THE RESULTS (May 22, 2018)

The woman I unofficially declared this year's Miss Photogenic (even though that award doesn't exist anymore) ended up winning Miss USA 2018 much to my surprise! Nebraska has won Miss USA for the first time in history thanks to Sarah Rose Summers who was also my prediction for 2nd runner up at Miss Teen USA 2012 but she went unplaced that year and with the IMG era focusing more on stories, I thought her chances of placing were slim so I placed her as my highest next tier delegate only to learn that she would actually win it all. Did you also notice the top 3 all represented states that start with the letter N?

In terms of my predictions, I picked 9 of the top 15 plus 3 honorable mentions (Maine, Michigan and Oregon). The three I missed were the winner (Nebraska), the 1st runner up (North Carolina) and South Dakota who won the online vote and also made the top 5. Nebraska and South Dakota were in my next tier below honorable mentions but North Carolina was the one that escaped my list which is bizarre because I actually predicted North Carolina to win Miss Teen USA only a few days ago!



Winner=Nebraska-Sarah Summers

Winner=Washington-Abigail Hill

1st Runner Up=North Carolina-Caelynn Miller-Keyes

1st Runner Up=California-Kelley Johnson*

2nd Runner Up=Nevada-Carolina Urrea

2nd Runner Up=Minnesota-Kalie Wright

FINALISTS (alpha'l):


Florida-Génesis Dávila

Florida-Génesis Dávila*

South Dakota-Madison Nipe

Georgia-Marianny Egurrola*



California-Kelley Johnson

Ohio-Deneen Penn

Georgia-Marianny Egurrola

Mississippi-Laine Alden Mansour

Maine-Marina Gray

South Carolina-Tori Sizemore

New Jersey-Alexa Noone

Maryland-Brittinay Nicolette*

Tennessee-Alexandra Harper

Tennessee-Alexandra Harper*



Maryland-Brittinay Nicolette

Nevada-Carolina Urrea*

Massachusetts-Allissa Latham

Texas-Logan Lester*

Michigan-Elizabeth Johnson

New Jersey-Alexa Noone*

Oregon-Toneata Morgan

Wisconsin-Regina Gray

Texas-Logan Lester

Massachusetts-Allissa Latham*


ALTERNATES: New York, District of Columbia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Idaho


HONORABLE MENTIONS: Oregon*, Michigan*, Utah, Maine*, Indiana


* = made actual top 15

I will post my full commentary on Miss USA 2018 on May 28.


THE PREDICTIONS (May 20, 2018)

The big night is Monday, May 21 on FOX! This year's event is being hosted by Vanessa Lachey (Miss Teen USA 1998) and her husband Nick Lachey of the boy-band 98 Degrees who will perform during the pageant and another featured performer is country singer Lee Brice. 98 Degrees also perform during Miss Teen USA 2000 which was also held in Shreveport, Louisiana.
The 5 judges are now called the selection committee and they include: Crystle Stewart-Miss USA 2008, Jamie Kern Lima-Miss Washington USA 2000 and 4th place in the first season of the U.S. version of the reality show 'Big Brother', Natasha Van Tramp Curry-Miss Washington USA 1998 and top 10 semifinalist at Miss USA 1998 who is now a journalist, Denise White-Miss Oregon USA 1994 and Liliana Vazquez.

This year could have a lot of surprises and of course, they are to be expected but the number of semifinalists has been increased from 10 last year to 15 this year. The IMG era of pageantry emphasizes accomplishments, achievements and stories before beauty so I've read the bios and watched the preliminaries to determine what I think the top 15 will look like but as always, I don't expect to get them all right especially given the results of the recent Miss Teen USA pageant, we have learned that anything can happen so we shall soon see who the chosen one is that gets the Miss USA title.

After reviewing the preliminaries and close up videos coupled with my background knowledge, it is now time for me to post my final predictions for Miss USA so here we go!


Winner=Washington-Abigail Hill

Abby really surprised me during the preliminaries. I love this gown and her long legs really enhance her figure but apart from this, she has an emotional story of losing two loved ones to car accidents which resulted in her creating a platform called #W82TXT which encourages people to stop texting while driving. She is also active in disaster-relief organizations. Apart from this, it can't hurt that two judges are former Miss Washington USA titleholders. Will Abby get Washington's second Miss USA crown 50 years after their first was won by Didi Anstett in 1968?

1st Runner Up=California-Kelley Johnson

Kelley is a powerful force standing at 6'2" and she slipped a notch from my winner position to my runner-up position but I can see Kelley taking the crown. We'll all remember Kelley from her performance at Miss America 2016 where she represented Colorado and placed as 2nd runner up after performing a monologue about nursing as her talent which was unique and then going on to name Ellen Degeneres as the woman who should appear on the $10 bill which prompted Ellen to invite Kelley on her show where she won even more scholarship money. As an accomplished nurse and valedictorian, Kelley possesses the qualities that IMG seems to be looking for in a titleholder. What kept me from giving her the win was her ties with ABC as I'm sure that if she wins, her appearances on Miss America and Ellen may come up in media interview which FOX who airs Miss USA may not like. Will Kelley get a 7th Miss USA crown for California?

2nd Runner Up=Minnesota-Kalie Wright

Kalie is another Miss America crossover having represented Idaho at Miss America 2016 and National Sweetheart winner for 2014. Kalie is an accomplished singer who worked as an executive assistant for the first lady of Idaho and Kalie even owns a wedding venue! Kalie performed well in all aspects of the competition and now has the opportunity to get another Miss USA crown for Minnesota since their only one was obtained in 1976.


Florida-Genesis Davila

Genesis made a huge comeback after being dethroned as Miss Florida USA 2017 for allegedly using professional stylists which resulted in a change in the franchise holder and Genesis came back and won the crown for 2018 and is now living her hard-fought dream to compete at Miss USA. She even tried out for the Miss 52 USA title in 2016. Among her other pageant accomplishments were being 1st runner up to Miss Puerto Rico Universe 2013, Monic Perez which led to her placing as 1st runner up at Miss Intercontinental and competing at Miss World 2014 going unplaced. I was going to give Genesis a spot regardless but her accomplishment story is that she is involved with the campaign to aid her native Puerto Rico after the devastating 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria ravaged much of the Caribbean. Can experienced Genesis get Florida its first official Miss USA win?

Georgia-Marianny Egurrola

Completing the Florida-Georgia Line as my 4th and 5th delegates, Marianny was born in Colombia and moved to the U.S. at the age of 15 and obtained a degree in International Affairs from the University of Georgia. She created an organization called Seas of Smiles encouraging personal growth amongst people of different backgrounds. Her body, gown and presentation were also strong.


Ohio-Deneen Penn

I was considering Deneen as my winner at one point as she has a unique story of being a beekeeper turned entrepreneur who sells her own organic honey. The bottom of her gown sort of looks like a beehive, no? Maybe it's her way of creating "buzz" but this queen bee is very bright as an MBA candidate and she also held the Miss Ohio Collegiate America title. I put her in this range though as she has a smaller body frame but Deneen definitely could get Ohio's third Miss USA crown.

