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Miss Universe 1995 Dead at 45

9/9/2018 7:15 AM PDT
Breaking News

Chelsi Smith -- who took the crown of Miss USA in 1995 -- and went on to win Miss Universe has died. 

Shanna Moakler -- who was runner up to Smith in the 1995 Miss USA Pageant -- shared a tribute to the beauty queen after learning of her death, "I am heartbroken. Godspeed beautiful. You were my friend and a light. I love and will miss you more then you will ever know. The epitome of a Queen." 

Reports say Smith fought a battle with liver cancer before passing away.

Smith competed in her first pageant -- Miss Texas in 1994 -- and became the first biracial woman to win the pageant. 

In 1995, Smith traveled to Namibia to compete in the Miss Universe Pageant where she won the crown, becoming the first woman from the United States to do so in 15 years.

Smith was 45.

RIP

Miss Virginia Backs NFL Kneelers During Miss America Prelim

9/7/2018 6:45 AM PDT
Breaking News

Colin Kaepernick has another major supporter -- Miss Virginia -- who went to bat for the QB during a Miss America prelim competition on Thursday ... a prelim competition she WON! 

22-year-old Emili McPhail was competing against 49 other women at night #2 in the 2019 Miss America prelims -- when she was asked how she'd advise the NFL when it comes to the kneeling issue.

"Kneeling during the national anthem is absolutely a right that you have to stand up for what you believe in, and to make the right decision that’s right for you,” McPhail said.

"It’s very important that we also have to take into consideration that it is not about kneeling: it is absolutely about police brutality."

The judges were so impressed with her answer, she was awarded the $1,000 prelim onstage question scholarship. 

After the competition, McPhail talked about her answer with the Press of Atlantic City.

"I said standing up for what you believe in is the most important thing that you can do, and that’s what I did ... I was very happy to have that moment to be honest, because it’s not always easy."

The prelims continue on Friday.

Miss Denver Kayla Kline Resigns ... I Stand with Miss America Cara Mund

8/23/2018 12:30 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Miss America Cara Mund allegedly getting bullied by her own org is NOT okay with Miss Denver's Kayla Kline ... so Kayla is showing her solidarity by giving up her crown.

Kayla -- who not that long ago earned the Mile High City's honor -- tells TMZ she can't embrace a title from an organization whose national leadership is in blatant violation of her own personal code of ethics. So, she's dunzo.

As we reported ... Cara claims she's been told she's "not important enough to do big interviews" and silenced because the majority of press time has "obviously" been reserved for Gretchen Carlson, the new Miss America Chairperson of the Board of Directors.

Kayla -- who has already submitted her letter of resignation -- says she hopes stepping down triggers change at the top. As she put it ... her resignation could lead to a bad domino effect for Miss America.

Miss America Cara Mund All for Losing Swimsuits ... It's About Inner Beauty Now

6/5/2018 2:44 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Miss America Cara Mund hasn't put on a swimsuit since winning the crown in September, and says that proves the swimsuit competition is no longer necessary to get the job done.

The Miss America Org announced Tuesday it's scrapping swimsuits and doing away with judging on appearance ... and Cara's totally for it. The former Miss North Dakota told us her job mostly involves almost nonstop appearances, but NONE of them require putting on a bikini. As she put it ... not exactly a good look while visiting schools and hospitals.

The evening gown portion of the competition will also see a massive change, but Cara says there's still a chance you'll see some skin during that portion of the competition. And yes, it's officially a "competition" now, and NOT a pageant. 

Times they are a changin'.

Miss America Axes Swimsuit Competition!!! No Longer Judging Physical Appearance

6/5/2018 6:53 AM PDT
Breaking News

Miss America's dumping a longstanding tradition ... scrapping the swimsuit competition because it'll no longer judge contestants on physical appearance.

Ex-FOX News host Gretchen Carlson -- a 1989 Miss America winner herself and the new chair of the Board of Trustees of the Miss America Organization -- announced the sweeping changes Tuesday morning on 'GMA' ... saying, "We are no longer a pageant. We are a competition."

Instead of the swimsuit competition, contestants will take part in a live interactive session with the judges and will have to demonstrate their passion, intelligence and overall understanding of the job.

The org is also getting rid of the evening gown portion of the competition.

The competition started nearly a century ago in Atlantic City as a bathing beauty contest. But the organization's gotten push back in the last few years ... many calling the swimsuit contest misogynistic.

The org is still recovering from an email scandal that rocked Miss America's top brass after the group's former CEO and others insulted the appearance and intellect of former winners, including Carlson.

And with the #MeToo movement serving as a backdrop coupled with Carlson championing the movement ... this seemed like only a matter of time.

Carson Kressley Miss USA Ain't The Holocaust ... Blowback Over 'Sophie's Choice' Joke

5/22/2018 7:27 AM PDT

Carson Kressley joked it was impossible to choose his favorite Miss USA finalist -- just like Meryl Streep choosing which of her kids to save -- and suffice it to say, the joke triggered some outrage.

"It's like 'Sophie's Choice'! They're all so good," the former 'Queer Eye' star said of having to pick between the final 15 competitors. "Sophie's Choice" is about a woman forced to pick between the life of her son and her daughter in Auschwitz.

Some people on social media had a big problem with Kressley's comment, one saying, "So I guess if he were living Sophie's Choice, she'd be the saved child & the others taken to be shot immediately?  #classless #carsonkressley."

Miss Nebraska, Sarah Rose Summers, ended up taking the crown.

