direction of the Miss USA pageant will be able to breathe new life Opening Number of Miss USA 1993Opening Number of Miss USA 1993in the pageant with new sponsorship and a return to the glamour of yesteryear and hopefully, there will be enough interest to get Miss USA back on to a major network as this will be the second year in a row that Miss USA will be broadcast on the fyi network which is a lesser known network that is not available in all States or Canada or the Miss USA pageant can be streamed on Hulu as streaming is growing exponentially in recent years. From 1952 to 1964, Miss USA was held as a concurrent event with Miss Universe (similarly to how Miss USA and Miss Teen USA are concurrent events today) so Miss USA would compete for Miss Universe only a few days after her national title and this year seems to have a similar setup as Miss Universe is being held in Eilat, Israel on December 12 just two weeks after the Miss USA is crowned on November 29 so whoever wins Miss USA this year will have to be Universe-ready immediately since she leaves for Israel right after winning her title. I’m sure the tightness of this year has a lot to do the Coronavirus pandemic affecting the world but with vaccines now available, the world is slowly returning to normal and you will recall that the 69th Miss Universe pageant was held earlier this year in May 2021. Miss USA 1965 to 2002 were broadcast on CBS, Miss USA 2003 to 2014 were broadcast on NBC, Miss USA 2015 was broadcast on Reelz, Miss USA 2016 to 2019 were broadcast on FOX and Miss USA 2020 was broadcast on fyi as is 2021 so we shall see if Crystle’s Miss USA pageant will be able to attract a major network to broadcast Miss USA again. Going back to Miss USA 1993, that was the last year that the delegates wore state costumes during the parade of nations and guess what?? State costumes are returning this year! Will we see Massachusetts’ delegate dressed as a can of Boston Baked Beans like we have in the past?? Will Hawaii’s delegate be a hula dancer? Will Wyoming’s delegate show up with a giant cowboy hat?? It will be exciting and interesting to see what costumes the delegates don in a more politically correct era and I’m curious to see if some of the delegates go the campy route. I’m also wondering about formatting and if the State Costumes will be shown as the delegates are introduced for the telecast or if there will be just a special segment to showcase some of the state costumes in a dance number as was done for Miss Universe 2003 to 2005. We will learn how it all plays out soon! Pageants seem to have suffered an identity crisis in recent years trying to cater to people that will never watch them so hopefully these changes will appease traditional pageant watchers and let pageants be pageants again.

In September, Crystle Stewart invited most of the 2021 Miss USA delegates to Cancun, Mexico for a four day stay for pageant orientation and this kind of exotic travel for the Miss USA contestants hasn’t been done in quite some time. One of the main sponsors is Crystle Stewart’s Miss Academy which is a training organization and a lot of the delegates got preparation from her team learning about things like make-up, walking, interview and presentation skills.


And let’s not forget the winner of Miss USA 1993, Michigan’s Kenya Summer Moore who has recently starred on the U.S. edition of “Dancing With the Stars” finishing in 10th place which is higher than any other former Miss USA who competed on that show and Kenya’s recent claim to fame is starring on the Real Housewives of Atlanta in recent years and becoming a first-time mother at the age of 47 to daughter Brooklyn Doris.