Mississippi-Laine Alden Mansour

Laine brings some exotic flavor to the mix being of Lebanese descent and she is also a pre-law student. I really liked her gown presentation and her overall look so with her achievements, I think she is worthy of a strong placement. Mississippi has never won the crown but they were first runner up in 2008 so can Laine do it?

South Carolina-Tori Sizemore

We'll remember Tori as 1st runner up to Miss Teen USA 2013 and the only former Teen to have placed at Miss Teen USA competing this year at Miss USA. Tori is very well-spoken and continues the tradition of strong delegates coming from South Carolina. Tori sprained her foot participating in an obstacle course just days before the pageant but she plans to fight and walk during the pageant. She is an accomplished equestrian and holds a BA in Communications and Marketing and her family has adopted 3 biracial foster girls making Tori passionate about campaigns promoting foster care. Tori has a serenity about her and her appealing overall look and strong interview skills should get her in. Could she get a 4th Miss USA crown for South Carolina?

Maryland-Brittinay Nicolette

Brittinay scores unique achievement points since she is a Transplant Coordinator facilitating organ recoveries for the purpose of life saving organ transplants and she is an advocate for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Awareness after experiencing it herself and her overall look and presentation was strong so Brittinay should do well especially in the IMG era.

Tennessee-Alexandra Harper

Of course, Alexandra was making my list because you all know how much I love a good legacy story. Alexandra is the daughter of Miss Tennessee USA 1981, Sharon Kay Steakly who also placed in the semifinals at Miss USA 1981 so will Alexandra match or even surpass her mother's achievement? She seems poised to do it as she is tall and elegant with a great overall look but she is also quite diversified in that she owns a business, writes, works as a stylist, cooks and experiments with coding for webpage design. She is a working host on a television program and filmed a documentary on women in recovery from addiction and became involved with the program afterwards. Could Alexandra get a third Miss USA crown for Tennessee?


Nevada-Carolina Urrea

Carolina certainly appears to have done well in all aspects of the competition. Her story of once being homeless and her diverse background should help her in the competition.

Texas-Logan Lester

Logan is an achiever having completed high school in 3 years and becoming a college graduate at age 21 and is also a realtor. Texas has never missed the semifinals at Miss USA three years in a row so can Logan save the Lonestar state and bring them back in a big way?

New Jersey-Alexa Noone

No one, no one, no one can get in the way of what Miss Noone's feeling! And that feeling is to grab a coveted semifinalist spot this year. Alexa's achievements include holding a black belt in judo, working as a flight attendant while pursuing a Criminal Justice degree with hopes of becoming a police officer and she is also actively fighting for the rights of special needs individuals since her siblings are disabled. Alexa's diverse background and her overall presentation made her a standout so can she do it and possibly even get New Jersey's first win?

Wisconsin-Regina Gray

I wouldn't have picked her on appearance alone but I'm putting her in because this girl is an achiever. She is an International Baccalaureate Scholar and was inducted into the Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society so she is very smart. She also has a sad story of losing her father to a heart attack which prompted her to become involved with the American Heart Association spreading heart health awareness so this could even be that unique story that gets her the crown. Will Regina get Wisconsin's first Miss USA crown?

Massachusetts-Allissa Latham

Like Wisconsin, I wouldn't have picked her based on appearance but she did have a sassy presentation in the preliminaries with a fierce gown twirl but apart from that she also has a fancy job title as she works at Lowell General Hospital as an Integration Architect for Cerner Corporation, a Health Information Technology company. She is also pursuing her MBA with a concentration in Health Care from Suffolk University in Boston so this is an achievement pick. This sista is doing it for herself! Will she get a third Miss USA crown for Massachusetts?


New York-Genesis Suero

I took her out of my list at the last minute to make room for some others that I felt might have been a bit more accomplished but Genesis could easily place as she does a story of immigrating to the U.S. and working odd jobs to support herself and her mother in the Dominican Republic which is the classic immigrant story. Her bun and styling in gown during preliminaries was a bit polarizing too but that kind of thing can make her memorable so we'll see what happens.

District of Columbia-Bryce Armstrong

Her story is that she is a baker turned entrepreneur which didn't come across to me as strong as the stories/achievements of her winning predecessors Deshauna Barber being in the military or Kára McCullough being a scientist so I don't think a three-peat will happen for DC but Bryce is a formidable candidate.

Arkansas-Lauren Weaver

In the Trump era, Lauren probably would have easily placed. I'm looking hard for stories and all I find here is that her mother survived breast cancer. While she does have a great body and overall look, I somehow feel her 'girls' looked a little out of place during preliminary swimsuit so she may be perceived as somewhat artificial and that she may get cut.

Oklahoma-Cheyene Darling

This one also has a great body but she talks of loving comedy and hopes for a career in the entertainment industry which I have said before that seems to be frowned upon by IMG. Based on lack of achievement, I have placed her as an alternate.

Idaho-Téa Draganovic

Idaho could be a surprise. I really tried to find a spot for her in my list but I have no idea who to take out and I probably have lots of options too. Bless. I liked her fringe gown and she is working towards becoming a physician assistant and she is Bosnian so she brings a different ethnicity to the mix but she doesn't have much pageant experience so she might come across as a bit unpolished.


Oregon-Toneata Morgan

I know they may not go for Toneata's look but she is an entrepreneur and designer of All Legs Shoppe which is an activewear store and she works as an actress, host and model. Having a former Miss Oregon USA on the judging panel might help also.

Michigan-Elizabeth Johnson

I tried to find a spot for Elizabeth but she ended up here. Her visuals would come from her training Krav Maga which is a form of self defense but New Jersey also has those visuals and her height is also a hindrance so here is where I placed her.

Utah-Narine Ishhanov

In terms of accomplishments, she is the CEO of a national trucking transportation company yet she wants to become a Dentist as says she is an ambassador for STEM so I feel her goals are somewhat scattered and not focused and her presentation in preliminaries wasn't as strong as I was looking for so she ended up here.

Maine-Marina Gray

She is a successful leader in the military receiving Non-Commissioned Officer of the year at her Unit and was legally emancipated from her troubled family at age 16 so there's a story here. The military angle was already done by Deshauna Barber in 2016 so they may be looking for something new and I couldn't overlook Maine's height during preliminaries but she has a story/achievements so we'll see what happens.

Indiana-Darrian Arch

This is another potential achiever placement not based on preliminary performance. She is getting a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology this year from Bethel College and is currently working on becoming an organ transplant surgeon so that is another potential story that could lead to a placement.

In my next tier, I will mention the following delegates:

Nebraska - She would be my pick for Miss Photogenic if that was still an award. Sarah is so beautiful and I feel sad to not be able to give her a spot in my list.

Missouri - She is a sports reporter who speaks to men about sexual assault which is different. Her chin looks a bit off too but you never know and they could go for her story.

