06:38 PM EDT 10/09/2014
Originally posted 06/16/2013 11:15PM
From 51 to the one and only Miss USA 2013: Congratulations, Miss Connecticut Erin Brady!
Reigning Miss USA Nana Meriwether has relinquished her crown – and the posh New York apartment that comes with it – to her successor.
Brady, 25, will become a spokeswoman for breast and ovarian cancer awareness and travel the world for various charity work. The first runner-up, Miss Alabama Mary Margaret McCord, will take over should Brady not be able to complete her duties.
Originally posted 06/16/2013 06:00PM
Last week, I had the opportunity to judge the Miss USA pageant. No, I didn't meet The Donald. And, no, I'm not now best friends with Giuliana Rancic – the co-host arrived after Sin City was long in my rearview mirror.
But I did meet 51 amazing young women. Some were competing in their first pageants, others were old pros (even what the industry refers to as state jumpers – you know, when you can't win California, why not try Idaho?)
I spent an entire day interviewing them, breaking them out of their pageant comfort zone and checking out their grace under pressure. It's a big job to represent a worldwide brand, and in all fairness, you do have to be more than just a pretty face.
Originally posted 06/13/2013 01:25PM
In a world where imperfections stick out like sore thumbs, Gabrielle Neilan isn't hiding hers. In fact, she's embracing the subtle scar on her neck.
"It's my strength," she says, before joking, "You can hardly notice it. It's like a fat roll on my neck."
The fact that Neilan, 22, can be so humorous about it is refreshing. It's also shocking, considering she is one of 51 women competing in Las Vegas this weekend in the Miss USA pageant.
Besting the other women is a tall task, of course, but the brunette beauty has been through worse. It wasn't long ago her Miss Oregon USA sash was replaced with a hospital gown and her stage was replaced with an operating table.
Originally posted 06/12/2013 04:00PM
The Miss USA pageant isn't until Sunday night, but the preliminary competition is already in full swing in Las Vegas.
Fifty-one hopefuls – representing their respective states and Washington, D.C. – have converged on the fabled Strip to be vetted by a panel of judges (including yours truly!) tasked with narrowing the field.
The prelims involve interviews as well as swimsuit and evening gown evaluations, all to help determine 15 semifinalists (including one voted in by fans) to be announced during the primetime telecast on Sunday, June 16.
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