Bound With Tavia Shackles

Tavia Shackles, Miss Kansas USA 1993Tavia Shackles, Miss Kansas USA 1993This might be a line from the pageant standard bible translation of Mark 5:4 but yet another star from Miss USA 1993, the second runner up and that year’s host delegate, Kansas’ Tavia Shackles has become this year’s legacy story as Tavia’s daughter, Gracie Hunt is Miss Kansas USA 2021! Will Gracie replicate or even surpass her mother’s success? Naturally, there is much pressure on Gracie so will she be able to handle it and make the most of this experience? Of course, Tavia is fondly remembered for being so incredibly well-spoken and remarkably fit and even during the swimsuit take during Miss USA 1993, she stated that she worked with the head trainer of the Kansas City Chiefs and he pushed her very hard that she thought she might look like a linebacker but she didn’t but she pushed herself and she loved it. Tavia was also Miss Missouri Teen USA 1990 and placed as a semifinalist that year at Miss Teen USA 1990 finishing in 9th place stating during swimsuit that one of her hobbies was snail-hunting but she couldn’t bear to eat escargot. She said at the time that she wanted to be a judge since she is diplomatic and that we need more women as judges since they show more mercy and can see things in a different way than men. She also mentioned that she read historical speeches and that her favorite was the Gettysburg address since Abraham Lincoln wrote it on the way to give the address following other politicians and he just jotted it down on the back of a brown paper bag whereas many politicians have others write speeches for them but Lincoln’s was original. A few years later at Miss USA 1993, Tavia was more favored being the host delegate representing Kansas. During her interview with Dick Clark, Tavia talked about working for Public Relations for the Kansas City Chiefs and made sure that the media had the credentials to interview sports players in the locker room or on the field which was fun and she organized player appearances and she likened it to a pageant contestant’s media appearances. When asked if an athlete has a responsibility to be a role model for children, Tavia answered, “I think that anyone who’s in the public eye definitely has a responsibility to set a good example and I think that most of the players of the Kansas City Chiefs realize that and they’re very involved in community activities. They take up great charitable causes and they’re great representatives so…” Tavia would finish 2nd in the semifinal interview competition with her strong speaking skills. When she got to the top 6 round of judges’ questions, Tavia was asked by judge Mitzi Kapture, “If you were a victim of sexual harassment on the job, would you quit, keep quiet, or fight it?” Tavia replied, “Well, I would definitely fight it. I think that victims need to stand up for their rights and with as much publicity as sexual harassment is getting now, I think it’s important for ladies in the workplace to take a stand and to show that we believe in ourselves and that we know who we are and that we don’t have to take… we don’t have to take sexual harassment and that we won’t and I would stand up and be an example for other women.” This phenomenal, dynamic answer propelled Tavia to the top easily getting the highest scores of the top 6 for this round of judges’ questions. Finally, as Tavia advanced to the final 3, she was asked the final question, “What do you think the judges see in you that brought you to the final 3 tonight?” Tavia answered, “Well, I hope that they see my genuineness. I feel like I’m an example of some high standards. I have high morals for myself. I hope that they see that I’m someone who not only talks the talk but someone who walks the walk and I hope that… and I hope that they remember that um, I really am just Tavia Shackles being myself here for you tonight and I’m a real person and, and I hope that everybody leaves with a little piece of, of me in your heart.” Perhaps the delivery was a little less confident in the end but Tavia would have to settle for a third place finish behind Georgia’s Erin Nance and Michigan’s Kenya Moore who became Miss USA 1993. Gracie Hunt, Miss Kansas USA 2021Gracie Hunt, Miss Kansas USA 2021 with her mother Tavia Shackles, Miss Kansas USA 1993, father and siblings It should also be noted that Tavia wore a very popular gown at the time which would later be worn by Chelsi Smith-Miss Universe 1995 when Chelsi won the 1995 Miss Texas USA title and this similar style of gown was also worn by Patricia Buchanan who was first runner up at Miss Texas USA 1994. Now, we get to see if Gracie Hunt will match her mother’s excellence at this year’s Miss USA 2021 competition. Gracie has competed in various other state pageants in the Teen division placing as a semifinalist at Miss Texas Teen USA 2018 and as 4th runner up at Miss Texas Teen USA 2017 before winning the Miss Kansas USA state title for 2021 so hopefully she will remember not to suck in so much that her ribs are showing. I feel like we’ve have had the whole ribs-sticking-out conversation before… I’m recalling: Colorado Teen USA 1998, Michigan USA 1999 and Georgia USA 2004. You should not have to suck in but if you do, remember to clamp down the ribs too! Gracie also comes from a more privileged background and we have seen past instances where a legacy contestant doesn’t place at all such as Utah’s 2017 delegate who was the daughter of Miss USA 1989 but then again, sometimes the tables turn and the daughter of the unplaced 1982 North Carolina delegate wins Miss USA 2009 but then another daughter of that same delegate doesn’t place in 2015. It’s funny how beauty runs in the family but so many different factors can bring about any number of results. Gracie is currently pursuing her Masters’ degree in Sport Management at the University of Kansas and also does promotional and brand development work for the Kansas City Chiefs very much like her mother and she even runs her own lifestyle blog. She is an honors graduate from Southern Methodist University holding degrees in Sport Management and Broadcast Journalism. She volunteers for the Special Olympics and even the reigning Miss USA, Asya Branch was invited by her family to sing the national at a Kansas City Chiefs preseason game in late August.
I should also mention here that another of this year’s legacy delegates is Virginia’s Christina Thompson who also represented New Jersey at Miss Teen USA 2013 placing among the top 16. Christina is the daughter of Hallie Bonnell, Miss Ohio USA 1987 who went unplaced during her year at Miss USA.
Will Kansas’ Gracie Hunt carry on her mother Tavia’s success in pageantry or even surpass her? We will find out on November 29th!



