departure pics

Preliminaries are on September 30 on the Miss USA paid livestream website when we will see all 51 contestants compete in swimsuit and gown and then the 2022 Miss USA pageant will air on FYI and streamed on Hulu on Monday, October 3 live from the at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada. Zuri Hall returns to serve as host (as expected as Zuri did a great job last year), while Christian Murphy will return as FYI correspondent and Julissa Bermudez and Micah Jesse will serve as sideline hosts. Judges include: Aaron Potts, Nicole Williams-English, Kirk Myers, Ashlee Clarke, Soo Yeon Lee, Olivia Ponton. Chloe Flower will perform. Spread the word and get people to watch Miss USA on FYI this year!

The ladies are arriving in Reno! To quote Kathy Najimy's character Sister Mary Patrick in the hit movie, 'Sister Act,' 'What a lovely name...Reno!' 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 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 2022 on October 2 but in the meantime, I will be posting my present thoughts on each delegate.

Katelyn Vinson

Alabama made the top 5 in 2020 and Katelyn was 3rd runner up for Miss Alabama USA 2021 but the winner of that pageant went unplaced. Katelyn has a decent look but somehow I feel like she may not be quite strong enough so I currently have her as an alternate. Senior at Auburn University, where she is majoring in Business Administration while pursuing a minor in Marketing and hopes to be a artist and repertoire representative for a Christian record label. 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.

Courtney Schuman

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 competed at Miss America 2019 going unplaced and is not among my picks.

Isabel Ticlo

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. Isabel is exotic with a Thai mother and Indian father so that could be a point of interest but she is among my alternates currently as she went unplaced at Miss America 2019 but I'll see if she impresses me in preliminaries.

Rylie Wagner

Rylie is among my top 10 at the moment with a strong body and overall look. She studies fashion and apparel design at the University of Arkansas and aspires to be a retail buyer and she also attended Arkansas Tech University studying Business Administration and Management. Arkansas has won the crown once in 1982 thanks to Terri Utley and they last placed in 2019 among the top 5 that year.

Tiffany Johnson

This was more of a surprise win for a California delegate but she has competed in the Miss America system placing as a runner up at Miss Hawaii (America) 2021 so she must speak well but doesn't appear to have the body for this competition so she is not among my picks. California placed among the top 10 in 2020 and they have won the Miss USA crown 6 times (1959, 1966, 1975, 1983, 1992 and 2011) once in each decade excluding the 2000s when they earned 3 1st runner-up placements.

Alexis Glover

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

Cynthia Dias

Cynthia was Miss Connecticut's Outstanding Teen 2014 so I'm sure she has strong interview skills and it looks like she is easily leading in the online vote but I don't know how updated it is but I have her in my current top 16 as a result. She is quite accomplished as she hold a Bachelor's Degree in Psychological Sciences and a Master's in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and she is of Portuguese descent. Connecticut won their only Miss USA crown in 2013 and last made the top 10 in 2016.

Grace Lange

Delaware placed for the first time ever in 2015 thanks to Renee Bull who made the top 10. Grace went unplaced at Miss Teen USA 2017 but she plays basketball and studies at the University of Pennsylvania Law School after graduating from Villanova University. She has currently moved into my top 5 after reviewing some pictures of her as she seems to have that elegant swan-like neck and her athleticism helps contribute to her fit body and her overall look is pleasant so we'll see if she stays in my top 5 after preliminaries and can earn a 2nd placement for Delaware.

District of Columbia
Faith Porter

DC has been doing suspiciously well placing in 4 of the last 6 Miss USA pageants and even winning two of those crowns. Faith is a possibility but I have her as an alternate currently as she doesn't have much of a strong track record in her previous pageants placing only as a semifinalist in Maryland 2021 and DC 2020 and 2019 so I'm a bit unsure. 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.

Taylor Fulford

Taylor won Miss Florida USA on her eighth try so she is very experienced but I have her as an honorable mention currently as I find her decent but I'm just not sure that we will see her in the mix. Florida placed as 2nd runner up last year thanks to Ashley Carino who went on to win Miss Puerto Rico and will be competing for Miss Universe 2022. 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.

Holly Haynes

Holly is still my winner at the moment. She has previously competed at her state pageant for Miss America placing twice as a runner-up before winning Miss Georgia USA on her first try. The Miss America system does focus on interview skills and I think Holly's overall look and body combined with this makes her a strong contender. 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 last placing in 2020. Is Holly about to get the Peach state their long-awaited first Miss USA crown?

Kiana Yamat

This delegate is not among my picks. Hawaii last placed in 2020 and they have won the Miss USA crown 4 times with their most recent winner also winning Miss Universe in 1997.

Jordana Dahmen

Jordana is a published scientist and works to shatter stereotypes encouraging women to study in the male-dominated Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Jordana was also runner-up at the state level to Kim Layne who earned a 1st runner up placement for Idaho at Miss USA 2020 so is Jordana about to the same? Or will she take it all? She seems like a strong overall delegate so I have her in my top 10 currently.

Angel Reyes

This is a decent delegate that seems to be winning favor as she is well-styled. I'm concerned about the height but I do have her in my top 16 at the moment. Illinois placed in the top 4 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).

Samantha Toney

I'm just not getting the impression that she will place so we'll see. Indiana made the top 5 in 2020 but they have never won the crown but they do have a 1st runner up with Holly Dennis in 1981.

Randi Estabrook

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.

Elyse Noe

Elyse is in my top 5 currently. She has a great body and hair reminiscent of Dayana Mendoza-Miss Universe 2008 and I'm thinking the judges will say yes to the Noe and be reservin' dat crown Fur Elyse... Kansas won the Miss USA crown once back in 1991 thanks to Kelli McCarty and they last placed in 2021.

Lizzy Neutz

Will the bluegrass state be able to pull off a back-to-back win? Lizzy looks like a strong overall candidate with a great body so I have her in my top 10 currently so it could happen. Kentucky won the crown twice in 2006 and last year in 2021. How will Lizzy fare?

