Crystle Stewart crowned Miss USA
For the second year in a row, a black woman has won the Miss USA pageant. Crystle Stewart, a 26-year-old businesswoman from Texas, was crowned last night as the new Miss USA.
Stewart was awarded the crown in a live televised broadcast on NBC Friday night, beating out 50 other contestants from each of the states and the District of Columbia.
A graduate of the University of Houston, Stewart founded and runs her own business called “Inside/Out,” which she said provides event planning and coordinates volunteer opportunities with organizations in the community.
Stewart is one of only six black women to hold the title of Miss USA. As Miss Ohio, Halle Berry was the first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant in 1986, but she did not win the crown. In 2001, however, she became the first former finalist to win an Oscar for best actress.
The first African American to win the crown was Carole Gist, who became Miss USA in March 1990. Kenya Moore became the second black woman to win the title in 1993, and Chelsi Smith became the third in 1995.
In 2002, Howard University student Shauntay Hinton won the Miss USA title as Miss District of Columbia. Hinton was the fourth African American to win the title, and the pageant marked the first time that 4 out of the 5 finalists were black. And last year, Rachel Smith, a biracial former Oprah Winfrey intern from Tennessee, became the fifth black woman to win the crown.
This year marks the first time the pageant has announced back-to-back African American winners of the competition.
“I think the United States is coming together,” Stewart told reporters after she was crowned. She reportedly cited the historic presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but would not reveal her own preference in the race. “Fundamentally, I’m a Democrat,” she said.
The event, which took place at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, was hosted by Donny and Marie Osmond, and featured celebrity judges Heather Mills, Rob Schneider, Joey Fatone, Amanda Beard, Christian Siriano, Shawne “Lights Out” Merriman, George Wayne, and others. NBC co-owns the parent Miss Universe Organization with Donald Trump, who sat behind the judges during the televised broadcast Friday evening.
List of African American Miss USA winners:
Crystle Stewart (2008)
Rachel Smith (2007)
Shauntay Hinton (2002)
Chelsi Smith (1995)*
Kenya Moore (1993)
Carole Gist (1990)
SOURCE: Daily Voice