OOOOOOOOOOOOklahoma
Where the Wind Comes Sweepin' Down the Plain


Zuri HallPatrick TaA boomer sooner through and through, Oklahoma is hosting the Miss USA pageant for the first time on November 29, 2021 at the Paradise Cove Theater of River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa. The competition will be hosted by some new names on the pageant scene, Zuri Hall and Patrick Ta, with Nicole Adamo serving as a lounge host so we shall see how they fare and they have returned to including male judges this year! Male judges were excluded from the selection committee starting in 2018 but they are back this year. The judges include: Haley O’Brien Kalil-Miss Minnesota USA 2014 and Miss Minnesota Teen USA 2010, Natalía Barulích, Sophie Elgort, Chloe Flower, Ty Hunter, Alton Mason, Pascal Mouawad, and Oliver Trevena.
Oklahoma-Albreuna GonzaqueOklahoma’s Albreuna Gonzaque is this year’s host delegate and even though Oklahoma has won the Miss America crown six times, Oklahoma has only won the Miss USA crown once which was back in 2015 thanks to Olivia Jordan. In fact, Albreuna has been competing since 2015 for the Oklahoma title when she was 3rd runner up to Olivia Jordan and placing as a runner up every year except 2019 until her win for 2021! Albreuna obviously hopes to win the Miss USA crown in her home state and while it is a rare occurrence, the host delegate has won the Miss USA crown four times before with: Texas’ Chelsi Smith in 1995, Kansas’ Kelli McCarty in 1991, Texas’ Courtney Gibbs in 1988 and California’s Terry Lynn Huntingdon in 1959. Albreuna succeeds Miss Oklahoma USA 2020, Mariah Davis, who placed as the second runner-up at Miss USA 2020 and Oklahoma’s Triana Browne also placed as 2nd runner up in 2019 so Albreuna hopes to keep the streak going. Other states with a two year streak include Hawaii, Louisiana, District of Columbia and Ohio but Nevada has the current longest running semifinalist streak at Miss USA placing three years in a row. Coming from the city of Edmond, Albreuna is 27-years-old and stands 5’9” tall. She graduated with a degree in Mass Communication and Media studies from the University of Central Oklahoma and worked as a social media coordinator at Remington Park Racetrack Casino. Albreuna established the Just Veg Kitchen in 2020 and she encourages others to embrace their imperfections as those are the marks of authenticity. It has been 26 years since the host delegate won the Miss USA crown so will Albreuna change that this year?



Trans-Substantiation


In a historic first, the Miss USA pageant will welcome its first openly transgendered delegate with Nevada’s Kataluna Enriquez. Kataluna is of Filipina descent and also competed at Miss California USA 2020 going unplaced but she came back with a vengeance and a self-made spectacular wardrobe even doing a dramatic reveal during the Miss Nevada USA state pageant similar to those one would regularly see on Rupaul’s Drag Race where she appeared in a white frilly gown only to dramatically reveal a glittery gold and silver gown underneath resulting in massive applause from the audience. Nevada-Kataluna EnriquezNevada-Kataluna Enriquez Kataluna would even change yet again in another gown with rainbow colors for her crowning demonstrating her true pride. Will the dramatic presentation and the hard-work put in to making the wardrobe pay off in the end and could Kataluna be the first openly transgendered Miss USA??? Or will she get the “special segment” treatment and not place at all like the first openly transgendered Miss Universe delegate, Spain’s Angela Ponce in 2018?
Kataluna was born in the Philippines and emigrated to the United States with her family when she was 10 years of age and she is also the eldest of seven siblings. Kataluna has been quite open speaking publicly about the negative high school experiences she encountered surviving bullying, abuse, and discrimination as a result of her gender identity in addition to her positive experiences with mental health therapy during childhood. Enriquez would go on to study fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Pageantry has created a platform for Kataluna to advocate for inclusivity and diversity, and to promote transgender rights and support for LGBTQ+ youth. She also uses her social media to promote the hashtag #BEVISIBLE, combatting hate. Kataluna also works as a healthcare administrator. She started competing in transgender pageants in 2015 while being employed as a model. She has previously won Queen California, Queen USA 2016 and Super Sireyna WWUSA but she went unplaced when she competed at Miss California USA 2020 before state-hopping to Nevada to capture that coveted state title. When Kataluna first began competing in pageants, she was unable to afford custom designer gowns which prompted her to start designing her own outfits and later started her own fashion line, Kataluna Kouture.
Nevada currently holds the longest streak in the Miss USA semifinals placing every year since 2018 so Kataluna obviously hopes to make it four years in a row for the Silver State. Will she do it and possibly be the first openly transgendered Miss USA resulting in her becoming the second openly transgendered Miss Universe delegate after Spain’s Angela Ponce in 2018??