Katelyn "KT" Scannell

KT's unique spelling of her name could draw attention and she has a strong track record as placing as a runner-up in Miss Mississippi USA 2021 and several times as a runner-up at Miss Louisiana Teen USA so this girl has something and Louisiana is also hosting the upcoming 2022 Miss Universe in January 2023 so hmmm.... I have her as an alternate presently but Louisiana currently has the longest streak placing 3 years in a row so will KT make it 4? Louisiana has won the crown 3 times (1958, 1961, 1996).

Elizabeth Kervin

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. I have Elizabeth in my alternates currently but I think she has a strong overall look and could move into my list after preliminaries as she is accomplished holding a Bachelor’s Degree in biochemistry and plans to go to medical school to become a trauma surgeon.

Caleigh Shade

Caleigh is among my top 16 picks this year. She looks quite photogenic especially with the red hair she has sported departing from her blonde hair similarly to Miss USA 2011-Alyssa Campanella. She did fall out of my top 5 to a top 16 spot as I'm not sure that her body is among the strongest but I know she has strong political knowledge and placed in the top 15 at Miss Teen USA 2018 so she still is a strong candidate. Maryland has placed in 8 of the last 11 years which is very impressive and they did make the top 8 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.

Skarlet Ramirez

Skarlet has a story about migrating from her birth country, Dominican Republic without knowing English and having to overcome poverty and being raised by a single father but she would graduate high school with honors and attend Fitchburg State University where she graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Communications in 2016. I currently have her as an honorable mention but she could place. Massachusetts has won the crown twice in 1998 and 2003 and last placed in 2018.

Aria Hutchinson

Aria is a legacy delegate being the daughter of Melissa Sinkevics-Miss Michigan Teen USA 1988 and James Hutchinson who is a pro football player and she has a degree in Neuroscience. I have her in my honorable mentions currently though. Michigan won the crown 3 times (1990, 1993 and 2010) and last placed in 2018.

Madeline Helget

Madeline is currently in my next tier but she has a decent overall look but she was 2nd runner up to the 2020 delegate from Minnesota who also went unplaced so I'm unsure about this one. She has a unique job though as she is a registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer and started an initiative to address the mental health needs of cancer patients so maybe there's a story here. Minnesota won its only crown in 1976 and they last placed in 2019.

Hailey White

Hailey has a good body and overall look but I'm not seeing enough support and as good of a previous state pageant record so I have her as an honorable mention currently. Mississippi just won its first Miss USA crown with Asya Branch in 2020 and they placed among the semifinalists last year so let's see if they can do it 3 years in a row.

Mikala McGhee

Being a basketball player gives Mikala that athletic body but I will probably have her as a next tier delegate. Missouri won its only Miss USA crown in 2004 and they last placed in 2020.

Heather Lee O'Keefe

Heather statehopped from Florida as she was 2nd runner up at the 2020 Miss Florida USA pageant. I have her in my next tier presently as I'm not seeing much consensus on her placing. Montana has not placed since way back in 1958.

Natalie Pieper

This headshot is among the best of the bunch and has propelled Natalie to several top 5 lists including my current one. She is quite accomplished too working as a financial services litigator who graduated magna cum laude from Loyola University in Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and also graduated from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. Nebraska won their first crown in 2018 thanks to Sarah Rose Summers and they placed in the semifinals last year so will Natalie get another crown for the Cornhusker state?

Summer Keffeler

As indicated in my first round prethoughts, Summer's sister Stormy was supposed to represent Washington at Miss USA 2016 but got dethroned when she failed to reveal a previous DUI conviction. Summer is now getting that chance as the host delegate and I currently have her in my top 10 and she has a good story about overcoming a learning disorder and she has experience as Miss Washington Teen USA 2018 but going unplaced at Miss Teen USA. Although, I wonder if her sister's dethronement will affect Summer's chances of placing so we'll see what happens. Nevada won their only Miss USA crown in 2014 and last placed in 2020.

New Hampshire
Camila Sacco

New Hampshire doesn't have a great track record and this delegate has also competed in Kansas not winning her state title after four attempts there before statehopping to New Hampshire and winning that state title after two attempts. This delegate has a pleasant face but the body doesn't quite look like it's up to par so she is not in my list currently. 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
Alexandra Lakhman

Alexandra is of Ukrainian descent so that could be a point of interest but I just have her as a next tier delegate currently. New Jersey has never won the crown and they last placed in the top 10 in 2020.

New Mexico
Suzanne Perez

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
Heather Nunez

Like the delegate from Massachusetts, Heather is also of Dominican descent and has a story of surviving domestic abuse and went on to earn a degree in Criminal Justice. I'm not so sure about this delegate so she might be in my next tier. New York has won 3 Miss USA crowns (1952, 1979, and 1999) and inherited one crown in 1995 and they last placed in 2020.

North Carolina
Morgan Romano

Morgan is among my top 16 currently. North Carolina has done very well in recent years and Morgan is passionate about STEM and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering. North Carolina won their three Miss USA crowns in 2005, 2009 and 2019 and they made top 8 last year so let's see how Morgan does for the Tarheel state.

North Dakota
SaNoah LaRocque

This delegate is not among my picks even though North Dakota did place as 1st runner up last year. An interesting factoid about North Dakota is that each of the 5 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 and 2021 so when North Dakota places, they place strong.

Sir'Quora Carroll

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. Originally, I thought Ohio's delegate has some fierceness to her, in these competitive conditions, I may have her as a next tier delegate.

Ashley Ehrhart

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. This delegate is not among my picks even though Oklahoma hosted Miss USA last year.

Arielle Freytag

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 but this delegate is not among my picks.

Billie LaRaé Owens

I have Billie in my top 16 currently. Billie is the daughter of basketball player, Billy Owens and those tall, athletic genes should certainly work in her favor. Pennsylvania won the crown in 1971 and last placed in 2019.

Rhode Island
Elaine Collado

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
Meera Bhonslé

Meera has an interesting ethnic background with a Salvadorian mother and an Indian father but I don't think she quite has the body for this competition so I have her as a next tier delegate currently. South Carolina last placed in 2021 when they made the top 8 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
Shania Knutson

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. Shania does stand out with the short hair but I'm not seeing it body-wise so she is not among my picks at the moment.