Kansas - She has been featured in a lot of photos which makes me think they like her. Her fringe gown was nice but there's not much of a story here other than she majors in journalism and volunteers to help domestic violence victims.

Alabama - She's decent but not enough of a story. She is an interior decorator.

Illinois - Also a decent delegate but just not as achieved.

West Virginia - She aspires to be a gynecology physicians assistant but she hasn't achieved that yet.

Wyoming - She almost died from a condition that created blood clots but preliminaries didn't convince me that she would place.

South Dakota - Other people are noticing her and she is decent but I don't see it happening this year.

Louisiana - The host delegate could get a spot but probably won't as she didn't come across as strong enough.

New Mexico - She is a mechanical engineer so that could score her points but preliminaries didn't convince me.

There’s my list for this year! So we’ll find out on Monday, May 21 how I did and who I may have missed that ends up in the mix and who will be Miss USA 2018!

Tell everyone to watch Miss USA 2018 on Monday, May 21 on FOX!



Nevada Arkansas, Michigan, Oklahoma Preliminaries are on Thursday, May 17 at 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time being webcast on through a live YouTube stream when we will see all 51 contestants compete in swimsuit and gown and then the 2018 Miss USA pageant will air on FOX on Monday, May 21 at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time live from the Hirsch Coliseum in Shreveport, Louisiana hosted by Nick and Vanessa Lachey. It's very important to spread the word and get people to watch Miss USA on FOX this year as there is some heavy competition on all the major networks at the same time that Miss USA is airing. ABC is airing finales for 'Dancing With the Stars' and 'American Idol'. NBC is airing the finale of 'The Voice' but CBS is airing repeats of 'The Big Bang Theory' so I'm concerned about the TV ratings for Miss USA this year.

The number of semifinalists has been increased to a top 15 compared to last year when there was only a top 10. The length of the pageant is still a 2 hour telecast as it was last year. A 3 hour telecast was done for 2014 to 2016. It seems like the IMG era of Miss USA which started in 2016 seems to have more emphasis on interview and unique accomplishments first before body or beauty and a lot of delegates have a background story so like always, surprises are to be expected.

I will be posting my final predictions for Miss USA 2018 on May 20 but in the meantime, I will be posting my present thoughts on each delegate.

Hannah Brown

Alabama's long-running streak in the semifinals which ran from 2010 to 2016 was broken last year. Here we have Hannah with a chance to bring them back. The longest running streak is now a four-way tie for District of Columbia, California, South Carolina and Missouri each placing two years in a row. Hannah is a decent candidate but somehow I don't feel that she will be strong enough to bring Alabama back to the semis. Alabama has won the crown only once back in 1967 with the late Sylvia Hitchcock who would go on to win Miss Universe that year.

Brooke Johnson

Alaska placed last year 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 doesn't quite strike me as semifinalist material even if she has a unique look.

Nicole Smith

There's possibilities here but shifting my thinking to what IMG wants makes me think that although she has a great overall look and body, she may not have enough of a story to place. She also flew into Louisiana on a private plane. 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 the streak was surprisingly broken last year so will Nicole bring them back?

Lauren Weaver

Lauren is a former teen titleholder but she didn't place at Miss Teen USA 2014. She does have an amazing body though and it's perhaps one of the best this year but I don't know if she has enough of a story. She has done well in school and her mother survived breast cancer which made spreading awareness her platform so that might be enough. I think I will be giving her a spot in my list. Arkansas has won the crown once in 1982 thanks to Terri Utley and they did place in the top 10 in 2016.

Kelley Johnson

Will Kelley walk into the room nurse first and put a nurse in first place? Kelley is definitely one to keep an eye on. She is my winner currently so we shall see if she will stay there after preliminaries. Her performance at Miss America where she placed as 2nd runner up representing Colorado for 2016 doing a unique talent of a monologue about being a nurse treating a patient with Alzheimer's disease and later giving Ellen Degeneres as an answer as to which woman should appear on the $10 bill. Kelley's performance led to an appearance on Ellen's show among many other shows. IMG does seem to be making Miss USA into more of a Miss America-esque pageant so Kelley could be the one they want. I wonder however that since Miss America and Ellen air on ABC that her appearances on that station would work against an appearance on FOX's Miss USA. The most populated state in the nation made the top 10 last year and has won the Miss USA crown 6 times (1959, 1966, 1975, 1983, 1992 and 2011).

Chloe Brown

Chloe also represented Colorado at Miss Teen USA 2013 but went unplaced. Chloe does have a great overall look but I also fear she may not have enough of a story which causes me to put her as an alternate at the moment. Colorado last placed in 2012 but they have never won the crown.

Jamie Hughes

Jamie is a working model with a diverse family including a Colombian stepfather and an adopted African American brother. She is not among my picks at the moment. Connecticut won their only Miss USA crown in 2013 and made the top 10 in 2016.

Sierra Wright

Delaware placed for the first time ever in 2016 thanks to Renee Bull who made the top 10. Sierra is not among my picks at the moment.

District of Columbia
Bryce Armstrong

DC has won the last two Miss USA crowns but I don't see a three-peat happening. Bryce is a baker turned entrepreneur which isn't as strong a story as 2016's Deshauna serving in the army and 2017's Kára being a scientist. Bryce could still place though but she is not among my picks at the moment. The nation's capital has won the crown 4 times thanks to the reigning Miss USA, Kára McCullough, Deshauna Barber in 2016, Shauntay Hinton in 2002 and Bobbi Johnson in 1964.

Génesis Dávila

As mentioned in my first round prethoughts, Génesis is an extremely newsworthy contestant. She originally won Miss Florida USA last year but was stripped of her title due to alleged professional styling which was apparently against the rules and this led to a whole telenovela of events which involved a lawsuit but ultimately led to the Miss Florida USA franchise being given to the Chrisley family of the reality show "Chrisley Knows Best" after the Gravitt family who ran that pageant for decades. Génesis came back and won again and will be competing for sure this time so she will be a force for Florida so many eyes will be on her. She will be in my top 5 but I don't know if she is the one to whom they want to give the win or if she will be perceived as too controversial and not place at all so I'm confused. She is more telegenic than photogenic but she does have a story of wanting to help her ravaged native island of Puerto Rico after devastating hurricanes that hit that region of the world. Génesis was also 1st runner to Miss Puerto Rico Universe, Monic Perez in 2013 and was also 1st runner up to Miss Intercontinental 2012 and also competed at Miss World 2014 but went unplaced. 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 did not accept the title. Florida's last placement was as 4th runner up in 2014.

Marianny Egurrola

Marianny was born and raised in Colombia and lived there until the age of 15, moving to the United States in 2007. She holds a degree in International Affairs from the University of Georgia. She also works as an international actress and model. I think IMG will approve of her as they seem to want to embrace diversity more and Marianny has a decent body so she is among my top 15 at the moment. Georgia has never won the crown even though they have several runners-up including their most recent placement, Emanii Davis who was 2nd runner up at Miss USA 2016. How will Marianny do?

