"Here she is..."The Miss America Pageant has its origins in a swimsuit competition that was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Margaret Gorman, Miss District of Columbia, was recognized as the first Miss America in 1921 and won $100. The pageant has been held annually ever since except for several years during the Great Depression due to financial difficulties and criticism that the pageant promoted "loose morals." It wasn't until 1940 that the contest became officially known as "The Miss America Pageant." The beauty queens are asked to compete in several categories: Artistic Expression, Presentation and Community Achievement, Presence and Poise, and Lifestyle and Fitness.
You may remember Vanessa Williams, the first African-American Miss America who was pressured into resigning due to the publication of some unauthorized photos. She became an accomplished actress and singer, but what does she look like today? Then there's Miss America 1955 Lee Meriwether, who famously played Catwoman in the 1966 movie Batman. Miss America 1982 Elizabeth Gracen was caught up in the Paula Jones court case due to a one-night stand Gracen had with Bill Clinton. Miss America 2003 Erika Harold is a Republican who has run for several political offices in Illinois. Other former Miss Americas you'll catch up with in this slideshow include Kate Shindle, BeBe Shopp, Ericka Dunlap, Jo-Carroll Dennison, Katie Stam and many more.
What do these beauty queens look like years and sometimes decades after their reigns as Miss America? Find out! Get Started