The Miss America Pageant originated in 1920 as “The Fall Frolic” and the following year was called the “bathing suit review. Overseen by the Miss America Foundation the competition has changed over the century. Still held in Atlantic City, New Jersey and still featuring the bathing suit completion, the pageant now features talent and interview competitions as well as the beauty portion. Each September representatives from each state compete with the winner representing the crown the following year. As well as making appearances throughout the country Miss America is paid and earns a scholarship. The annual contest has had some interesting moments.
Here are the top 5 moments from the 2018 Miss America Competition.
Miss North Dakota
For the first time in the pageant’s history Miss North Dakota won the title. Cara Mund of Bismarck was crowned Miss America 2018 by Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields. Cara Mund grew up in Bismarck and entered pageants at a young age. She developed her platform at 14 when she began arranging fashion shows to benefit the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Her platform is called “A Make-a-Wish Passion with Fashion”. She graduated from Brown University with a business degree and will study law at the University of Notre Dame.
For the talent portion of the competition, Mund performed a Jazz dance to Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel”. For the question portion of the competition, Mund responded to a question about the United States withdrawing from the Paris Accords diplomatically pointing out that we should be at the table for the discussion on climate. She responded to a question about what is on her bucket list that she hoped to make it into the top 10 of the Miss American Pageant finalists.
For the first time in the Pageant’s history, the contestants were asked a second more personal question. The point of the first question is to give the contestants the opportunity to have a prepared answer and perhaps represent her platform. This second question does not allow the contestant to prepare and offers her the opportunity to express her personality. Questions included “What would the title of your autobiography be?” and “Would you go through a red light at 4 am if no one were around?”.
The 4 judges’ facial expressions during the talent competition was priceless. Some of the contestants gave some expressive performances. Country singer Thomas Rhett looked absolutely elated at some points. Miss America 2014 Nina Davulini gave a frighteningly stoic look at one point that went viral on the internet.
When Miss Missouri, Jennifer Davis, is such a fan of Jordan Sparks that she gushed for a moment when asked an interview question by the singer and reality show winner. Davis quickly regained her composure to answer the question. She was able to promote her children’s book “Diversity Matters” and was adorable.
Decades ago Miss America contestants not chosen in the top 5 wore white gowns to the finale. In a nod to this tradition the Miss America Foundation has brought this back. This year Sherri Hill, the pageant’s sponsor, designed each of the non-finalists white gowns worn for the finale.