Julianne Chu

The Aloha state last placed in 2016 and got a 1st runner up placement that year thanks to Chelsea Hardin. Julianne is a former teen having competed at Miss Teen USA 2010 but didn't place there and I don't foresee a placement for Hawaii this year. Hawaii has won the Miss USA crown 4 times with their most recent winner also winning Miss Universe in 1997.

Téa Draganovic

Placements are rare for Idaho but Téa could change that as she is a possibility so I'll be determining where exactly I place her after preliminaries. She works at a hospital and studies Human Biology hoping to become a physician assistant and she also coaches dance at Idaho's Bosnian Cultural Center. Idaho last placed in 2009 and inherited the crown in 1997.

Karolina Jasko

She studies psychology and criminal justice with the ambition of becoming a clinical psychologist and also overcame a melanoma diagnosis. I'm leaning towards not putting her in my list but that could change if I feel strongly enough about her after preliminaries. Illinois placed in the top 5 last year and they have captured the crown 4 times.

Darrian Arch

Darrian has an interesting ambition of becoming an organ transplant surgeon inspired by her father who is a dentist so she gets some story points so I'm thinking she will be among my alternates but I'll wait until preliminaries to determine where exactly I place her. Darrian is another former Teen titleholder who went unplaced at Miss Teen USA 2013. Indiana has never won the crown but they do have a 1st runner up with Holly Dennis in 1981 and their most recent placement was in 2014.

Jenny Valliere

Iowa is not among my picks this year. Iowa did make the top 6 in 2014 thanks to the Twitter save and Carol Morris in 1956 won Iowa's only Miss USA crown and later also won Miss Universe that year.

Melanie Shaner

Melanie has been featured in a lot of social media posts which makes me suspicious especially since she doesn't have much of a story other than she is studying journalism and volunteers for a domestic violence shelter. I wouldn't have put her in my list but she could be a surprise so I'm thinking honorable mention right now. Melanie is another former Teen that went unplaced at Miss Teen USA 2015. Kansas last won the crown in 1991 thanks to Kelli McCarty and they last placed in 2010.

Braea Tilford

Kentucky's delegate is not expected to place this year. Kentucky won the crown once in 2006 and they placed in the top 11 in 2015.

Lauren Vizza

Lauren is the host state delegate so she could be given a spot but I don't think she's strong enough to place so I'm thinking I'll have her as an alternate. She is a local morning news anchor in the host city, Shreveport. Louisiana has won the crown 3 times (1958, 1961, 1996) and last placed in the top 11 in 2015.

Marina Gray

Marina does have a story about being a Non-Commissioned Office of the year in her military unit and getting legally emancipated at the age of 16 from her family due to facing adversity. I don't think she has the height but I might put her as an honorable mention depending on my impression after preliminaries. Maine has never won the crown but they did have a 3 year streak placing from 2010 to 2012 but they haven't placed since.

Brittinay Nicolette

Brittinay is among my top 10 picks at the moment due largely to her story as she is a Transplant Coordinator for the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland who also speaks out against sexual assault and domestic violence after experiencing it herself. This seems to be right in step with what IMG is looking for. She has a strong overall look also and her body is decent but I think she will have worked on it more in preparation for Miss USA. Maryland's 5 year streak in the semifinals was unexpectedly broken last in 2016. Maryland won the crown in 1957 but the 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. Will Brittinay go the distance and win the coveted crown for her state?

Allissa Latham

Massachusetts has won the crown twice in 1998 and 2003 but they haven't placed since 2013. I don't foresee a placement for Massachusetts this year.

Elizabeth Johnson

She's a possibility. She is only 5'5" but she has some good visuals like being an expert in Krav Maga and she works as a digital consultant for Mercedes-Benz. Right now, I have her as an alternate but she could move into my list after preliminaries. Michigan won the crown 3 times (1990, 1993 and 2010) and last placed in 2015.

Kalie Wright

Kalie is among my picks at the moment as she seems very well-rounded and travels to various states as a trained vocalist with the Continental Singers among a variety of high profile positions and even owns an events venue! Kalie also has previous pageant experience competing at Miss America 2016 as Miss Idaho and she also won the 2014 Miss National Sweetheart title. Minnesota won its only crown in 1976 and they placed as 2nd runner up last year so will Kalie do even better for Minnesota?

Laine Alden Mansour

Laine is among my top picks this year. As mentioned in my first round prethoughts, the IMG era seems to embrace diversity more and this exotic Lebanese princess comes across to me as unique and refreshing. She majors in Integrated Marketing and Communications at the University of Mississippi and plans to go on and obtain a Law degree and practice Family Law. Mississippi has never won the crown but they were 1st runner up in 2008 and last placed in 2010.

Tori Kruse

The Show Me state did pull off a surprise placement last year and it could happen again. Tori is a working model and freelance sports reporter but IMG might like her 1st Man Up program where young men are spoken to about preventing sexual assault and harassment which seems to be right in step with the #MeToo movement. Missouri won its only Miss USA crown in 2004.

Dani Walker

Placements for Montana are extremely rare as they haven't placed since 1958 and that isn't expected to change this year.

Sarah Summers

Sarah is a former Teen titleholder who competed at Miss Teen USA 2012 and didn't place there but I actually love Sarah's fresh look so she will probably be among my alternates. Nebraska has never won the Miss USA crown and they last placed in the top 20 in 2014.

Carolina Urrea

Nevada, Ooh Na Na! Carolina is among my top picks with a nice story of working with underprivileged youth after experiencing homelessness herself. I liken her in many ways to Nevada's only Miss USA, Nia Sanchez who (like Carolina) also competed a few years in California prior to winning the Nevada title. Carolina seems to be well prepared by her state director, former Miss USA, Shanna Moakler. Nevada won its first crown in 2014 and had a 4 year streak in the semifinals abruptly ended in 2016 so will Carolina bring Nevada back in a big way?

New Hampshire
Michelle McEwan

This year's delegate is not among my picks. New Hampshire has never won but they did pull off a 1st runner up placement in 2000 and last placed in 2004.

New Jersey
Alexa Noone

Like Nevada and Oregon's delegates, Alexa also competed in California placing in the semifinals at Miss California USA in 2016. She is also one of the more exotic delegates with Nicaraguan and Filipino roots. Her siblings have mental and physical disabilities so she hopes to bring awareness of such disabilities. She even has a black belt in Judo and works as a flight attendant. Alexa has some strong accomplishments so no one, no one, no one can get in the way of what Miss Noone is feeling and that feeling is to make waves at Miss USA! New Jersey has never won the crown but they did place as 1st runner up last year so can Alexa do it?

New Mexico
Kristen Leyva

Kristen does work in a male-dominated field of mechanical engineering so she could be a surprise. Still, I don't think she quite has the body for this competition. New Mexico did pull off a win in 1984 but placements for this state are rare. The last placement being in 2011.