Emily Suttle

Emily has a classic look but I think the body is just okay so I have her in my top 16 at the moment. 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 16 in 2021.

R'Bonney Gabriel

Texas, the most successful state at Miss USA, has won the crown 9 times and made the top 8 last year and R'Bonney was 1st runner up to that delegate, Victoria Hinojosa so a lot of people expect a high placement from R'Bonney lass too! She is still among my top 5 currently and she is the first woman of Filipina and even Asian descent (on her father's side) to represent the lone star state and she works in fashion design with her own clothing line and likely will have a showstopping gown.

Elisabeth Bradley

This delegate doesn't appear to quite have the body for this competition but she takes very good headshots so I have her in my next tier presently. 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 among the top 16 in 2021.

Kelsey Golonka

Vermont hasn't placed since 1982 but they did win the crown back in 1955. Kelsey is a former Teen who placed among the top 15 of Miss Teen USA 2017 and now her sister is her sister-queen as Miss Vermont Teen USA 2022 so this is the first instance of sisters holding their state titles for Miss and Teen in the same year! I'm reminded of the Spier sisters who held the titles of Miss North Dakota Teen USA 1995 and Miss North Dakota USA 1996 with Juliette making the top 6 at Miss USA 1996 so let's see if Kelsey can pull off a similar feat. I have her in my next tier currently but she could move up after preliminaries.

Kailee Horvath

Her body is good but I'm not positive about her so I have her in my honorable mentions currently. Virginia won the crown twice back in 1969 and 1970 and last placed in 2021.

Mazzy Eckel

Will Mazzy be the Star to Fade Into You...S...A...? She's a political scientist with a great overall look so I think she can do it and she seems to be winning favor so I have her in my top 10 currently. Washington won the crown in 1968 but hasn't placed since 2004.

West Virginia
Krystian Leonard

West Virginia last placed in 2016 and has never won the crown. This delegate is not among my picks.

Hollis Brown

I have Hollis in my next tier currently but I could see her placing so we'll see if she can convince me after preliminaries. Wisconsin has never won but they did place in the top 10 in 2014.

Morgan McNally

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 September 30 webcasted on the paid livestream portion of the Miss USA website. I will post my final predictions for Miss USA 2022 on October 2 and then October 3 is the night of the finals webcast airing on FYI or streaming on Hulu so we shall see who will be queen for 2022!


FIRST ROUND PRETHOUGHTS (September 17, 2022)

Elle Smith, Miss USA 2021Elle Smith, Miss USA 2021
Who will succeed Miss USA 2021, Elle Smith of Kentucky and be crowned Miss USA 2022??

Miss Universe For Sale

India's Harnaaz Sandhu is crowned Miss Universe 2021 by Mexico's Andrea Meza-Miss Universe 2020Miss USA 2022 will be held on October 3 and Miss Teen USA 2022 will be held on October 1 with the preliminaries for both being held on September 30. The link to pay for the online streams should be shown on and the finals for Miss USA 2022 will be broadcast on fyi or can be streamed on Hulu on October 3. With the 2022 Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants slated to be held in Reno, Nevada for three years in a row (2022, 2023 and 2024), it looks like the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants which became concurrent events in 2018 (similarly to how Miss USA and Miss Universe were done from 1952 to 1964) have secure footing for the next few years under the directorship of Miss USA 2008-Texas’ Crystle Stewart for the second year in a row. Rumor has it though that her husband might have been acting inappropriately to some contestants allegedly so we shall see where this goes. The winner of the People’s Choice Award selected by paid online vote will advance to the top 16 and we will see the delegates somewhat out of alphabetical order in the preliminaries again like last year due to some the delegates selling ad pages in the program book and some of them will get to choose their spot in the preliminary line-up again. Will there be an actual advantage to this? Perhaps. Ashley Carino-Miss Florida USA 2021 and Miss Puerto Rico Universe 2022 I often feel like the latter delegates tend to score higher than the earlier ones but this isn’t always the case. Even though Miss USA and Miss Teen USA are showing some promise for a few more years, news broke earlier in September that the Miss Universe pageant is up for sale for approximately 20 million dollars. The current owners are the IMG Endeavor group with CEO Ari Emanuel at the helm who obtained the Miss Universe, USA and Teen USA pageants in 2015 after a certain former owner turned president almost derailed Miss USA 2015 due to comments he made during his speech to announce his run for president. Since then, the prizes and sponsors have dwindled significantly as has news coverage and publicity sometimes generating from controversy. The 2021 Miss Universe pageant had lower ratings (2.7 million U.S. viewers) than the 2019 pageant (3.8 million U.S. viewers) which was also broadcast on one of the big 4 U.S. networks FOX but promotion could be done a lot better as could the formatting. The 2020 pageant was held post-dated in May 2021 and broadcast on fyi so that one actually had the lowest U.S. ratings when Covid temporarily wrecked the world. I fell in love with pageantry in the 90s so I’m hoping for a return to that kind of formatting but that was a different time and hopefully the new owners will be more passionate about pageantry and turn things around. The 2022 Miss Universe pageant will be the fourth to be held in the following year as it was announced that it will be held on Saturday, January 14, 2023 at Ernest N. Morial New Orleans City Memorial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA with the Miss Universe preliminary competition likely to be held on Wednesday, January 11, 2023. The 2014, 2016 and 2020 Miss Universe pageants were all held in the following year. This is another sign of the times as pageantry doesn’t receive much love from Western society and hasn’t for years so we shall see what happens. The Miss America pageant skipped 2020 due to Covid but their pageant for 2022 (held in December 2021) was on the streaming service Peacock and not on a major network reminiscent of their pageants from 2006 to 2010 which were broadcast on smaller networks CMT and TLC before returning to major network ABC for 2011. Rumor also has it that Puerto Rico may be hosting the actual 2023 72nd edition of Miss Universe and it's interesting to note that Miss Florida USA 2021, Ashley Carino (who was also 2nd runner up at Miss USA 2021) pulled a Madison-Anderson and country-hopped and won Miss Puerto Rico Universe 2022! Ashley will now get her chance to compete for the international crown so will she match or even surpass Madison's feat of placing 1st runner up at Miss Universe 2019??