Revenge of the Teen Runners-Up

Four of this year’s delegates for Miss USA 2021 have previously achieved notable runner-up positions at Miss Teen USA but oddly enough, there have been past instances where a delegate is successful at Miss Teen USA but unsuccessful at Miss USA (i.e. Miss Teen USA 1983-New York’s Ruth Zakarian went unplaced at Miss USA 1984 as did Miss Teen USA 1984-Illinois’ Cherise Haugen, Tennessee’s Molly Brown-2nd runner up at Miss Teen USA 1984 but unplaced at Miss USA 1987, Miss Teen USA 1986-Oklahoma’s Allison Brown went unplaced at Miss USA 1987, Alabama’s Anna Mingus-4th runner up at Miss Teen USA 1988 but unplaced at Miss USA 1995, Georgia’s Holly Roehl-2nd runner up but 8th place at Miss USA 1996, Pennsylvania’s Susan Barnett-top 6 at Miss Teen USA 1990 but unplaced at Miss USA 1996, Georgia’s Meredith Young-1st runner up at Miss Teen USA 1991 but unplaced at Miss USA 1999, Iowa’s Jamie Solinger-Miss Teen USA 1992 but unplaced at Miss USA 1998, Georgia’s Denesha Reed-top 6 at Miss Teen USA 1993 but unplaced at Miss USA 1997, Tennessee’s Allison Alderson-top 6 at Miss Teen USA 1994 but unplaced at Miss USA 2002, Oklahoma’s Amanda Penix-top 6 at Miss Teen USA 1997 but unplaced at Miss USA 2000, Nevada’s Victoria Franklin-2nd runner up at Miss Teen USA 1998 but unplaced at Miss USA 2004, Arizona’s Danielle Demski-top 5 at Miss Teen USA 1999 but top 15 at Miss USA 2004, New York’s Gloria Almonte-1st runner up at Miss Teen USA 2001 but unplaced at Miss USA 2007, Massachusetts’ Jacqueline Bruno-top 5 at Miss Teen USA 2003 but top 10 at Miss USA 2008, Georgia’s Brittany Sharp-top 5 at Miss Teen USA 2006 but unplaced at Miss USA 2013, North Carolina’s Katie Coble-2nd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2007 but unplaced at Miss USA 2017, West Virginia’s Chelsea Welch-4th runner up at Miss Teen USA 2007 but top 15 at Miss USA 2013, North Carolina’s Julia Dalton-2nd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2008 but unplaced at Miss USA 2015, Georgia’s Brooke Fletcher-1st runner up at Miss Teen USA 2009 but unplaced at Miss USA 2015, Maryland’s Kasey Stanisewski-3rd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2009 but top 15 at Miss USA 2013, Illinois’ Lexi Atkins-1st runner up at Miss Teen USA 2010 but unplaced at Miss USA 2014, Utah’s Angelia Layton-3rd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2010 but unplaced at Miss USA 2014, Mississippi’s Haley Sowers-4th runner up at Miss Teen USA 2010 but unplaced at Miss USA 2016, Missouri’s Sydnee Stottlemyre-4th runner up at Miss Teen USA 2011 but top 10 at Miss USA 2016, South Carolina’s Tori Sizemore-1st runner up at Miss Teen USA 2013 but unplaced at Miss USA 2018, West Virginia’s Haley Holloway-2nd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2013 but unplaced at Miss USA 2019, North Carolina’s Jane Axhoj-2nd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2015 but unplaced at Miss USA 2020,
IllinoisNorth Dakotaor they have similar placements placing in the top 5 at both Miss Teen USA and Miss USA (i.e. Hawaii’s Kelly Hu-Miss Teen USA 1985 who finished 4th at Miss USA 1993, Idaho’s Brandi Sherwood-Miss Teen USA 1989 who was 1st runner up at Miss USA 1997 but would inherit that crown after Brook Lee won Miss Universe 1997, Kansas’ Danielle Boatwright-2nd runner up at Miss Teen USA 1992 and 1st runner up at Miss USA 1996, Indiana’s Kelly Lloyd-1st runner up at Miss Teen USA 1993 and 2nd runner up at Miss USA 2002, California’s Shauna Gambill-Miss Teen USA 1994 and 1st runner up at Miss USA 1998, Missouri’s Tiffany Meyer-top 6 at Miss Teen USA 1994 and top 5 at Miss USA 2000, Tennessee’s Lynnette Cole-4th at Miss Teen USA 1995 and winner of Miss USA 2000, Texas’ Nicole O’Brian-1st runner up at Miss Teen USA 2000 and 2nd runner up at Miss USA 2003, Kentucky’s Kristen Johnson-2nd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2000 