New York
Genesis Suero

New York is among my top 10 picks this year. Like the other Genesis, this delegate was born in the Caribbean in the Dominican Republic and came to the U.S. at the age of 13 and has worked multiple jobs so this exotic delegate has a message for immigrants to work hard to achieve the American dream. New York has 4 Miss USA crowns (1952, 1979, 1995 and 1999) and they made the top 10 last year.

North Carolina
Caelynn Miller-Keyes

Caelynn competed at Miss Teen USA 2013 and went unplaced and I'm leaning towards a non-placement even though she talked about surviving sexual assault and overcoming encephalitis as a child. I'll wait until preliminaries to solidify my placement of her. North Carolina won the crown in 2005 and 2009 and they last placed in 2013.

North Dakota
Abigail Pogatshnik

North Dakota earned its highest placement in 2014 when they finished as 1st runner up but this year's delegate is not expected to place.

Deneen Penn

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 2016. Deneen is among my top picks this year as I'm impressed by her all-around. She is a beekeeper turned entrepreneur selling organic honey which should make good visuals and she has some great quotes as a former contestant of the Miss Collegiate America pageant worked towards an MBA after already obtaining a Bachelor of Architecture degree.

Cheyene Darling

Oklahoma last placed in 2016 and they won their first Miss USA crown the year before in 2015 thanks to Olivia Jordan. Other people seem to like her but I'm not sure as there may not be enough of a story here. Right now, I have her as an honorable mention but she could move up depending on preliminaries.

Toneata Morgan

Oregon has never won the Miss USA crown but they have won Miss Teen USA 3 times (more than any other state) but Oregon hasn't had much success at Miss USA. Oregon last placed in 2004 and this year's delegate has a good overall look and is an entrepreneur but I feel like it might not be the look they go for so I'm thinking she might be an alternate at this stage.

Olivia Suchko

Pennsylvania is not among my picks this year. Pennsylvania won the crown in 1971 and last placed in 2014.

Rhode Island
Daescia DeMoranville

I don't think this delegate will place this year. 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
Tori Sizemore

Tori is among my top 10 picks at the moment. South Carolina's delegates are traditionally very strong and Tori was also 1st runner up at Miss Teen USA 2013 and I feel like she will do will again at Miss USA. South Carolina placed in the top 5 last year 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
Madison Nipe

South Dakota pulled off a rare placement in 2016 and they had only placed twice before in 1958 and 1974. This year's delegate is decent but it may not be enough.

Alexandra Harper

Tennessee is normally among my picks and I think Alexandra has what it takes to place. She is the daughter of Sharon Steakly-Miss Tennessee USA 1981 who also placed in the semifinals at Miss USA 1981 so I'd like to see Alexandra repeat her mother's feat. Tennessee has won the crown twice thanks to two phenomenal beauties, Lynnette Cole in 2000 and Rachel Smith in 2007 and the Volunteer state placed in the top 10 last year.

Logan Lester

Texas, the most successful state at Miss USA, has won the crown 9 times. Logan is a realtor and finished school early so her accomplishments should help her but as we have seen in recent years, Texas is no longer a guaranteed placement so we shall see if Logan can bring the Lonestar state back after a two year absence of missing the semifinals. It's interesting to note that if Logan doesn't place, it will shockingly be the first time in history that Texas didn't place 3 years in a row in the history of Miss USA.

Narine Ishhanov

Narine certainly is accomplished being the CEO of a national trucking company and aims to become a dentist. Narine is also of Armenian descent like the Kardashians and her look is appealing so she is among my top 15 picks at the moment. 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.

Maia-Jena Allo

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

Ashley Vollrath

Ashley is a cheerleader and aspiring sports broadcaster. I don't know if IMG will go for her look though so I think she might not place. Virginia won the crown twice back in 1969 and 1970 and had a 3 year streak from 2014 to 2016 which was broken last year so will Ashley bring Virginia back?

Abigail Hill

Washington won the crown in 1968 and hasn't placed since 2004. This year's delegate is an improvement from previous delegates and other people seem to like her and she does have a platform of wanting to end texting and driving. Right now, I have her as an alternate but she could move into my list after preliminaries.

West Virginia
Casey Lassiter

She probably won't be in my list but I still will keep an eye on her during preliminaries. West Virginia last placed in 2016 and has never won the crown. Their best placement was 1st runner up in 1984.

Regina Gray

I don't foresee a placement this year. Wisconsin has never won but they did place in the top 10 in 2014.

Callie Bishop

Placements for Wyoming are extremely rare as they have only placed twice (1986 and 2010). Callie went unplaced at Miss Teen USA 2008 but she does have a story of almost losing her life suffering from a rare condition that triggered blood clots only two months after winning her state title and she also lost her father to cancer recently. She also has trained in various forms of dance so Callie use those stage movement skills and pull off a rare placement for Wyoming?

Again, the preliminaries are on the evening of Thursday, May 17, at 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time webcasted on via a YouTube stream. I will post my final predictions for Miss USA 2018 on May 20 and then May 21 is the night of the finals airing on FOX at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time so we shall see who will be queen for 2018!



Kára Deidra McCullough, Miss USA 2017Kára Deidra McCullough, Miss USA 2017
A beautiful family - Nick and Vanessa Lachey with their three childrenShe blinded us with science and combined the right chemicals to create the reaction resulting in Kára Deidra McCullough winning the Miss USA crown for 2017 and now she will soon be passing on the Miss USA crown to her successor. Who from the class of 2018 is that uniquely accomplished woman of distinction who will impress the judges enough to earn the title of Miss USA 2018? The delegates are arriving in Shreveport, Louisiana. Shreveport last hosted Miss USA 20 years ago in 1998 when Massachusetts’ Shawnae Jebbia won the crown and Shreveport also hosted Miss Teen USA in the year 2000. The 67th annual Miss USA pageant will once again be held in Shreveport’s Hirsch Coliseum. Louisiana also hosted the 2014 and the turbulent 2015 Miss USA pageants but in the city of Baton Rouge. Returning to serve as background commentators are Carson Kressley and Lu Sierra returning to perform these positions as they did at Miss Universe 2017. The hosts for this year’s Miss USA competition will be some familiar faces: Miss Teen USA 1998, Vanessa Lachey (who also won her title in Shreveport) along with her husband, Nick Lachey of 98 Degrees (who also performed at the 2000 Miss Teen USA pageant in Shreveport) so this year’s pageant is really coming full circle and Vanessa and Nick also recently competed in the 2017 edition of “Dancing With the Stars” and speaking of “Dancing With the Stars,” the finale of the current accelerated Athletes edition is airing on the same date of May 21 on ABC as well as the finale of “American Idol” so there is some major television ratings competition for Miss USA airing on FOX this year and it has me very concerned and really wishing a different date had been chosen because ratings have been dipping in recent years and picking the right date could make a huge difference. By the way, I’m rooting for Adam Rippon for “Dancing With the Stars” and I was rooting for Ada Vox for “American Idol” but she was eliminated so my next pick would be Jurnee but I don’t have much hope seeing how the voting is going. The weekend prior to the pageant will also have a lot of major events like the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19 and the Billboard Music Awards on May 20. Anyway, back to Miss USA, there was a recent social media post asking if they should bring back the opening that was done in 1997 and my answer would be a resounding YES! The 1997 Miss USA pageant was also held in Shreveport and as many of you know, 1997 was easily one of my favorite Miss USA parade of states in history as the music with the choir was awesome and innovative. I don't care if Miss Kansas' earring flew off into the audience! You can't beat that level of energy, excitement and high-fashion glamour!