Leona Gage Must Be Sashaying Away in Her Grave

Rumors have been circulating that effective as of the 72nd Miss Universe pageant for 2023 that women who have had children or who have been married or may be divorced will be eligible to compete for their national titles and the Miss Universe title. This new rule will allow a whole new demographic of women to compete and pursue a dream that they once thought evaded them. While everyone has an opinion about this, it appears to be a sign of the times supposedly adapting to allow once excluded potential participants but some question if this is a method to get more entrants into state pageants as the numbers have been dwindling in recent years. For example, when Miss USA 2018-Sarah Rose Summers competed for her state title in Nebraska, there were only eight contestants and even for Miss District of Columbia Teen USA 2021, there were only two contestants but the winner, Hannah Gilliard, would go on to become 1st runner up at Miss Teen USA 2021. Of course, these new eligibility rules probably would have been a most welcome case for the only dethroned Miss USA, Maryland’s Leona Gage who would win the Miss USA 1957 title in the early years when times were very different and often contradictory. Leona Gage-Miss USA 1957 surrounded by Israel's Atara Barzely and Peru's Gladys Zender who would win Miss Universe 1957Leona Gage's autobiography Leona’s unique story was that she became pregnant at age 13 by a 24-year-old Gene Ennis who was a member of the U.S. Air Force who didn’t respond to her letters and so she married another man, Edward Thacker but that marriage was annulled soon after and Ennis returned to her and he became Leona’s second husband when she was 14 and she had another son with him at age 16. After that marriage deteriorated, Leona sought to pursue her ambitions to be a model and she met another model who introduced her to a modeling agency and supported her entry to the 1957 Miss Maryland-Universe competition to represent Maryland at Miss USA. Leona kept her past hidden and wound up winning Miss USA 1957. Since Miss USA was held only a few days before Miss Universe back then, Leona had already competed in the Miss Universe preliminaries and placed among the top 15 but then Leona was questioned about the rumors after an investigation was launched and she confessed that she had lied about her age and that she was actually 18 and not 21 and she had been married twice and also had two young sons. Leona had to sashay away as the decision was made to exclude Leona from the Miss Universe finals marking the only year that the USA did not participate in the finals of Miss Universe. (Canada and France are the only two countries to have competed through to the finals of every Miss Universe pageant since its inception in 1952). Argentina’s delegate who had placed 16th was given Leona’s spot and it was too late for Leona’s runner up, Utah’s Charlotte Sheffield to compete at Miss Universe even though, Charlotte inherited the 1957 Miss USA title when Leona was dethroned and she would be sent to compete later for the 1957 Miss World title instead where Charlotte went unplaced. Leona would parlay this scandal and all her media appearances into an moderate acting career and she worked as a burlesque showgirl. Leona married six times in her life and had four sons and one daughter and sadly, two of Leona's children passed away before she did. Leona passed away in 2010 at age 71 and she has an autobiography released in 1965 entitled, ‘My Name Is Leona Gage, Will Somebody Please Help Me?’ Had the new rules for 2023 been in place back then in 1957, Leona would not have had to sashay away and she would have been able to keep her crown and I wonder if the new rules were implemented because of Leona’s story and to avoid the shame that Leona experienced in her life to happen to other participants. Then there is the whole aspect of these other types of delegates going unplaced like we have seen before with transgendered delegates like Spain’s Angela Ponce going unplaced at Miss Universe 2018 and Nevada’s Kataluna Enriquez going unplaced at Miss USA 2021. They might get the news for publicity but if they are going unplaced, this leads to the perception that these delegates get used and may be given the special-segment treatment or not and there is the whole job readiness aspect of this as a woman with children may be able to find caretakers but her ability to do the job as a titleholder may come into question and these may be grounds for elimination so I wonder if these types of contestants should even bother unless they really just want the experience of competing in a major pageant.

Helen Morgan-Miss World 1974 surrounded by runners-up South Africa's Anneline Kriel and Israel's Lea KlainIndrani Rahman-Miss India 1952 was married when she competed for Miss UniverseA similar scandal happened to Helen Morgan who represented Wales at the 1974 Miss Universe pageant placing 1st runner up to Spain’s Amparo Munoz who was quietly dethroned after being a difficult titleholder allegedly punching her chaperone but Helen Morgan would go on to win the 1974 Miss World title representing the United Kingdom and it was soon discovered that she was an unwed mother to a young son and although there was no clause stating that she couldn’t be a mother, the pressures of the press and the scandal that ensued led her to resign and South Africa’s Anneline Kriel would inherit the 1974 Miss World title but since the top 2 of Miss Universe 1974 were both dethroned, there was no final appearance of the reigning Miss Universe at the 1975 Miss Universe pageant and that pageant’s winner, Finland’s Anne Marie Pohtamo was crowned by Miss Universe 1972-Australia’s Kerry Wells.

Even the 1999 Miss Universe pageant final question addressed this issue when the final 3 were asked if Miss Universe were to become pregnant, should she be allowed to continue as Miss Universe and all three delegates said yes. This final question was likely inspired by the rumors surrounding the 1999 delegate from Guam who dropped out prior to the preliminaries of the 1999 Miss Universe pageant when it was discovered that she was pregnant. Interestingly enough, during the first official Miss Universe pageant in 1952, India’s representative, Indrani Rahman was openly married and no one batted an eyelash but Indrani would go unplaced at Miss Universe 1952 but the rules were likely more lenient in this first official year of Miss Universe. Will we see an influx of women with children or who have been married participating in state pageants next year or will we see little change there? It’s interesting to note that the Miss Universe winners of 1952, 1953 and 1957 were all actually 17 years old when they won their titles and 18 was supposed to be the legal age but in the case of Miss Universe 1957, Peru’s Gladys Zender’s father’s defense was that they culturally believe life begins at conception usually 9 months before birth so 1957 evaded yet another potential scandal. Other delegates have lost national titles also for being underaged though such as Curacao’s Jozaine Wall in 2000 and a more famous case of India’s Urvashi Rautela who had to give up her national title in 2012 only to win it again in 2015 but she would go unplaced at Miss Universe 2015 but would be a judge for Miss Universe 2021 which was won by India! There were other cases when the reverse happened and a delegate had aged out and had to give up their titles too and even though the maximum age limit for contestants currently seems to still be 28 since about 2018 (previously it was 26), will that change too? We will soon find out!

