Five of the Most Famous Beauty Pageant Winners of All-Time

oprah

Beauty pageants; I’m not sure how I feel about them. No, that’s not entirely accurate. I have no opinion either way about participating in something of this nature when you are a consenting adult making this choice for yourself. I despise them when it comes to small children paraded shamelessly around a stage in atrocious makeup, big hair, tons of hairspray and revealing outfits that are just disgusting. I think beauty pageants for little girls all decked out like that are trashy; just trashy. But that’s not the point. The point is that at some point in their lives, many famous women were once beauty pageant winners. Whether they were a bit older or young girls dressed like women who work the street, they were winners before they were stars. In fact, some of the most famous beauty pageant winners in the world might just surprise you.

eva longoria

Eva Longoria

It should come as no surprise that she is a beauty pageant winner considering she is so beautiful. She was Miss Corpus Christi in 1998. That role led her to more roles, which led her to Hollywood, where she became a highly in-demand actress with more than just a few hit roles to her name.

jeri ryan

Jeri Ryan

We love her as an actress, and she’s been in some of our favorite Primetime shows. However, long before she was a famous actress working with some of the other most famous faces in television, she was working the stage as a beauty queen. She was Miss Illinois back in 1989. That’s a pretty impressive role for a young woman who was just starting out. She is gorgeous, though; so it does make sense.

oprah

Oprah Winfrey

She’s Oprah, and apparently she was Oprah before she was Oprah. Before she was a bazillionaire practically running the world, she was a beauty pageant winner. She was Miss Black Tennessee in 1972. It allowed her to earn a scholarship to Tennessee State University, where she was then contacted by a local radio station for a job handling the news. That led to her becoming a news anchor on television and eventually, well, Oprah.

vanessa lachey

Vanessa Lachey

She was Vanessa Minnillo, the woman who went on to become a famous VJ for MTV. Before that, however, she was a young Miss Teen USA in the 1998 pageant. She was Miss Teen South Carolina, and she was good at what she did. That’s when she became famous as a VJ then a reporter, then as the longtime girlfriend of a very famous pro baseball player, and then as Nick Lachey’s wife and baby’s mother.

kathie lee

Kathie Lee Gifford

We know her and love her as a talk show host and news anchor, but did you know she had a life in the spotlight long before any of that? She was the 1970 America’s Junior Miss pageant contestant, and she ended up getting her big break there. She met a woman who gave her a job and a scholarship to university, and that’s how she became a famous talk show host.

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