However, bearing in mind that the IMG era is turning Miss USA into more of a Miss America-type pageant, I will be more focused on stories, accomplishments and embracing diversity (in terms of body-types and ethnicities) rather than just physical beauty. Here are the first round prethoughts to give you an idea of who I've got my eye on for this year's Miss USA crown! Also included are some other interesting pageant world tidbits.

We Go Together

Barbara Joan (Bobbi) Johnson-Miss USA 1964 with Pat BooneDick Clark, Kristi Lynn Addis-Miss Teen USA 1987, Tracy Scoggins“Like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong. Remembered forever…” For the first time in history, the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants have become concurrent events as they are being held within days of each other in the same venue. The Miss Teen USA finals will be held on May 18 and Miss USA will be held on May 21. This is reminiscent of the early days of the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants as this was also how it was done from 1952 to 1964 and the two pageants really became separate events in 1965. The 1965 Miss USA pageant won by Ohio’s Sue Ann Downey was held on June 4 of that year and the 1965 Miss Universe pageant won by Thailand’s Apasra Hongsakula was held on July 24 of that year whereas the 1964 Miss USA pageant won by DC’s Bobbi Johnson was held on July 29 of that year and the 1964 Miss Universe pageant won by Greece’s Corinna Tsopei was held a few days later on August 1 of that year. With this amalgamation of the sister pageants, the pattern finder in me makes me equate 2018 to 1964 so if were going in reverse, 2019 is 1963, 2020 is 1962… 2030 is 1952 which was the debut year of the official Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants which makes me thinks either the pageants could possibly end after 2030 or could the world even end after the 2030 pageants?? But now that I’ve pointed it out, it probably won’t happen. I do have to say I’m surprised this wasn’t done sooner as it seems more efficient to get it all done in the one week on one stage and it saves having to search for different venues and dates for each pageant but it could get a little hectic during that week. However, it is good for the host city that will get double the amount of business from families and friends coming to see their loved ones compete. A lot of Teen and Miss pageants are held at the same time so this actually does make sense given the current climate of pageantry. Miss Teen USA hasn’t aired on television since 2007. Miss Teen USA started in 1983 and aired on CBS until 2003 when NBC started airing the pageants. The Miss Teen USA pageant has been a webcast since 2008 and it was held in: the Bahamas from 2008 to 2015; in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2016; and Phoenix, Arizona in 2017. Another recent change came with IMG’s decision to amalgamate the social media accounts for Miss USA and Miss Teen USA on some major platforms like Facebook and Instagram and with Miss Teen USA eliminating the swimsuit competition like the Miss World pageant has, one can only wonder if this will happen to Miss USA and Miss Universe. Recent years have shown that there is now less emphasis on the body and the physical and more focus on a compelling story and accomplishments combined with interview skills and stage presence. Even though the date change means the reigning Miss Teen USA (Missouri’s Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff) will only reign for just short of 10 months, the shortest reign in Miss Teen USA history actually belongs to the very first Miss Teen USA (New York’s Ruth Zakarian) who reigned a little over 7 months from August 30, 1983 to April 3, 1984. The longest reign in Miss Teen USA history belongs to Miss Teen USA 1986 (Oklahoma’s Allison Brown) who reigned for 18 months from January 21, 1986 to July 21, 1987. We shall see how this historical change works out! They’ll always be together. Always be together. Ooh-ee-ooh-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang!

In the Beginning, There Was Genesis!

Florida-Genesis DavilaNew York-Genesis Suero and Florida-Genesis DavilaAnd God said, ‘Let Genesis have a second win of the Miss Florida USA crown.’ And it was so and God saw that it was good... Perhaps one of the biggest comebacks in state pageant history would have to be that of Florida’s representative Genesis Davila. Genesis originally won the 2017 Miss Florida USA pageant but was dethroned shortly after when it was alleged that she had used professional stylists which was against pageant rules. This resulted in a beauty pageant turned ugly and a lawsuit that was later settled but Genesis didn’t compete for the 2017 Miss USA crown and runner-up Linette de los Santos competed instead but didn’t place at Miss USA. The Gravitt family had been directing the Miss Florida USA literally for decades but the franchise was taken away from them and obtained by the Chrisley family known from the reality show “Chrisley Knows Best” and patriarch Todd Chrisley’s daughter Savannah was Miss Tennessee Teen USA 2016 and a top 15 semifinalist at Miss Teen USA 2016. The Chrisley family recently also obtained the Miss California USA franchise as well. Under the new management, Genesis Davila decided to compete for the 2018 Miss Florida USA crown and she won it again! Now, Genesis is finally getting her chance to fulfill a hard sought after dream to compete at Miss USA. Persistent and perseverant, Genesis Davila has competed in many pageants. Genesis was 1st runner up to Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2013, Monic Perez. Genesis would compete at Miss Intercontinental 2012 and finished as 1st runner up and then she won Miss Puerto Rico World and competed at Miss World 2014 where she went unplaced. Genesis also entered for the Miss 52 USA title which was only held for 2016 but she wasn't selected among the final 10 for that competition and was therefore eliminated. Genesis is also passionate about fundraising for her native Puerto Rico which is still recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. I liken Genesis’ situation to that of India’s Urvashi Rautela who won the Miss India Universe title twice. Urvashi’s first win was in 2012 but she was found to be shortly underaged so her title was given to runner-up Shilpa Singh who placed among the top 16 of Miss Universe 2012. Urvashi would then return to win the 2015 Miss India Universe title but would go unplaced at Miss Universe 2015. Will something similar happen to Genesis? Will she go unplaced at Miss USA or will she place somewhere among the semifinalists or will Genesis make this comeback even more epic and finally become the first Floridian representative to win the Miss USA crown outright? Florida’s only Miss USA crown was obtained in 1967 when the 2nd runner up at the 1967 Miss USA pageant, Florida’s Cheryl Ann Patton, inherited the crown after the original winner, Alabama’s Sylvia Hitchcock went on to win Miss Universe 1967 and 1st runner up, California’s Susan Bradley declined to take the crown. Even though Florida has hosted multiple Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss Universe pageants, the Sunshine state has never officially won the Miss USA crown so will the Revelation of the Miss USA 2018 be Genesis taking it all? To further add to this intriguing development, there will be two delegates named Genesis competing at Miss USA 2018. New York’s Genesis Suero was born in the Dominican Republic and with a very similar ethnic background to Florida’s Genesis Davila, will this become a showdown of biblical proportions and become like a Sega Genesis video game as the bout to knock the other Genesis out?? New York hasn’t won the Miss USA crown since 1999 so is it time for a comeback for the Big Apple?