All Tea, Yes Shade

Speaking of Maryland’s Miss USA, this year’s delegate for the “Queen” State looks like a very strong contender! All Tea, Yes Shade…Caleigh Shade, that is! Caleigh works as a sommelier or wine steward/expert at The Hobbit restaurant in Ocean City, Maryland. She attends Salisbury University studying Communications. Caleigh appears to have been inspired by another Maryland titleholder, Nana Meriwether who inherited the 2012 Miss USA title for Maryland after Rhode Island’s Olivia Culpo won Miss USA 2012 and then Miss Universe 2012. Nana is also a winemaker and these ladies have broken barriers by getting into male-dominated fields. Caleigh was also Miss Maryland Teen USA 2018 and placed in the Top 15 at Miss Teen USA 2018. As a teen, passionate about politics, Caleigh founded an organization called “We the People: Our Voice Our Vote” with a goal of teaching more about civics to elementary and middle school students and she arranges for guest speakers to come to classrooms to expose students to the political process. In addition to being a sommelier and model, she enjoys cooking French cuisine and playing beach volleyball and is a champion swimmer. Caleigh’s fresh face and stunning red hair is reminiscent of former Miss USA 2011, Alyssa Campanella. Maryland won the Miss USA crown in 1957 but Leona Gage would shortly after be dethroned, then Maryland inherited the crown in 2012 when Olivia Culpo won Miss Universe 2012 allowing 1st runner-up, Nana Meriwether to become Miss USA 2012. Maryland has had a good track record recently too placing in 3 of the last 4 Miss USA pageants and even making the top 8 last year. Is it finally time for Maryland to have a full-term winner? Let’s see if Caleigh Shade will give us the tea (or in her case, the wine) and make the judges drink the kool-aid… Uh, I’m getting thirsty…

The Pied Pieper of Nebraska

Nebraska’s Natalie Pieper is another beauty to watch this year. Four years after Sarah Rose Summers won the first Miss USA title for the Cornhusker state, Natalie hopes to bring Nebraska a second Miss USA crown. Currently working as a financial services litigator at Kutak Rock, Natalie graduated magna cum laude from Loyola University in Chicago in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. While at university, Natalie served Loyola’s Student Government as the executive board of her sorority, Chi Omega and the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Natalie also previously interned at the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, D.C. She has even travelled to Israel which was the host country of the 2021 Miss Universe pageant to study Hebrew Literature. She was even selected as a participant in the Obama Foundation’s Training Days discussing and brainstormed public policy ideas with former President, Barack Obama. In May 2021, Natalie graduated from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, where she interned at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri and served as a Staff Editor on the Journal of Law and Policy. Natalie is admitted to practice law in both Iowa and Nebraska. In addition to modelling, Natalie is trained in classical ballet dancing and we know how graceful the dancers tend to move on stage. Natalie looks to be quite accomplished and photogenic making her absolutely one to watch this year. Nebraska’s successes have been rather sporadic throughout Miss USA history but they did make the top 16 last year so this is a good sign that they are on the right track.

My Name is Noe, My Sign is Noe, My Number is Noe

Kansas’ Elyse Noe certainly hopes the judges say Yes to the Noe! Elyse was crowned Miss Kansas USA by last year’s legacy delegate Gracie Hunt-Miss Kansas USA 2021 who is the daughter of Tavia Shackles-Miss Kansas USA 1993 and 2nd runner up to Miss USA 1993. Even though Kansas has hosted several Miss USA pageants, they have only captured the Miss USA crown once coincidentally in one of the years that Kansas hosted which was back in 1991 when Kelli McCarty captured the crown for the place where the folks still believe there’s no place like home. Kansas would later get a 1st runner up placement in 1996 thanks to the iconic Danielle Boatwright who would go on to win a season of the reality competition show ‘Survivor’ in 2005. Elyse graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism and has worked as a sports reporter and head entertainment anchor. At her university, she served as a member of the Diversity, Equity, and inclusion committee. Elyse has a story about being a survivor of sexual abuse at a young age and she is active in advocating for victims and works to mentor and help provide proper skills and resources to aid survivors of sexual violence. An interesting factoid is that Elyse’s family runs a 150 year old farm in Lecompton, Kansas which is one of the oldest farms in the state and she treasures her visits to the farm as a child and is proud to represent her state and its roots. I really like Elyse’s hair too and she looks impeccably styled so I think she will have a strong showing. Let’s see if them there judges be reservin’ dat crown Fur Elyse!!

‘Twas A Stormy Summer

Nevada-Summer KeffelerStormy Keffeler-the dethroned Miss Washington USA 2016This year’s host delegate is Nevada’s Summer Keffeler and if that name sounds familiar, it is likely because Summer previously held the title of Miss Washington Teen USA 2018 but also because Summer’s sister Stormy previously held the title of Miss Washington USA 2016 but later resigned as when she was asked if she had committed a felony on her state pageant application form, she claims her lawyer told her it was a misdemeanor but the news later came out that in April 2015, she was caught drunk-driving and she reportedly was driving with a blood-alcohol level that was three times the legal limit and she was driving with two flat tires and had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech according to the police report and claimed this was a one-time incident. Stormy would resign as Miss Washington USA 2016 resulting in her runner-up, Kelsey Schmidt representing Washington instead at Miss USA 2016 going unplaced. As we all know, siblings are very often nothing alike so Summer is now getting the chance to compete on the Miss USA stage that Stormy didn’t get. Summer moved to Las Vegas to pursue her love of the entertainment industry participating in competitive dance and cheerleading and she even kickboxes. Summer wrote and published a book entitled “My Name is Summer” in which she talks about being bullied growing up due to having a learning disorder. In spite of this, she is proud to have been part of the Honor Roll and graduated with her Associates from Cascade College at the age of 18 despite her learning disorder. She has a strong ambition to continue to raise awareness to improve the detection, diagnosis and treatment of juvenile Neuro divergency. She also aspires to be a pilot which is largely a male-dominated field. Nevada has only won the crown once which was in 2014 when Nia Sanchez captured their only Miss USA crown and Nevada has been doing quite well in recent years placing in three of the last four Miss USA pageants missing the semifinals last year when they were represented by the first openly transgendered delegate in Miss USA history, Kataluna Enriquez. Will Summer be able to separate herself from her sister’s controversy and possibly take it all and be the first host delegate to win Miss USA since Chelsi Smith in 1995 or will Summer be perceived as trouble by association? Let’s see how Summer can weather the Stormy.

