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Issue 17 Out Now

MISS USA CROWNS ELLE SMITH

It's A Black Women Takeover!


Photo by Wildan Alfani on Unsplash

And the winner is Miss Kentucky!

Last night the 70th Miss USA pageant took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma. All 51 women united together to compete for the title of Miss USA. So who took home the crown? Miss Kentucky’s Elle Smith.


The 23-year-old Kentucky native is a journalist herself, working as a full-time reporter at WHAS 11. Before taking on the career of journalism full-time, Smith graduated from the University of Kentucky, where she majored in broadcast journalism. She also served as the vice president of the UK’s National Association of Black Journalists chapter. In her spare time, she plays the viola and the piano. But what’s her cause? In honor of her grandma, she is an advocate for cervical cancer awareness.


Elle Smith shares with WHAS 11 her plans regarding cervical cancer awareness. “I think I would take the National Cervical Cancer coalition and take it worldwide. It’s a conversation that’s important. In the United States, cervical cancer is on the decline because we have access to medicine, and we’re talking about these things, and we have access to the HPV vaccine, but that’s not true for other countries around the world.”


Elle Smith will be competing in Miss Universe 2021 on December 12th in Eilat, Israel.


As a black woman, I believe it’s important for other young black women to see themselves presented positively in media, whether as a news anchor, a television host, or Miss USA. Beauty pageants like Miss USA and Miss America have been geared toward skinny white women from the very beginning. But in recent years, there has been a shift. Last year Aysa Branch was crowned Miss USA 2020. A black woman from Detroit, Michigan. In 2019 black women held the crown for five major beauty pageants. That’s a win for Miss Teen USA, Miss USA, Miss America, Miss Universe, and Miss World!


Miss Teen USA 2019


Kaliegh Garris, a competitive dancer from New Haven, CT.


Miss USA 2019


Cheslie Kryst, a television presenter from Jackson, MI.


Miss American 2019


Nia Franklin, a composer from Winston-Salem, NC.


Miss Universe 2019


Zozibini Tunzi, a model from Tsolo, South Africa.


Miss World 2019


Toni-Ann Singh, a singer from Morant Bay, Jamaica.



These five winners will remain role models for many young black girls who grow up in a world that tells them they aren’t good enough, pretty enough, or smart enough. These women are living proof that you can do anything you set your mind to.



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