Girl Crush: Our Favorite Crowned Ladies
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Margaret Gorman2 of 11
The very first Miss America winner was crowned in 1921. She was awarded the title of Miss Washington, D.C., at age 16 for her vivacious personality and athletic prowess.
Jean Bartel3 of 11
This 1943 winner was the tallest in pageant history at the time of her crowning, at 5’8”. Famously compared to blond actress Carole Lombard, Jean was also a California girl.
Jo-Carrol Dennison4 of 11
This woman was the very first Texan to win the pageant (1942). With the war going on at the time, Jo-Carroll’s post-contest efforts focused on selling war bonds and visiting USO clubs.
Jacque Mercer5 of 11
Not only did this woman take the crown in 1949, she received multiple mentions in Philip Roth’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel American Pastoral.
Marion McKnight6 of 11
Miss America’s winner in 1957 clinched the crown with a Marilyn Monroe act, which she performed for the talent portion of the competition.
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Vonda Kay Van Dyke7 of 11
Previously crowned Miss Arizona, 1965 winner Vonda remains the only contestant in history to earn the titles of both Miss America and Miss Congeniality. She was also the first to use ventriloquism in the talent competition.
Susan Powell8 of 11
After winning Miss Oklahoma, and later the Miss America crown in 1981, she went on to host Home Matters, a series on the Discovery Channel, for nine seasons.
Vanessa Williams9 of 11
One of the most infamous Miss America scandals occurred in 1984, when this (now-super-famous and award-winning) actress became the first African-American to get the crown. However, she was forced to step down amid reports that she had taken nude photos years earlier.
Angela Perez Baraquio Grey10 of 11
In 2001, not only was Miss America the very first Asian-American to win the crown, she was also the very first teacher. Since the pageant, she has spoken out on a variety of current event topics, from Guantanamo Bay to Miley Cyrus.
Caressa Cameron11 of 11
Last year’s crown went to Miss Virginia, who was known for her singing chops and her outspokenness on having been bullied as a teen.
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