Fade Into You...S...A...

Remember that one-hit wonder Mazzy Star best known for their 90s song, ‘Fade Into You?’ Well, Washington’s delegate, Mazzy Eckel was named after that band! So we’ll repurpose it as ‘Fade Into USA.’ (Miss USA, that is.) Quite the experienced pageant delegate, Mazzy was born in New York but competed during her teen years at Miss New Jersey Teen USA with her best placement being 1st runner up in 2018 and then she would move to Seattle, Washington and win Miss Washington USA on her third try. Mazzy is passionate about politics and hosts a podcast and founded an Instagram live series called “Pursuing Leadership” in which she interviews various politicians in the state of Washington. She also works to combat human trafficking. Mazzy’s sister queen, Kate Dixon-Miss Washington Teen USA has also been in the news when a post of her using the N-word in a tiktok post went viral after her win but she says she was coerced into it by her peers but she was allowed to keep her crown as she admitted her fault and wanted to work on being the best version of herself. Will this controversy affect Kate’s placement at Miss Teen USA? We’ll soon find out. But back to Mazzy, Washington hasn’t had much luck at Miss USA in recent years. They haven’t placed since way back in 2004 with a surprise placement from Tara McCormick but the Evergreen state has won the crown back in 1968 thanks to Dorothy (Didi) Anstett so is it time for Washington to make a huge comeback and will Mazzy be the Star to do it??

Dear Sir’Quora or Madam

Ohio-Sir’Quora CarrollHalle Berry wearing the Miss World crown in 1986 rehearsalOhio’s Sir’Quora Carroll won Miss Ohio USA on her first try and this fierce young lady has eight siblings so naturally, she has a lot of support. Sir’Quora is proud to note that she competed with her natural hair and that there hasn’t been a black Miss Ohio USA since Aisha Berry 17 years ago in 2005. And of course, let’s not forget the most famous Miss Ohio USA, none other than Academy Award winning actress, Halle Berry who was 1st runner up at Miss USA 1986 and went on to place in the top 7 at Miss World 1986 and had even previously won Miss Teen All American 1985. Ohio even boasts the very first African-American delegate in Miss USA history and that was Corinne Huff who represented Ohio at Miss USA 1960. Ohio has also claimed the Miss USA crown twice thanks to Sue Ann Downey in 1965 and Kim Seelbrede in 1981.

Sir’Quora believes she received a message from God to enter her state pageant. She was born and raised in Columbus, where she graduated from Groveport Madison High School in 2017. She would go on to attend Ohio University, where she obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration Marketing. Sir'Quora currently works as a model for Cincinnati-based NV Models and Talent and wants to run a modelling agency herself in the future knowing how competitive both the modelling and pageant industries are. She wants to instill self-love and confidence and inspire her models in that way. The Buckeye state has done quite well in recent years placing among the semifinalists in three of the last six years so we shall see if Madam Sir’Quora will be Ohio’s next history-making delegate!

Billie’s Gene / Aria on Air

Pennsylvania's Billie Owens with her father, NBA player Billy OwensShe was more like a beauty queen from a movie scene... Billie Laraé Owens of Pennsylvania has some good genes as her father is basketball player, Billy Owens who has played in multiple National Basketball Association teams and stands at 6’8” and Billie also is quite athletic like her father and those athletic bodies normally fare very well in pageants. On the left, we can see Miss PA with her Pa! When competing for Miss Pennsylvania USA, Billie ran on a platform of female empowerment as an official ambassador for HoopHers, a girls empowerment program for Philadelphia Youth Basketball. She graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School in 2018 with obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism and she works as a reporter with the Connect Network and she also models, of course. Billie’s younger brother Chaz also plays basketball naturally. Pennsylvania has won the Miss USA crown once back in 1971 when the late Michele McDonald captured the crown for the Keystone state but their successes have been rather sporadic and they last placed in 2019 when Kailyn Perez made the top 15 that year.

Michigan's Aria Hutchinson and her mother Melissa Sinkevics represented Michigan at Miss Teen USA 1988But Billie isn’t the only daughter of a pro-athlete competing for Miss USA 2022, Michigan’s Aria Hutchinson is the daughter of football player, Chris Hutchinson and Miss Michigan Teen USA 1988, Melissa Sinkevics Hutchinson so we have another legacy delegate among us! But Aria is quite intelligent having graduated from the University of Michigan in 2021 with a degree in Neuroscience and she works for ScribeAmerica as a medical scribe. Aria also has a younger brother, Aidan, following in their father’s footsteps as he is also being sought after by the National Football League. Aria was crowned by last year’s Miss Michigan USA, Taylor Hale who won Miss Congeniality at Miss USA 2021 and is currently a contestant on the 24th edition the U.S. hit reality series, ‘Big Brother’ placing in the top 3! Go Taylor!! Michigan has captured the Miss USA crown three times and these wins were all historic as the first two women from Michigan to win Miss USA were also the first two black Miss USA winners: Carole Gist in 1990 and Kenya Moore in 1993 and Michigan’s third Miss USA, Rima Fakih in 2010 was the first Muslim woman to capture the crown. The Great Lakes state hasn’t placed since 2018 so I wonder if we will see Aria on Air (on fyi) as the new Miss USA (and maybe she will flying on British Airways?? Probably not...)

Pageants are competitions too just like sports so will these athletic, competitive genes help fuel the delegates from Pennsylvania and Michigan to go the distance this year??

She’s R’Bonney Lass

R’Bonney Gabriel is the first woman of Filipina descent and even of Asian descent to represent the powerhouse state of Texas at Miss USA and coincidentally the Lone Star state has also chosen another Filipina woman, Averie Bishop, to represent Texas at Miss America 2023 as well. Both of these ladies are also half-Caucasian similarly to the Philippines two most recent Miss Universe winners, Pia Wurtzbach in 2015 and Catriona Gray in 2018. Also, like Pennsylvania’s Miss USA delegate, R’Bonney’s name is a variation of her father’s name R’Bon Gabriel who was 19 when he immigrated from Manila in the Philippines to Washington state with only 20 dollars to his name in the mid-1950s and would later obtain a Doctorate degree in Psychology and opened a car repair shop and he is currently 85 years old living in Missouri City with wife Dana. R’Bonney is a recent graduate from the University of North Texas earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Fashion Design with a minor in Fibers and after interning with Nicole Miller Designs for three months in New York City, R’Bonney now runs her own eco-friendly fashion label called R'Bonney Nola which designs multiple types of clothes made from recycled materials so her environmental consciousness should certainly appeal to the judges. She also works as a sewing teacher at fashion house called Magpies and Peacocks in Houston particularly focusing on teaching survivors of domestic violence how to sew. Texas is easily the most successful state at Miss USA boasting 9 winners with one of those winners, Chelsi Smith going on to win Miss Universe 1995. Recent years haven’t been kind to Texas though placing only three times in the last eight years but with former Miss USA 2008, Crystle Stewart who is Texas’ most recent Miss USA now at the helm directing Miss USA for the second year in a row, Texas will surely not be going unnoticed. Will our bonney lass, R’Bonney be the 10th woman to claim the Miss USA crown for Texas?

Hollywood? Holly Would!

I actually don’t know that but I just assumed since Holly Haynes of Georgia does love singing and acting in addition to writing and modelling that she wouldn’t turn down a career in Hollywood. One of this year’s top contenders, Holly is a graduate of the University of Georgia earning a Bachelor’s Degree of Business Administration in Marketing with a minor in Fashion Merchandising and she also holds a Certificate in Personal and Organizational Leadership. She is also passionate about community service and serves as a mentor for middle-school aged girls dealing with life’s issues exacerbated with the prevalence of social media in today’s society leading her to create her internationally featured program and book #IAmEnough. Holly was a first-time competitor at Miss Georgia USA but has competed several times for the Miss Georgia for Miss America title placing as a runner-up twice so Holly has the talent, the looks and the achievements to go far in this competition and could very well be Georgia’s first Miss USA! Surprisingly, the Peach state has never won Miss USA but they have had multiple runners-up over the years with their best placement being in 1993 when former Miss Teen All American, Erin Nance was 1st runner up to Michigan’s Kenya Moore.

“Rest and Peace”
Rest in Peace, Cheslie Kryst-Miss USA 2019

Cheslie KrystCheslie Kryst“May this day bring you rest and peace.” Those were the cryptic final words from the last instagram post of Cheslie Kryst-Miss USA 2019. A tragic foreshadowing of what would happen shortly after during the early morning of January 30, 2022 when Cheslie, who lived on the 9th floor of the Orion located at 350 West 42nd St in New York City had at least went up to the 29th floor terrace of that building when she jumped from the building alone and sources said there was no indication of any foul play. She was found deceased on the street below around 7:15 a.m. that morning. This was easily one of the most shocking deaths the pageant world has ever seen. Even prior to winning Miss USA 2019, Cheslie was already so accomplished as she had already worked as a lawyer, was a star athlete and was even a fashion blogger. Cheslie worked full-time as an attorney and was licensed to practice law in two states. She earned both her law degree and MBA from Wake Forest University and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor's degree from the Honors College at the University of South Carolina. She also ran a fashion blog called “White Collar Glam” highlighting professional attire for women and she aspired to start her own line of clothing focusing on workwear fashion. She volunteered for "Dress For Success" which is an organization that empowers women to escape volatile situations and achieve economic independence by providing the support and tools needed for women to prosper.

Cheslie Kryst with fellow black titleholders Kaliegh Garris-Miss Teen USA 2019, Zozibini Tunzi-Miss Universe 2019, Nia Franklin-Miss America 2019 and RuPaulCheslie talked often about her unusual experiences as a lawyer such as being told to wear a skirt in court because 'male judges like seeing women argue in them rather than pants' and she said this advice was given to her by a fellow black woman and Cheslie expressed that she was shocked that someone who was also a double minority opted to accept those types of standards rather than challenge them. Cheslie made two attempts to win the Miss North Carolina for Miss America title and won Miss North Carolina USA 2019 after placing top 5 at Miss North Carolina USA 2017 and top 10 at Miss North Carolina USA 2018 and she would express that she didn’t like seeing the looks of disappointment from those who supported her after her losses but she persisted and achieved. Cheslie was inspired to compete in pageants by her mother, April Simpkins who won Mrs. North Carolina 2002. She was even part of the history-making set of black titleholders for 2019 along with Miss Universe 2019-South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi, Miss Teen USA 2019-Connecticut’s Kaliegh Garris, Miss America 2019-New York’s Nia Franklin and Miss World 2019-Jamaica’s Toni-Ann Singh. Cheslie and Kaliegh were both biracial with Cheslie having a black mother and white father and Kaliegh has a black father and white mother. Cheslie even landed a job for the entertainment-news program Extra during her reign as Miss USA which was also yet another accomplishment that was unheard of as very few titleholders have been able to land a job like this during their reigns.