and 2nd runner up at Miss USA 2005, Kentucky’s Tara Conner-2nd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2002 and winner of Miss USA 2006, Nevada’s Helen Salas-2nd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2004 and 4th runner up at Miss USA 2007, Virginia’s Samantha Casey-3rd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2006 and 2nd runner up at Miss USA 2010, New Jersey’s Alyssa Campanella-1st runner up at Miss Teen USA 2007 and winner of Miss USA 2011, Louisiana’s Brittany Guidry-4th runner up at Miss Teen USA 2009 and 3rd runner up at Miss USA 2014, North Dakota’s Audra Mari-1st runner up at Miss Teen USA 2011 and 1st runner up at Miss USA 2014,
and even some delegates that didn’t place or finished lower at Miss Teen USA are very successful at Miss USA (i.e. Oklahoma’s Julie Khourey-unplaced at Miss Teen USA 1985 but top 6 at Miss USA 1991, Kansas’ Kimberlee Girrens-unplaced at Miss Teen USA 1986 but top 6 at Miss USA 1992, Georgia’s Erin Nance-unplaced at Miss Teen USA 1988 but 1st runner up at Miss USA 1993, Kansas’ Tavia Shackles-9th at Miss Teen USA 1990 but 2nd runner up at Miss USA 1993, Louisiana’s Ali Landry-7th at Miss Teen USA 1990 but winner of Miss USA 1996, Utah’s Melissa Anderson-unplaced at Miss Teen USA 1990 but top 5 at Miss USA 1998, Rhode Island’s Shanna Moakler-7th at Miss Teen USA 1992 but 1st runner up at Miss USA 1995 but would inherit that crown after Chelsi Smith won Miss Universe 1995, North Dakota’s Juliette Spier-unplaced at Miss Teen USA 1992 but top 6 at Miss USA 1996, South Carolina’s Lauren Poppell-top 12 at Miss Teen USA 1993 but top 5 at Miss USA 1999, Missouri’s Melanie Breedlove-unplaced at Miss Teen USA 1993 but 2nd runner up at Miss USA 1998, New York’s Kimberly Pressler-unplaced at Miss Teen USA 1994 but winner of Miss USA 1999, Missouri’s Larissa Meek-unplaced at Miss Teen USA 1997 but top 5 at Miss USA 2001, Connecticut’s Alita Dawson-unplaced at Miss Teen USA 1997 but top 5 at Miss USA 2002, Massachusetts’ Susie Castillo-unplaced at Miss Teen USA 1998 but winner of Miss USA 2003, Ohio’s Stacy Offenberger-unplaced at Miss Teen USA 1998 but top 5 at Miss USA 2006, North Carolina’s Chelsea Cooley-unplaced at Miss Teen USA 2000 but won Miss USA 2005, Tennessee’s Rachel Smith-top 10 at Miss Teen USA 2002 but winner of Miss USA 2007, Oklahoma’s Morgan Woolard-top 15 at Miss Teen USA 2006 but 1st runner up at Miss USA 2010, Tennessee’s Ashley Durham-unplaced at Miss Teen USA 2006 but 1st runner up at Miss USA 2011, South Carolina’s Megan Pinckney-unplaced at Miss Teen USA 2010 but 5th runner up at Miss USA 2014, Alabama’s Peyton Brown-top 16 at Miss Teen USA 2012 but top 5 at Miss USA 2016, Idaho’s Kimberly Layne-unplaced at Miss Teen USA 2012 but 1st runner up at Miss USA 2020, Nebraska’s Sarah Rose Summers-unplaced at Miss Teen USA 2012 but winner of Miss USA 2018, and Virginia’s Caelynn Miller-Keyes-unplaced at Miss Teen USA 2013 but 1st runner up at Miss USA 2018.
Whoa! That’s a lot of names!! It’s a mixed bag so it’s unusual how one pageant can have completely different results than another. So what does fate have in store for the 2021 Miss USA delegates who all previously finished in the top 5 at Miss Teen USA which would be the delegates from Illinois, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and South Carolina??
First up, Illinois’ Sydni-Dion Bennett is a major contender for this year’s Miss USA crown. Finishing as 3rd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2018, Sydni was very vocal about her aspirations to get into the entertainment industry and that still hasn’t changed! Very accustomed to the spotlight, Sydni was the first African-American to win the Miss Illinois Teen USA title and she attended Chicago Academy for the Arts where she was a dance major focusing on ballet and instructed ballet at Perfection Dance Artistry and Company dance studio. She also prides herself in creating her own company, Diverse Style by Sydni Dion, which brought to the forefront the changes needed in the way the color "nude" was perceived in pageantry. Sydni Dion now uses her business as a platform to promote diversity and inclusivity in the pageant industry. Illinois has won the Miss USA crown four times but none since 1974 and their successes in recent years have been sporadic but Sydni has the opportunity to turn that around in a big way. Can she do it??