Miss USA Tries to Soften Healthcare Stance ... TRIES.

5/16/2017 3:07 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Miss USA Kara McCullough says she's not backing down from her controversial statement about affordable healthcare being a privilege -- but sounds like she's doing her best to soften it.

We talked to Kara on Tuesday and she expanded on her Sunday night answer, saying healthcare should also be a right for everyone. That doesn't jibe with her original "it's a privilege" response, but what is clear is she's doing her best to be the Miss USA everyone can like.

In other words ... she's a great politician. Kara was Miss D.C., after all!

Miss USA Boo'd for Healthcare Answer ... Still Takes the Crown

5/15/2017 6:50 AM PDT

The new Miss USA says healthcare for all Americans is a privilege and not a right -- and that belief earned her a ton of boos at the pageant, and on the Internet ... but didn't stop her from winning.

Kara McCullough, Miss District of Columbia, didn't hesitate during the interview segment of the pageant Sunday night. She's a scientist at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and said she's learned you gotta have a job to have healthcare.

There were cheers and jeers ... but mostly just jeers on social media. As one viewer put it ... "Miss DC just lost me with that answer. Girl bye"

The judges clearly disagreed.

Miss Honduras Pageant Re-Crowns Her After Legal Threat

11/10/2016 2:28 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Miss Honduras 2016 just brought her bosses to their knees ... pageant officials in Honduras have re-crowned her after they got threatened with an international lawsuit.

Sirey Moran was stripped of her crown by Miss Universe Honduras back in July after pageant honchos became enraged she was choosing to spend her time at charity events rather than gigs that would make money for the org. 

What to do? Hire famed lawyer Joe Tacopina, who got the pageant to see it Sirey's way. Her crown was just restored, making her eligible to compete in Miss Universe. Tacopina's office tells us, "The Miss Universe Honduras Org and Sirey have resolved all previous conflicts concerning her title."

He continues, "Sirey looks forward to representing Miss Honduras at the Miss Universe competition early next year. We thank Paula Shugart and Miss Universe for helping to resolve the issue."

Everyone was mum on why the pageant folded, but we're told Tacopina made it clear in August ... some of the crown holders were in Sirey's corner, and Miss Universe Honduras officials know, there's nothing messier than a group of angry contestants with scepters.

Oh, Steve Harvey's hosting again ... which is awesome. 


Donald Trump He Was Never Vulgar with Me ... Says Ex-Beauty Queen

10/13/2016 12:50 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

Former Miss Teen USA Katie Blair says Donald Trump is far from the sleazy guy he's being made out to be ... based on her experiences with him on TV shows and pageants.

Katie was Miss Teen USA '06 and Miss CA USA '11 ... and Trump owned both pageants at the time. We talked to her about her interactions with the boss, and while she admits there were plenty of situations for him to leer ... she insists it NEVER happened.

Katie says anyone who's had any experience with live TV would know there's an obvious reason why Trump couldn't have done many of the things some other pageant contestants have accused him of doing.

Check out her take on Trump -- who stood by her during her scandal with former Miss USA Tara Conner. Katie's clearly got his back when it comes to his ethics.

As for whether he's got her vote? Katie's made her decision, though it's hardly a ringing endorsement.

Chris Brown Accuser Pageant Struts to Chris' Hit Song!

9/30/2016 12:50 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

The woman who claims Chris Brown pulled a gun on her got a hysterical assist from Breezy in her quest to win a beauty pageant.

Baylee Curran was a contestant in the Miss Greater Inland Empire Pageant -- it's a prelim for Miss California -- and when it came time for the evening gown competition last weekend, she got a sweet and serendipitous surprise.

The DJ had a great sense of humor because he threw on CB's "Don't Wake Me Up." Watch the video ... you gotta laugh.

The pageant director tells TMZ the song choice was purely a coincidence. People in the audience say it didn't appear Baylee noticed, but she was upset about something else.

We're told she didn't even place in the competition, so she stormed out early. Still a better exit than the one she made at Chris' house.

Miss America Contestants Answer Tough Political Questions Trump, Clinton, Immigration

9/12/2016 6:37 AM PDT

Gotta hand it to them ... Miss America contestants broke the mold this year and answered questions on the fly about divisive issues, including Clinton, Trump, immigration and National Anthem protests.

Check out the video ... the judges were tough and the contestants only had 20 seconds each to form thoughts and deliver. 

Pretty impressive.

Chris Brown Accuser Stripped of Beauty Queen Crown Over Nude Photos

8/31/2016 6:28 AM PDT
Exclusive Details

The woman who got Chris Brown arrested Tuesday got stripped of her beauty pageant crown in part because of nude photos that surfaced, and pageant officials say she lied and said it wasn't her.

Baylee Curran, the woman claiming Chris pulled a gun on her, was crowned Miss California Regional 2016, but 2 months later pageant officials were fed up with her and dethroned her.

An official tells TMZ, shortly after she won the title someone sent nude photos to the pageant director, who confronted Baylee, saying, "This is not what the pageant stands for." We're told Baylee insisted it was not her in the photos.

The director told her she'd give her another chance, but we're told Baylee repeatedly screwed up and deceived them. She would fail to show for community functions ... while photographers were tagging photos of her frolicking on a boat. She was also MIA for events ... choosing various photo shoots instead.

The director had enough 2 months into her reign, and told Baylee she was stripping her of her crown, but Baylee shot back, "You're the director. You can make or bend the rules. I'm keeping the crown and we can move on."

She still hasn't returned the crown. 

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