Who Won Miss USA 2021?

Miss USA

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty If you don't have cable, here are some different ways you can watch a live stream of the Miss USA 2021 pageant online. Pictured: Miss USA, Asya Branch visits The Empire State Building on December 10, 2020 in New York City.

The 2021 Miss USA pageant took place at the Paradise Cove Theater of River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on November 29, 2021.

This is the second consecutive year Miss USA was broadcast on FYI, and the first year it could have been streamed live on Hulu. The 70th Miss USA pageant was also the first time it was conducted under the leadership of Miss USA President Crystle Stewart, who won the Miss USA title in 2008.

She is the first Black woman to own the Miss USA franchise after the acquisition in 2020.

“It is such an honor to be the first African American female franchise owner of the highly recognized Miss USA and Miss Teen USA brands. The new ownership is about ‘Pageantry Reimagined,’ which will redefine views of the pageant system,” Stewart said in a press release.

Read on below for the winners of the night, starting with the title winner of Miss USA 2021.


Who Won Miss USA 2021

Before the winner was revealed, Miss USA 2020 Asya Branch took her final walk on stage.

“There will never be another Asya Branch, but in just a few minutes, there will be a new Miss USA,” Hall announced. “This is it. All eight of you should be so proud of what you accomplished.”

The fourth runner-up was announced as Miss Illinois Sydni Dion Bennett.

The third runner-up was Miss Florida Ashley Ann Cariño.

The second runner-up was Miss North Dakota Caitlyn Vogel.

It came down to the top title, and it was Miss Kentucky Elle Smith who was the winner of Miss USA 2021. She received her crown, along with a 2021 Miss USA sash and a bouquet of flowers. Smith then took her first walk on stage as Miss USA 2021.

On November 14, 2021, Smith said she was excited to share her official headshot for the Miss USA competition.

“A little over a year ago, I sat in bed and watched Miss USA. I remember watching @andreiagibau @sthephaniemariemiranda @mariahclayton_ and so many more incredible women grace the stage, and thinking, ‘I want to be on that stage. I want to be like them,'” she wrote on her post on Instagram.

“Crazy to think this is my official Miss USA headshot and I made that dream reality,” Smith continued. “Now, it’s game time.”

Smith’s mother, Lydia, told Springfield News-Sun her family was surprised that Smith made it to the Miss USA competition.

“We were all shocked, but this experience has been wonderful,” Lydia Smith told the outlet on November 29, 2021.

“The amount of support she has received is just overwhelming,” Lydia Smith continued. “And the pageant is really about empowering women.”

Per the Springfield News-Sun, Smith graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in journalism and works as a multimedia journalist at Louisville station WHAS.


Top 8 Winners of Miss USA 2021

Moving into the discussion round were the top eight, which were:

The Miss USA 2021 pageant tried something new, sitting down with four women and asking them each a question. To begin, host Zuri Hall sat down with Miss Florida, Miss Marland, Miss South Carolina and Miss Illinois.

The first question the women were asked was about their resolutions for the New Year. Miss Maryland said she wanted to continue her work with Girl Scouts, South Carolina joked she wanted to stick to her diet, but said her real goal was to continue to help children with disabilities. Miss Florida said she wanted to continue her work with mental health.

In the second half of the question round, Miss Texas, Miss Kentucky, Miss North Carolina and Miss North Dakota were seated at the table.

When Miss Texas was asked about the changes that can be done to increase racial equality, she said she works with children and teaches them “the importance of being kind and accepting of each other.”

Miss Kentucky was asked how businesses could be more environmentally conscious, and she said sustainability needs to be tackled from the micro and macro level.

When North Dakota was asked if she could give advice to a potential politician about a topic that’s important to her generation, she said she would advocate for “unity.”

Ja Rule took to the stage another time before the winner of the 2021 Miss USA pageant was announced.


The Top 16 Winners of Miss USA 2021

The first contestants to be announced in the competition were revealed within fifteen minutes of the show airing. The top 16 winners of the Miss USA 2021 pageant were, according to the order they were announced:

The people viewers got to meet were the judges. Pianist Chloe Flower was the first announced, followed by stylist Tyler Hunter and former Miss USA Haley Kalil. “Accomplished” actor Olivier Trevena was the next to be announced, followed by photographer Sophie Elgort and supermodel Natalia Barulich.

A round of applause was also given to Crystle Stewart, President of the Miss USA Organization, who is promoting the theme of “Pageantry Reimagined” this year.

The top 16 went on to perform in the swimsuit segment of the competition after a live performance by rapper Ja Rule.

After starting with 51 women, the competition whittled down to eight winners. But before six competitors were eliminated, the original 51 contestants came back to the stage to walk in the evening gown segment.

The first semi-finalist to take the stage was Miss North Dakota, followed by Miss Maryland, Miss Utah, Miss Nebraska, North Carolina, Miss Illinois, Miss Louisiana and Miss Mississippi.

Closing out the latter half of the section was Miss Tennessee, Miss Kentucky, Miss Kansas, Miss Florida, Miss Virginia, South Carolina, Miss Texas and South Dakota.


Miss USA 2020 Asya Branch Relinquished Her Crown

Asya Branch of Mississippi was last year’s winner of Miss USA. Branch, 22, was the first contestant from Mississippi to take home the crown and the first Black woman to represent the state.

Ahead of the 2021 Miss USA pageant, Branch said she “loved” being a part of the competition all week.

“If the crown fits…. 👑I’ve loved seeing my face all over the @riverspiritcasino this week but soon a new woman will hold this title! Who do you think it will be? #pageantryreimagined,” she wrote on Instagram. “Tune in tonight November 29th at 8/7c on @fyi or @hulu live! You’re not gonna want to miss it!” 

To safely conduct the pageant in 2020, Miss USA adopted some modifications to adhere to COVID-19 rules, as noted by Glamour.

For instance, the famous interviews were done ahead of time via Zoom instead of in-person and they wore masks (encrusted in rhinestones, of course) except when they were performing at the Graceland Estate in Memphis.

This is the second consecutive year Miss USA was broadcast on FYI, and the first year it could have been streamed live on Hulu. The 70th Miss USA pageant was also the first time it was conducted under the leadership of Stewart.

Stewart, who won the Miss USA title in 2008, is the first Black woman to own the Miss USA franchise after its acquisition last year.

“It is such an honor to be the first African American female franchise owner of the highly recognized Miss USA and Miss Teen USA brands. The new ownership is about ‘Pageantry Reimagined,’ which will redefine views of the pageant system,” said President of the Miss USA Organization in a press release.

READ NEXT: Miss USA Contestant Wants to Be First Bisexual Bachelorette


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