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For the First Time, All of America’s Top Pageant Winners Are Black

Acknowledging the 36th anniversary of the crowning of the first Black Miss America, Vanessa Williams, on Sept. 17, 1983, we are reposting this May 2019 article.

(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

For the first time in American history, three Black women have been crowned as winners of the country’s top beauty pageants, Because of Them We Can reports.

On Thursday, North Carolina lawyer Cheslie Kryst won the Miss USA title. She is a civil litigation attorney who works on behalf of prison inmates.

During her last question in the final round, she addressed the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. “What #MeToo and #TimesUp are about are making sure that we foster safe and inclusive workplaces in our country, ” she said. “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.”

Kryst is slated to appear in the forthcoming Miss Universe pageant, where only five Black women have ever been crowned winner.

Connecticut native Kaliegh Garris was crowned Miss Teen USA on Sunday. The 18-year-old showcased her natural curls while competing in the acclaimed pageant.

She opened up about how she prepared her tresses before the big event. “The night before, I finger curled every single piece of my hair in the shower, which led to a very long shower, but it was for the greater good,” she told Refinery29. “I know what I look like with straight hair, with extensions, and with my curly hair, and I feel more confident and comfortable with my natural hair.”

In September, New York contestant Nia Franklin wowed viewers and judges with her performance of “Quando’ m’en vo” from the opera La Boheme, while competing for the Miss America title.

Franklin, a native of North Carolina, explained her appreciation for the Big Apple. “I have New York grit. As a New Yorker, I understand what it takes to work hard,” she said.

Congratulations to the historic beauty queens.

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