A Bill of Health From CO-CA CO-LA?

California-Kelley JohnsonCalifornia-Kelley Johnson on the Ellen Degeneres show Okay, so obviously this headline needs some decoding so it relates to California’s representative, Kelley Johnson, who should be a familiar face. Kelley first made waves in the pageant world competing as Miss Colorado for Miss America 2016 where she dared to be different. Miss America has a talent competition and traditionally, the contestants perform some form of artistic or athletic talents but Kelley was unique and innovative in simply performing an emotional monologue about her not-so-glamourous profession of being a nurse working with a patient with Alzheimer’s disease. During the round of judges’ questions, Kevin O’Leary asked that familiar question that made it rounds in pageantry that year which asked which woman should be the first to appear on the American 10 dollar bill. This question was first posed at the 2015 Miss USA pageant and the winner of that pageant, Oklahoma’s Olivia Jordan responded with what would become the correct response (Harriet Tubman) and later that year at Miss Teen USA, eventual winner, Louisiana’s Katherine Haik gave Rosa Parks as her answer. At Miss America 2016, Kelley Johnson responded that Ellen Degeneres should be that woman which prompted immediate praise from Ellen and even led to an appearance on her show where she received $10,000 from Shutterfly for nurse anesthetist school. Kelley also made the media rounds appearing on many other talk shows discussing her performance at Miss America and its huge impact. Kelley would finish as 2nd runner up at the 2016 Miss America pageant won by Georgia’s Betty Cantrell. Kelley would later statehop to California and would go on to win the traditionally competitive Miss California USA pageant and now here we are with Kelley having another shot at winning a major national title, Miss USA. California’s last Miss USA was Alyssa Campanella in 2011 who also statehopped from New Jersey and won the Miss California USA title. So to interpret this headline, “A Bill of Health From CO-CA CO-LA”. The bill refers to the $10 bill she discussed at Miss America, Health refers to her nursing profession, CO-CA refers to her statehop from Colorado (CO) to California (CA) and CO-LA refers to coming from Colorado (CO) to compete for Miss USA in Louisiana (LA)! Kelley has a very strong chance of winning Miss USA but even if she doesn’t, she is expected to have a strong placement. California has won the Miss USA crown six times and places quite frequently also. They longest period that the most populated state didn’t place at Miss USA was only a 4 year span from 1994 to 1997.

Nevada, Ooh Na Na
Half of My Heart is in Nevada, Ooh Na Na

Nevada-Carolina UrreaOregon-Toneata Morgan And although it works with the lyrics, I say ‘half of my heart’ because Nevada’s representative Carolina Urrea also statehopped after competing in California for a few years. Such was also the case of Miss USA 2014, Nevada’s Nia Sanchez so will Carolina repeat Nia’s feat? Carolina was 4th runner up at the 2016 Miss California USA pageant and a semifinalist at the 2017 Miss California USA pageant. A lot of recent success stories have also competed at Miss California USA. As mentioned previously, California won the crown in 2011 thanks to Alyssa Campanella and then in 2012. Maryland’s Nana Meriwether inherited the Miss USA crown for 2012 after Rhode Island’s Olivia Culpo won Miss Universe 2012 and Nana was also 1st runner up at Miss California USA 2010. Of course, Nevada’s Nia Sanchez was 2nd runner up at Miss California USA 2010 before winning the 2014 Miss USA title and Oklahoma’s Olivia Jordan was 1st runner up at Miss California USA 2013 before winning the 2015 Miss USA crown. Carolina fits the diversity bill as she is of Colombian and Mexican descent. Carolina enjoys nature and also has a story of once suffering from homelessness which is why she supports the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth and hopes to inspire people to achieve the American dream. She also works as a model and raises three rescued animals. Carolina has also competed in past editions of the reality competition “Nuestra Belleza Latina.” Nevada hasn’t placed since 2015 even though they hosted the last two Miss USA pageants so is it time for a return and could Carolina bring them back in a big way?? Another Miss USA 2018 delegate who has competed in California is Oregon’s Toneata Morgan who was a semifinalist at Miss California USA 2017 and has also competed in Miss California Teen USA 4 times obtaining a 2nd runner up position in 2012. Both Carolina and Toneata have represented Malibu in California pageants. Toneata works as a model and actress and is an entrepreneur who designs for her active-wear company, All Legs. Oregon doesn’t place that often and their most recent placement was back in 2004 so will experienced Toneata be able to turn that around?

Mothers Be Good To Your Daughters

Tennessee-Alexandra Harper with her mother, Sharon Steakly-Miss Tennessee USA 1981
You all know how much I love a good legacy story. Well, Tennessee’s Alexandra Harper is the daughter of Miss Tennessee USA 1981 and semifinalist at Miss USA 1981, Sharon Steakly. This is the first such instance of a dual mother-daughter win in Tennessee but Tucker Perry, Miss Tennessee USA 2010 is the daughter of Kathi Tucker, Miss Washington USA 1983 and both Tucker and Kathi placed in the semifinals of their respective Miss USA pageants. Some other notable mother-daughter duos include: North Carolina’s Kristen Dalton, Miss USA 2009 who is the daughter of Jeannine Boger who represented North Carolina at Miss USA 1982 but went unplaced and just last year, Utah’s Baylee Jensen competed for Miss USA 2017 but went unplaced and Baylee is the daughter of Texas’ Gretchen Polhemus, Miss USA 1989. So far, Baylee is the only daughter of a former Miss USA winner to compete at Miss USA. Alexandra stands at 6 feet tall and she has media experience already as she works on the show ‘Music City’ on CMT and she is a graduate of the University of Tennessee who runs a fashion and beauty website and her platform involves combatting against hunger with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. The volunteer state traditionally has excellent showings at Miss USA and Alexandra hopes to surpass her mother’s achievement and possibly go all the way and get a third Miss USA crown for Tennessee succeeding their previous wins of Lynnette Cole in 2000 and Rachel Smith in 2007 and Tennessee did place in the top 10 last year thanks to Allee-Sutton Hethcoat so let’s see if Alexandra can keep it going.

A Capital Hat Trick?

District of Columbia-Bryce ArmstrongTexas-Logan Lester The nation’s capital of the District of Columbia has captured the last two Miss USA titles thanks to Deshauna Barber and Kára McCullough. Now, DC is sending Bryce Armstrong who hopes to pull off the elusive three-peat which no state apart from Texas has achieved at Miss USA. Texas did the impossible and won Miss USA 5 years in a row from 1985 to 1989 but no other state has won more than twice in a row. Virginia won in 1969 and 1970 and Illinois won in 1973 and 1974. At Miss America, a three-peat has recently been achieved by New York winning from 2013 to 2015 so can Bryce do it for DC at Miss USA? Will it be thrice for Bryce??? Bryce has her own business which involves baking and decorating desserts for various special events throughout D.C. and it evolved out of her passion for baking. She also volunteers for an organization called SOME (So Others Might Eat) which seeks to combat homelessness in her area. Since Texas has achieved more than three years in a row and is comfortably the most successful state at Miss USA, we should definitely mention this year’s representative of the Lonestar state, Logan Lester who hopes to make a comeback for Texas after a rare exclusion from the semifinals for the last two years. If you can believe it, Texas has never missed the semifinals for more than two years in a row in the history of Miss USA so if Logan Lester doesn’t place, it will be a negative historical achievement for Texas as it would be the first time Texas missed the semifinals three years in a row. Logan is an established realtor at her young age and prides herself in having completed high school in three years and graduating college by the age of 21. Will these accomplishments bring Texas back to the semifinals in a big way?

