For the first time ever all Black women hold the pageant titles of Miss Teen USA, Miss America, and Miss USA.
What We Know:
- The world of pageantry has a long history of discrimination, even barring women of color until the 1940s, but has been popular since its ‘modern’ start with Miss America in 1921, Miss USA in 1952, and Miss Teen USA in 1983.
- Cheryl Browne was the first black woman to participate in 1970 with Vanessa Williams winning as the first black woman to win the title of Miss America in 1983. Followed by Carole Gist winning Miss USA in 1990 and Janel Bishop winning Miss Teen USA in 1991.
- Winner of 2019 Miss USA Cheslie Kryst graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina and earned her law degree and MBA from Wake Forest University. She practices civil litigation while working to get reduced sentences for people who have been unjustly sentenced.
- Miss Teen USA winner, 18-year-old Kaleigh Garris from New Haven, Connecticut, is a high school student dual-enrolled at the Educational Center for the Arts studying theatre, competitive dancer, and founder of #WeArePeople1st
- Nia Franklin, Miss America 2019, was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina but has since moved to Brooklyn, New York. Franklin earned her undergraduate degree in composition from East Carolina University, a master’s in fine arts from The University of North Carolina’s School of the Arts, and is a classically trained opera singer and advocate for the arts. She works with Sing for Hope to inspire kids the way music inspired her.
We must agree with Kryst when she says “Glass ceilings can be broken wearing either a skirt or pants” and we truly hope women across the globe go up from here!