Miss Missouri, Author, Crowned Miss USA

04/13/2004 at 03:14 PM EDT

America has a new Miss USA: Miss Missouri, Shandi Finnessey, a 25-year-old graduate student who has published a children's book, was crowned at the 52nd annual pageant, broadcast live on NBC Monday night.

The first runner-up was Miss South Carolina, Amanda Helen Pennekamp, and the second-runner-up Miss North Carolina, Ashley Rachel Puleo, reports Reuters. The third runner-up was Miss Oklahoma, Lindsay Hill, and the fourth runner-up Miss Tennessee, Stephanie Culberson.

Finnessey, a statuesque 5'11" blonde, succeeds former Miss Massachusetts, Susie Castillo, and will compete for the Miss Universe crown on June 1 in Quito, Ecuador.

Clasping the sides of her head as her name was announced, Finnessey is now entitled to a winner's package that includes a $200,000 crown, free accommodation in New York City, as well as free dental work and dermatological services.

As for her background, the St. Louis native -- who describes herself as "totally single and looking" -- wrote a book called "The Furrtails," as part of her aim to integrate mentally retarded children into regular classrooms. She has a master's degree in counseling and also plays piano and violin.

She also told Reuters she is a Republican, and she would like to use her position to help explain America's involvement in Iraq. "What needed to be done had to be done," she said.

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters