16 Celebs You Didn't Know Were Once Beauty Pageant Queens
Miss America 2019 (which, yes, is happening in 2018) is right around the corner, and with it your annual excuse to watch Miss Congeniality judgment-free.
Though the nature of the competition has changed a lot through the last 98 years (this will be the first year without a swimsuit contest component), the gist of it remains the same: tiaras, evening gowns, and a universal desire for world peace. No matter what you think of beauty pageantry, there’s no denying that these competitions give young women a platform. Many pageant queens go on to do great things (ahem, Oprah, Diane Sawyer … ).
VIDEO: Miss America Is Ditching Its Swimsuit Competition
Scroll down below to see 16 women who made the transition from pageant contestant to celebrity.
Katy (or, uh, JonBenét, if you drink the Kool Aid), competed in pageants as a child.
Before she stepped onto the Bollywood scene, Chopra was a star in a different galaxy: that of pageantry. At 18, the Quantico actress's career received a jumpstart when she earned the title of Miss World 2000.
The future three-time Oscar nominee earned her crown as Miss Orange County in 1978.
The future Desperate Housewife got her start as Miss Corpus Christi in 1998.
Before the Mickey Mouse Club, Brit was a local pageant queen — she began competing at just 3 years old.
The talkshow queen-in-training earned the title of Miss Black Tennessee in 1971.
The Oscar winner wore the title of Miss Ohio before competing (and placing sixth) in Miss World in 1986.
The Italian screen siren competed in 1950's Miss Italy contest, earning the title of Miss Elegance.
Just four years before she'd be known as the face of Wonder Woman, Carter was better known as Miss World USA 1972.
Williams made history as the first African American to win Miss America in 1984, though a nude photo scandal forced her to relinquish her crown before her reign had ended.
The longtime TV journalist earned the title of America's Junior Miss in 1962.
After earning the title of Miss Wasilla, the future politician went on to win third in the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant.
The occasional actress and model broke onto the scene when was crowned Miss Universe in 2012.
Like her Wonder Woman predecessor, Gadot got her start in pageantry. She represented her country in the 2004 Miss Universe competition as Miss Israel.
Sel's the most adorable pageant winner we've ever seen — the trophy's bigger than she is!
The future Will & Grace star was Rhode Island's Junior Miss in 1986.