Cheslie KrystCheslie KrystCheslie was known as the record-breaking Miss USA. She was the oldest woman to win the Miss USA title winning a few days after turning 28 years old. She also had the longest Miss USA reign of any Miss USA titleholder largely due to the effects of the Coronavirus impacting the world and Cheslie comfortably holds the distinction of being the longest reigning Miss USA, reigning for 18 months and 1 week from May 2, 2019 to November 9, 2020. The previous longest reigning Miss USA titleholders were: Miss USA 2014-Nevada’s Nia Sanchez who reigned for 13 months and 4 days from June 8, 2014 to July 12, 2015 which is just a day longer than Miss USA 2010-Michigan’s Rima Fakih who reigned for 13 months and 3 days from May 16, 2010 to June 19, 2011. However, Cheslie now also holds the saddest record which is that she is the Miss USA with the shortest earthly life-span passing away at age 30 which defeats a record previously held by Miss USA 1955-Vermont’s Carlene King Johnson who passed away at age 35 after a bout with diabetes. During Covid, Cheslie would conduct numerous interviews with titleholders and several of these interviews are still available online and after landing the job at Extra, she was thrust into the spotlight interviewing numerous prominent celebrities. This is a similar job to what Rachel Smith-Miss USA 2007 does for Entertainment Tonight. I wonder if it might be a bit frustrating to interview celebrities that may be better known than the pageant titleholders or even journalists interviewing them for that matter. It would be nice to be able to make a connection with a celebrity in that way and parlay that into something bigger.

During my prethoughts for Miss USA 2019, I likened Cheslie’s last name Kryst to Christ but it’s actually pronounced Krist with a short “i” but it’s almost ironic that both Cheslie Kryst and Jesus Christ sacrificed their lives both leaving their earthly lives in their 30s for a greater cause be it for the forgiveness of sins or the need to bring awareness to mental health and to prevent bullying. Cheslie often talked about the unpleasant comments she would see others post on social media including vomit emojis implying that some people didn’t think she was pretty enough to be Miss USA which couldn’t be further from the truth. Cheslie Kryst interviewed by Vanessa Lachey-Miss Teen USA 1998Cheslie Kryst crowned by Sarah Rose Summers-Miss USA 2018Even though some others didn’t see her as a contender, I had Cheslie in third place on my predictions list for Miss USA 2019 behind the delegates from New Jersey and West Virginia that both went unplaced so naturally, Cheslie became my pick during the final pageant and I was very impressed by her accomplishments, her fit body and that amazing head of gorgeous hair that could go from fabulous diva curls to straightened hair in short periods of time. She had such a unique sense of style and gave very impressive answers during the 2019 Miss USA competition. When asked the final question, “Millennials are often labelled as entitled but they’ve also been called one of the most socially conscious generations in decades. What is one word you would use to describe your generation, and why?” Cheslie answered, “I would say that my generation is innovative. I am standing here in Nevada, in the state that has the first majority female legislature in this entire country. Mine is the first generation to have that forward-looking mindset that has inclusivity, diversity and strength and empowered women. I am looking forward to continued progress with my generation.” And even during her top 5 question and answer round, Cheslie was asked, “For the past two years, the #MeToo and #TimesUp have dominated our national conversation. However, some believe it has only deepened the divide between men and women. Have these movements gone too far?” Cheslie answered, “I don’t think these movements have gone too far. What #MeToo and #TimesUp are about are making sure that we foster safe and inclusive workplaces in our country. As an attorney, that’s exactly what I want to hear and that’s exactly what I want for this country. I think they’re good movements.” The power of Kryst compelled the judges to pick her and the rest was history.

Cheslie KrystCheslie KrystThe question still remains…How could someone who people described as ‘happiness personified’ and had a life that most people can only dream of end it all in such a devastating manner? Cheslie’s mother said that Cheslie suffered from ‘high-functioning depression’ and suffered from this for years even before entering the pageant world. Bullying from social media has existed from the early days of the internet and even I have experienced this since I started my website in 1998 but because it is so hard to avoid social media, some people with a strong presence online often see both positive and negative comments and I found it helped to keep a lower profile and trying to avoid any comments that may mention you. I’m reminded of Miss India 1997, Nafisa Joseph who also made the top 10 at her year at Miss Universe (like Cheslie) and Nafisa also committed suicide in 2004 by hanging herself from a ceiling fan after an argument with her then-fiancé and I often remember Nafisa’s brilliant answer when asked what was the biggest injustice in the world today, she replied that it was to bring a child into the world and not even being able to offer him or her peace, which is so true and even more so in this rapidly deteriorating world and both Nafisa and Cheslie did not bring a child into the world but there is also a need to be more optimistic. Cheslie was so involved with social media particularly for work that it must have been hard for her to have to filter through the negativity and bullying but suicide is not the answer and no one is just here for themselves but they are also here for those who love them. This world can be cruel and as accomplished as Cheslie was, she could have accomplished so much more. As the Crowded House song says, “Hey now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over… Don’t let them win.”

I should also mention here the coincidence that two beloved queens passed away on the date of September 8. In 2022, it was Queen Elizabeth II but in 2018, it was the much beloved, iconic, charismatic queen Chelsi Smith-Miss Universe 1995 who also passed away too soon at age 45 after battling liver cancer. Reno’s current three-year hosting deal and being this year’s host city for Miss USA 2022 was said to be chosen in honor of Cheslie since she won her 2019 Miss USA title in Reno.
Cheslie Kryst (April 28, 1991-January 30, 2022).
Kryst be with you. Psalm 89:14 EHV states, "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Mercy and truth are right in front of you." May Queen Cheslie claim her throne and may she now find the ‘rest and peace’ that she so desperately sought in this world.

So as of September 17, Tom’s tentative top 5 for Miss USA 2022 are:
1. Georgia
2. Maryland
3. Kansas
4. Nebraska
5. Texas

Will my top 5 change over the coming weeks or will they stay the same?
On September 25, I will post a second round of prethoughts with comments on each of the 51 delegates competing for Miss USA 2022 and then after observing the preliminaries (being shown on the Miss USA paid livestream website on September 30, I will post my final predictions on October 2 and then the big night is October 3 when the new Miss USA is selected. Who will be the chosen one?

Watch Miss USA 2021 on October 3 on FYI or Hulu!




Some photos courtesy Miss Universe L.P., LLLP