Miss USA is perhaps one of the best national pageants and honestly I find it more fun than Miss World too. I have been following it since years and here I present a ranked list of my favourite winners in past decade.
11 # Rima Fakih – 2010
“Hi Mom” Rima was absolutely adorable in the final interview. Her personality was good and she seemed to be fun! In terms of physical beauty – she was just “nice” and at times “nice” is just not good enough for a competitive pageant like Miss Universe.
10 # Chelsea Cooley – 2005
Okay she was full of life! Her final answer at Miss USA was impressive! She was asked about some celebrity with personality parallel to hers and she named Oprah. She looked great in her black gown. She could have used same or similar gown in Miss Universe too! Her body was very muscular, wish it was leaner and feminine. She was a surprise winner at Miss USA, but her charisma had enchanted everyone during her reign. Her swimsuit presentation was a bit funny in Miss Universe.
9 # Kirsten Dalton – 2009
Again, Kirsten was a surprise winner. This is the reason why I love Miss USA. The pageant seems very fair and transparent. Kirsten was good in swimsuit and gown. Her beauty was a bit “old wine” for some, but still she did well for herself in Miss Universe too! A little more energy could have helped her propel further than she did.
8 # Crystal Stewart – 2008
Alright, anyone who followed Miss Universe 2008 would remember her “Zuleyka” antics. There were many times when her behaviours seemed very much simulated after Miss Universe 2006. In any case, she was an intelligent woman. It was just sad to see her fall in the finals. In any case, we feel she got the best placement possible for her.
5 # Nana Meriwether – 2012
I wish she had got a chance for Miss Universe. Her body was impressive and she looked absolutely great in her gown during Miss USA finale. I totally loved it. She was in my eyes one of the best black beauties in recent years. Anyways she did get the Miss USA title eventually and turned out to be a good one. She looked lovely while crowning Erin too!
6 # Erin Brady – 2013
Again, Erin was good in swimsuit and “nice” in evening gown in Miss USA. She has a beautiful face and lovely eyes. I particularly liked her final answer. Her body language was impressive. Her answer was substantial. Still I honestly didn’t see her as Miss Universe. She did almost as per my expectations at Miss Universe.
5 # Alyssa Campanella – 2011
Alright, she was the FACE OF THE YEAR. When she won Miss USA, everyone thought she would be Miss Universe. Her beauty was so “on your face”. However, she was skinny. Somehow many girls have been lucky to crack the swimsuit round in MU finale with such bodies. I guess Miss Universe was particularly strict with her because it was clear that once she cleared the round, there would be no stopping to her. Perhaps MUO wasn’t comfortable with a potential skinny winner.
4 # Tara Conner – 2006
In terms of physical beauty, she was “spot on”. In spite of being short as per the unannounced international pageant standards, she was shapely, toned and fit. Her face was very beautiful and bright. She looked wonderful in her Miss USA crowning pictures. At Miss Universe, I would have loved to see her win. Along with Miss Switzerland, she was the star in the whole bunch in my eyes. I really wish she had worn better gowns in prelims and final show. Again, I would have loved to see her in her Miss USA gown. Her poor luck was the final question in Miss Universe. It was a negative question, which unless handled smartly (like Molly aka Gabriella Isler did in Miss Universe 2013), can end your journey short. Best way to answer such questions is to be general and just beat about the bush. That is exactly what Molly did in 2013.
3 # Rachel Smith – 2007
She was amazing in Miss USA. A big favorite to win, she easily impressed everyone in each and every round. In fact she was one of the most convincing winners at Miss USA in recent years. At Miss Universe too, I had huge expectations from her. Her bad luck was the infamous fall. She displayed amazing grace with her behavior while the audiences were booing. I honestly feel her inclusion in Top 5 was totally fair. Had she not fall, she could have even won the pageant and honestly I would have liked it better than what actually happened.
2 # Shandi Finnessey – 2004
Alright, like Rachel, she was a clear favourite at Miss USA 2004. She wooed everyone in all the rounds and very easily won the Miss USA title. It was all “picture perfect”. She was clear favourite for Miss Universe. She proved her power by her excellent performance in prelims. In finals, she did well in swimsuit and evening gown rounds. I particularly liked her shimmering blue gown. No one was surprised to see her in the final round. Her final question was about the greatest contribution made by women to humanity. Again, it was not really a good question at the first place. Such questions demand one to shred it into pieces in a humble way and end up with a wise conclusion. Shandi tried to handle it by giving a specific answer. It was good overall, but somehow it didn’t have the “winner” feel to it. I wish she had handled it like Dayana or Gabby had done in their years. Again, such questions make me feel there should be a common question for all finalists.
1 # Olivia Culpa – 2012
Alright, technically she is not Miss USA since she won Miss Universe and Nana took over as Miss USA. But still, one really cannot “not include” her in such list because she had won Miss USA first. Her best part was that she was “convincingly good” in all traits, personality in particular. Overall there was good balance in her beauty – she was a package. Her personality was spontaneous and kind of lively. In Miss Universe, she was never in anyone’s mind as a winner. She cleared swimsuit round with her toned muscular body and did well in evening gown round with her unique look. Though I am not a fan of the dress, Olivia pulled it off well. Irene of Venezuela was the favourite to win at that point. But in final round she wasn’t the best. In fact most other girls gave better answers. The real competition was between Janine of Philippines and Olivia. Honestly, I feel Janine was just lucky to be there. In terms of physical beauty, there were at least 10 girls in the whole bunch that deserved her spot more. Still, she was well-trained and her answer reflected that. It had substance. Olivia on the other hand was very natural and spontaneous. One likes hearing her speak. She was confident and friendly. One had no option but liking her. I enjoyed watching her crowning moment. She was overall a good Miss Universe!