PennsylvaniaSouth CarolinaNorth Dakota’s Caitlyn Vogel is one of the more recent delegates to have competed at Miss Teen USA earning her 1st runner up placement just two years ago in 2019! Will she follow in the footsteps of fellow North Dakotan, Audra Mari who is the only woman in history to place as 1st runner up at both Miss Teen USA and Miss USA? Or could Caitlyn take it all? Oddly enough, the Peace Garden state of North Dakota has never won the Miss USA crown but their four placements (in 1966, 1983, 1996 and 2011) were all in the top 6! When North Dakota places, they place BIG and Caitlyn hopes to continue that tradition! Caitlyn is passionate about working with children with disabilities and considers one of her biggest accomplishments to be founding a fashion show for girls with disabilities her senior year of high school. She is attending Minot State University in the nursing program. She strives to work in the obstetrician-gynecologist.field specializing in mental and physical disabilities.
Pennsylvania’s Sydney Robertson previously competed at Miss Teen USA 2014 where she placed as 2nd runner up and she was a standout there due to her short hair and stunning visage and many people are pleased to see her return with her trademark hairstyle. Pennsylvania has only won the Miss USA crown once back in 1971 thanks to the recently deceased Michele McDonald and they aren’t among the regularly placing states but Sydney hopes to turn that around this year.
Finally, South Carolina’s Marley Stokes previously placed as 2nd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2016 and a very interesting table-turning incident happened at Miss South Carolina USA because Marley’s runner up happened to be Emily Wakeman who was 1st runner up at Miss Teen USA 2016 but representing North Carolina so one would think that Emily was going to rank over Marley since it happened at Miss Teen USA 2016 but it was the other way around and Emily had to settle for the runner-up position but we might be seeing Emily on the Miss USA stage in the near future so we’ll keep an eye out for her! Marley seems to check a lot of boxes for this year as she is accomplished being a licensed phlebotomist and she has spent much of the pandemic administering COVID-19 antibody tests. In 2019, she attended the Makeup Forever Academy in New York City and now works as a part-time makeup artist. Marley is also passionate about dancing and she has trained in dance for more than ten years. She has studied dance in New York City with the Rockettes, Broadway Dance Center, and Steps on Broadway. She was also diagnosed in elementary school with learning disabilities and actively shares her story throughout various elementary schools encouraging children to colorfully express themselves through her “Crayons for Kids” program. “Crayons for Kids” began as a middle school community service project and eventually was shared with children throughout the state of South Carolina. Marley is certainly one to watch this year as South Carolina is one of the more successful states at Miss USA even boasting two Miss Universe winners (Miriam Stevenson in 1954 and Shawn Weatherly in 1980) and even a Miss World winner (Gina Tolleson in 1990). Recent years haven’t been kind to the Palmetto state as they haven’t placed since 2017 but Marley is expected to bring South Carolina back in a big way but can she take it all???