The Queen Bee is the Bee’s Knees

Ohio-Deneen PennOhio-Deneen PennOhio sends us a promising contender that has really caught my attention as she seems to be right in step with the IMG era of pageantry and I've seen some brilliant quotes come from her so she is definitely a crown contender. Deneen Penn is a beekeeper which is unique and visual accomplishment in itself and her beekeeping skills have turned her into a young entrepreneur starting her own company called Queen Bee Honey which allows her to produce and sell organic honey which in turn prompted her to establish an organization called the Worker Bee which helps young entrepreneurs develop the skills to start their own businesses. Ohio has won the Miss USA crown twice in the years of 1965 thanks to Sue Ann Downey and in 1981 thanks to Kim Seelbreede and let us not forget the most popular Buckeye state representative to compete at Miss USA, Academy Award winning actress, Halle Berry, who was 1st runner up at Miss USA in 1986. Deneen is also quite the scholastic as she is an MBA Candidate and also holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree and she also has previous pageant experience as well as she also won the Miss Ohio Collegiate America title for 2017. Will Deneen do as Muhammad Ali said and float like a butterfly and sting like a bee and capture a third Miss USA crown for Ohio?

I’m Feeling So Exotic

In addition to Nevada’s delegate, there is another woman of Colombian descent competing for this year’s Miss USA crown and that would be Georgia’s Marianny Egurrola. Georgia-Marianny EgurrolaMississippi-Laine Alden MansourUtah-Narine Ishhanov Marianny was born and raised in Colombia and lived there until the age of 15, moving to the United States in 2007. She holds a degree in International Affairs from the University of Georgia. She also works as an international actress and model. Georgia has placed multiple times as a runner-up over the years but they have yet to win the crown. Georgia’s highest placement was in 1993 when Erin Nance was 1st runner up to Michigan’s own Kenya Moore. Will Marianny become Georgia’s sweetest peach?
Mississippi’s Laine Alden Mansour also fits the diversity bill. This 21 year old Lebanese princess from Tupelo studies Integrated Marketing and Communications at the University of Mississippi and plans to obtain her Law Degree to practice Family Law. Her platform, Going the Extra Mile, allows Laine to speak with youth on her belief that true beauty comes from within. Mississippi has never won the Miss USA crown but their highest placement was as 1st runner up in 2008 thanks to Leah Laviano so will Laine’s exotic flavor give Mississippi that extra edge and that first Miss USA crown for the Magnolia state?
Utah’s Narine Ishhanov is of Armenian descent and she has a look similar to that of a Kardashian or even Miss Universe 2012, Olivia Culpo. Narine is yet another entrepreneur who runs a national trucking transportation company. She plans to continue her studies with a goal of becoming a Doctor of Dental Medicine. Like the reigning Miss USA, Kára McCullough, Narine works to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and is an ambassador for STEM Action Center in Utah, which educates school children about these fields. Utah inherited the crown in 1957 but has only one official Miss USA winner and that was Linda Bement in 1960 who went on to win Miss Universe that year.

Rest In Peace, Linda Bement-Miss Universe 1960

The top 5 of Miss USA 1960 from left to right: 4th Runner Up-Florida's Nancy Wakefield, 2nd Runner Up-Alabama's Margaret Jo Gordon, Miss USA and Miss Universe 1960-Utah's Linda Bement, 1st Runner Up-New York's Mary Rodites, 3rd Runner Up-North Carolina's Lyndia Ann TarletonLinda Bement is crowned Miss USA 1960 Linda Jeanne Bement (November 2, 1941-March 19, 2018) passed away of natural causes at her home in Salt Lake City at the age of 76 and Linda has now become the fifth Miss Universe to enter mortality and the 2nd of the 8 Miss Universe winners that represented the USA to pass away. The first four Miss Universes to leave us were: Sweden’s Hillevi Rombin Schine (1955) who died in a plane crash in 1996, Spain’s Amparo Munoz Quesada (1974) who succumbed to brain cancer in 2011, USA’s Sylvia Hitchcock Carson (1967) also passed away from cancer in 2015 and later that year, Colombia’s Luz Marina Zuluaga (1958) passed away while the next Colombian Paulina Vega reigned as Miss Universe. Linda Bement is still the only woman from Utah to outright win the Miss USA crown. Utah's Charlotte Sheffield (who passed away in 2016 so both of Utah's Miss USA titleholders are deceased) was originally the 1st runner up in 1957 but Charlotte would inherit the crown when Maryland’s Leona Gage was found to be married with children. Linda won her Miss USA crown on July 7, 1960 and only a few days later on July 9, 1960, she would become the third Miss USA to win Miss Universe succeeding South Carolina’s Miriam Stevenson in 1954 and Iowa’s Carol Morris in 1956. In 1962, Linda would marry a multi-millionaire U.S. Racing Hall of Fame Thoroughbred racing jockey, Manuel Ycaza who was born in Panama. Manuel and Linda had two children named after them before they divorced in November of 1969. Linda’s second marriage was to Rob Sharp which also ended in divorce around 1979. In 1994, during an interview on Inside Edition, Linda displayed some of her artwork and said men were often intimidated to talk to her or date her because of her title and that she had been divorced 15 years and wouldn’t mind having a partner for life. In 1996, Harry Smith interviewed Linda Bement on “CBS This Morning” where Linda said she entered the pageants as a business with the goal of getting more money for education and also talked about showcasing more of her artwork of wildlife in the Petersen Art Gallery in Utah. May Linda rest in peace.

The top 5 of Miss Universe 1960 from Left to Right: 4th Runner Up-Spain's Maria Teresa Del Rio, 2nd Runner Up-Austria's Elizabeth Hodacs, Miss Universe 1960-USA's Linda Bement, 1st Runner Up-Italy's Daniela Bianchi, 3rd Runner Up-South Africa's Nicolette Caras

On May 14, I will post a second round of prethoughts with comments on each of the 51 delegates competing for Miss USA 2018 and then after observing the preliminaries (being shown on or their social media channels on May 17 at 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time), I will post my final predictions on May 20 and then the big night is May 21 when the new Miss USA is chosen. Who will be the chosen one?

Watch Miss USA 2018 on Monday, May 21 on FOX!




Some photos courtesy Miss Universe L.P., LLLP