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also see -> Miss America

Miss USA
Elle Smith, the new reigning Miss USA.

WHEN: Monday, November 29, 2021 at 8PM ET

WHERE: On the FYI Network, live from Paradise Cove Theater of River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Miss USA 2021 was the milestone 70th edition of the American beauty pageant when it was held on November 29, 2021 and broadcast at 8PM ET on the FYI Network and live streamed on Hulu.

This year, the pageant was held at the Paradise Cove Theater of River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma

51 contestants gathered from around the country to compete in the annual pageant where reigning Miss USA -- Asya Branch -- crowned her successor.

And the winner is...

It was one of this year's top favorites, Miss Kentucky Elle Smith, who was the winner of Miss USA 2021.

The third runner-up was Miss Illinois Sydni Dion Bennett; second runner-up was Miss Florida Ashley Ann Cariño, and second runner-up was Miss North Dakota Caitlyn Vogel.

The winner, as always, will go on to represent the United States at the upcoming  Miss Universe competition.

The competition was hosted by "Access Hollywood" reporter Zuri Hall and celebrity makeup artist Patrick Ta. 2021 Miss USA judges included actor and singer Alton Mason, Miss USA 2014 Haley Kalil, composer and pianist Chloe Flower, model and actress Natalía Barulích, actor Oliver Trevena, and celebrity jeweler Pascal Mouawad.

How She's Chosen

Contestants are required to be at least 18 and not yet 27 years old. Each contestant from all 50 states and the District of Columbia are judged in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown and interview, Equally important judging critiera includes  character, poise, confidence and personality. There is no talent portion of the competition.

Miss USA
Halle Berry (Miss Ohio) competed
in the 1986 Miss USA pageant.

Miss USA Fun Facts

• The Miss USA pageant was conceived in 1950 when Yolande Betbeze, winner of the rival Miss America pageant, refused to pose for publicity pictures while wearing a swimsuit. Pageant sponsor Catalina decided to pull their sponsorship, and create their own competition.

• The first Asian American woman to win Miss USA was Macel Wilson in 1962; the first Hispanic was Laura Martinez-Herring in 1985; the first African-American was Carole Gist in 1990; and the first Miss USA of Middle-Eastern descent was Rima Fakih in 2010.

• Hollywood actress Halle Berry was introduced to the world as Miss Ohio, who was the first runner-up in the Miss USA contest in 1986 (Miss Texas, Christy Fichtner, was crowned that year). However, Berry's movie career was launched by the publicity she received as a Miss USA contestant.

Miss USA Controversies

Miss USA
Kataluna Enriquez, Miss USA's
first transgender contestant.

Tara Elizabeth Conner captured the Miss USA title in 2006. Months later, however, she was under threat of losing her crown due to "inappropriate behavior" amid reports she had visited New York City bars when she was not yet 21.

Days of speculation about her fate ended in a much-publicized Donald Trump press conference on December 19, 2006 when he announced that Conner would be allowed a second chance to keep her crown.

A year later, Miss Nevada Katie Rees was offered no second chance at keeping her crown after compromising photos of her in various states of undress which instantly went viral around the Web. She was officially dethroned in January 2007

Miss USA 2009 was also not without controversy when Miss California, Carrie Prejean, was asked a question on gay marriage. Fumbling for words, the beauty queen stated that she was in favor of the "opposite" of same sex unions, resulting in a mixed audience response of cheers and catcalls. Prejean, later admitted that the response may have cost her the Miss USA crown.

Most recently, pageant traditionalists were sent into a tailspin when it was revealed that Miss Nevada, Kataluna Enriquez, would become the first transgender MIss USA contestant ever in 2021. The announcement came in June, Gay Pride Month, when Enriquez messaged her Intagram following: "My win is our win. We just made history. Happy Pride.” 

also see -> Miss America | Miss World

More about Miss USA around the Web:

Miss USA - The place to be for everything you always wanted to know, featuring behind-the-scenes at the Miss USA Pageant, related trivia, history, info on past shows, a past-winners' photo gallery and media contact and registration info.

Miss USA - Brief history, a list of winners dating back to 1952 and related pictures, links to current pageant contestants & bios, a comprehensive schedule of events leading up to the pageant, interesting trivia, links to further information from Wikipedia.

Pageantry Magazine Online - Good coverage of general pageant information and interviews with a few of the past Miss USA winners - plus facts & information for hair, make up, fitness and modeling tips for aspiring beauty queens.

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