Kentucky Fly Chica


When you’re this legally blonde, they call you Elle. Kentucky’s Ellen Elizabeth “Elle” Smith from Germantown seems to be winning a lot of favor this year with her exotic looks but apart from that, this woman also the speaking skills that the job of Miss USA requires. In 2019, Smith worked as a college associate in Fox News‘s bureau in the District of Columbia. She also worked as a videography intern in Arkansas and even studied in Florence, Italy for a semester. In May of 2020, Smith graduated from the University of Kentucky’s School of Journalism and Media in Lexington obtaining a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in political science. She was the vice president of the university’s National Association of Black Journalists chapter. In October 2020, Smith gained employment as a reporter at WHAS11 News which is an affiliate of the ABC television network licensed to Louisville. Her specialization is in the region of Southern Indiana. Kentucky has only won the Miss USA crown once which was in 2006 with the headliner Tara Elizabeth Conner so will another woman with Elizabeth as her middle name representing Kentucky be able to repeat this feat? Will Kentucky also make a strong comeback after not placing since 2015? If Elle does win the crown, it will be finger-nail paintin’ good!



For Whom the Natasha Bell Tolls


Natasha Bell-Miss Michigan USA 1996MichiganRemember Miss Michigan USA 1996, Natasha Bell with the moaning dog?? Well, here’s a great picture of Miss Michigan USA 1996 holding Miss Michigan USA 2021, Taylor Hale as a baby! Don’t you love to see pictures like this?! Of course, Natasha would finish in 5th place at Miss USA 1996. During her interview at Miss USA 1996 with one of the best pageant hosts ever, Bob Goen, Natasha talked about showing horses since she got her first horse at age 14 and Bob commented that Natasha seemed very optimistic and upbeat as a result and she said it was a lot of fun having horses and it was a challenge and you have to be upbeat to deal with an Arabian horse like hers. When asked about why the world is pessimistic, Natasha replied, "I think the world in my view is striving for perfection. I mean Americans are seeing all these problems out in the world and they’re hitting them head on. They’re not leaving them alone because if they left the problem alone, then there would be a problem." Natasha was then asked about her moaning dog. She said that she had a Dalmatian that was abused and everytime he sees Natasha when she comes home, he would be so happy that they would start cuddling and moaning to each other! During the top 6 round of judges questions, Natasha was asked by judge Matt Whiteside, “Besides your friends and family, what’s the one thing in the world you couldn’t live without and why?” Natasha replied, “Well, I couldn’t live without Christ beside my side. I know that I’m here because of Him and I live for Him and others and I know that if I didn’t have Him, I really wouldn’t be able to live at all. Thanks.” Natasha revealed her religious convictions here and while there was a time when this kind of answer would be embraced, it was around that time in the mid 90s that answers like these started to be not as well received. One would also recall when a delegate would say something to the effect of, it only takes one person and God to make a majority... Anyway, Natasha was a formidable candidate and she added to the success of this state which boasts three of the most diverse Miss USA winners, the first two black Miss USA winners, Carole Gist in 1990 and Kenya Moore in 1993 and the first openly part-Muslim Miss USA, Rima Fakih in 2010. Now, we have Taylor Hale who also hopes to bring the Great Lakes state back as they haven’t placed since 2018. Taylor has previous pageant experience competing at Miss DC USA 2017 finishing in the top 15 to Kára McCullough who would go on to win Miss USA 2017 and Taylor was also 2nd runner up at Miss Michigan USA 2020. How will she fare at Miss USA?



North Carofornia?


North CarolinaCaliforniaDid you notice that the first two times that North Carolina won Miss USA (in 2005 and 2009), that their runners-up were from California?? Could it happen again this year?? It’s very possible!! In 2005, North Carolina claimed its first Miss USA crown thanks to Chelsea Cooley with a 1st runner up finish from California’s Brittany Hogan. In 2009, it happened again when North Carolina’s Kristen Dalton captured the Miss USA crown with California’s Carrie Prejean finishing as 1st runner up. North Carolina would win the crown again in 2019 thanks to Cheslie Kryst but her runner-up, Alejandra Gonzalez represented New Mexico and California’s Erica Dann went unplaced. In 2021, we have these two states represented by two very strong contenders. North Carolina’s Madison Bryant hopes to capture a fourth Miss USA crown for her state and with her amazing body and strong speaking skills, she could very well do it! She is also accomplished being a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she earned a neuro-specific psychology degree. Currently, Madison is an accelerated student at Chamberlain University where she is earning her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree with an ultimate goal to be a Nurse Practitioner in a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. In the wake of Covid, Madison plans to travel the nation speaking on behalf of Healthcare worker burnout prevention, advocating for the Ronald McDonald House Charities with which she frequently volunteers.
Speaking of accomplished, check out California’s Sabrina Lewis who sports many looks and styles quite well. In 2020, she graduated from the Haas School of Business of the University of California, Berkeley. In July 2020, she enrolled at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia to pursue her master’s degree in public administration. When she competed at Miss California USA 2020, she finished in the Top 15 but she also placed as third runner up at Miss Georgia USA 2021 before impressing the judges enough to capture the coveted Californian crown for 2021. Does this mean a promising placement also for Georgia’s representative, Cora Lynn Griffen who also narrowly defeated Erin Snow who was also 3rd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2016? Cora also boasts an impressive resumé as a graduate of Auburn University working as a legal representative and a leasing coordinator. Georgia still has yet to win the Miss USA crown boasting several runners-up over the years. California has claimed the Miss USA crown six times, one in each decade except the 2000s and now that we are in 2020s, ten years after Alyssa Campanella got California’s last win in 2011, will Sabrina be able to do it this year?



