Miss Teen USA 2017 Judges: Who Are They?

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Tonight at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT is the 2017 Miss Teen USA Pageant, with 51 contestants competing for the crown. Heidi Powell and Erin Lim are this year’s hosts and there are five judges in charge of choosing the winner. The categories that the competitors must participate in include Active-Wear, Evening Gown, Final Question and Final Look. Get to know the judges and what some of them are looking for in this year’s Miss Teen USA.


K. Lee Graham

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K. Lee Graham is Miss Teen USA 2014 from South Carolina. Currently, she is an English major at the University of South Carolina Honors College and she is also pre-law. When it comes to the next Miss Teen USA, Graham tells the Miss Universe Organization:

I’m looking for a Miss Teen USA that loves to bring joy to whatever situation she’s in. Your day to day job as a titleholder isn’t to look good on a stage, it’s to make an impact using the opportunities given to you on a daily basis. I’m looking for a girl that is passionate about making others feel beautiful, more so than she is about wearing a crown herself.

In Graham’s spare time, she helps with the organization Girls on the Run.


Divya Gugnani

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Gugnani is a businesswoman, and she is the Co-Founder of Wander Beauty. She also co-founded Send the Trend, which is an e-commerce site focused on personalized fashion and beauty. Later on, Gugnani ended up selling Send the Trend to QVC. Some may recognize her face from television appearances and from countless magazines.


Kalani Hilliker

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Hilliker is a triple threat as an actress, model and dancer, who many may recognize from the reality show Dance Moms. On the show, she stars as a member of the Abby Lee Dance Company’s Junior Elite Competition Team and she has also appeared on Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition. She has appeared on the Disney Channel, as well as on the show Bunheads. In an interview with Celeb Mix, Hilliker said she would love to further explore acting.


Tamaya Petteway

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Petteway is the Senior Vice President of Endemol Shine North America’s Brand and Licensing Partnerships Division, and as for what she hopes to see in the next Miss Teen USA, she tells the Miss Universe Organization what she hopes to see:

What I’m looking for in the next Miss Teen USA is someone who possess a natural presence that immediately “speaks” for who she is. A young lady who is comfortable and confident in herself, sincere and delightful in her expression, is thoughtful and articulate in her verbal communication, and is able to represent her personal best by not solely relying on her outer beauty, but recognizing her inner beauty is the source of her strength. I’m looking for the next Miss Teen USA to make her indelible mark and leave a lasting impression on the competition – effortlessly.

Petteway is looking for a woman who can be a great role model to viewers.


Syleste Rodriguez

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Some may recognize Rodriguez as a news anchor, who volunteers at her church, along with many non-profits benefiting the children of Arizona. According to the Miss Universe Organization, Rodriguez’s home life consists of three young children and a husband.



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