Leave it to Beaver’s JessiKate and Fiddles


The violin is often called a fiddle and the city of Beaver’s Jessica Kathleen “JessiKate” Riley who is the representative of the state of Utah at this year’s Miss USA pageant plays the violin beautifully! I don’t know what you were thinking when you read that headline... In 2013, JessiKate attended Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan and from then until 2019, she studied performance of the violin at Brigham Young University. JessiKate is also very experienced in the pageant world having won Miss Utah’s Outstanding Teen 2014, Miss Heart of Utah 2015, Miss Panoramaland 2016 and Miss Utah 2017 but going unplaced at Miss America 2018 where she won a preliminary talent award. You might also recall that the reigning Miss USA, Mississippi’s Asya Branch also went unplaced at Miss America 2019. Will the same fate befall JessiKate and is she about to become Miss USA 2021? It is possible! Utah has only won the Miss USA crown once which was back in 1960 thanks to Linda Bement who would go on to win the Miss Universe crown in 1960 as well. Utah would also inherit the 1957 Miss USA crown when Charlotte Sheffield succeeded the dethroned Mary Leona Gage of Maryland who was discovered to be a married mother of two boys who lied about her age shortly after winning the 1957 Miss USA crown. Utah’s successes have been somewhat sporadic in recent years and they haven’t placed since 2013 when Marissa Powell notably finished as 3rd runner up that year. Is JessiKate about to turn that around and bring the Beehive state back in a big way?



Empire State of Mind


Big lights will inspire you! New York’s Briana Siaca is quite the beauty with a compelling story. Of Puerto Rican and Sicilian descent, Briana is an overcomer from a troubled childhood. Briana grew up in Brentwood, Long Island in a low income community where the youth are influenced by gang violence and substance abuse. She would use education as her safe space to combat the fear of the world around her. Raised by a single father and lacking a presence of positive female role models in her early life, Briana would go to attend Pace University suddenly studying with others that came from more stable backgrounds and Briana would eventually graduate Cum Laude in 2016 with a degree in Business and Chemistry becoming the role model she would have looked up to in her younger life. Briana placed in the top 5 of Miss New York USA five times prior to winning the state title on her sixth attempt. She also works with organizations like Girls Inc. which helps young women to break the cycle of poverty and to discover opportunities to pursue their dreams. New York has captured the Miss USA crown three times including the very first Miss USA in 1952, Jackie Loughery along with Mary Therese Friel in 1979 and Kimberly Pressler in 1999 with Shanna Moakler inheriting the crown in 1995 after Chelsi Smith won Miss Universe 1995. New York also finished in the top 10 last year thanks to Andreia Gibau so will Briana be able to continue the streak and perhaps get another win for the Empire State?







So as of November 15, Tom’s tentative top 5 for Miss USA 2021 are:
1. North Carolina
2. California
3. Illinois
4. Utah
5. New York

Will my top 5 change over the coming weeks or will they stay the same?
On November 22, I will post a second round of prethoughts with comments on each of the 51 delegates competing for Miss USA 2021 and then after observing the preliminaries (being shown on the pageant vision website on November 26, I will post my final predictions on November 28 and then the big night is November 29 when the new Miss USA is selected. Who will be the chosen one?


Watch Miss USA 2021 on November 29 on FYI or Hulu!


 

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Some photos courtesy Miss Universe L.P., LLLP