Miss Tennessee claims Miss USA crown
Sunday, March 25 2007 @ 11:57 PM UTC
Contributed by: Don Winner
Editor's Comment: Rachel Smith was born in Panama on 18 April 1985 while her parents were on assignment with the US Southern Command. Congratulations. If you make the cover of La Critica in a bikini, you're big-time in Panama.
“It has been the most unforgettable year of my life and I’m back, and better than ever,” Conner said to wild applause from the audience at the Kodak Theater.
During a brief onstage interview with the show’s hosts, Tim Vincent and Nancy O’Dell of “Access Hollywood,” Conner said her future plans included writing a book, and doing “correspondence work and a little bit of acting.”
Pageant organizers used the extra attention drawn to the pageant in recent months to spotlight the steps Conner has taken to get help.
During the swimsuit competition, the beauty queens performed a synchronized strut on stage wearing blue, pink or lilac bikinis before each posed for the judges. The contestants had brief walk-ons onstage in their evening gowns before the finalists took their solo strolls for the audience.
The audience was also given the opportunity to cast some votes, selecting Rebecca Moore of Alabama as Miss Photogenic. The contestants voted Stephanie Trudeau of Montana as Miss Congeniality.
The Miss USA Pageant began in 1952 as a swimwear promotion in Long Beach. Contestants pay a fee to enter and must win a state title before competing for the Miss USA crown.
The winner gets to live in a fancy New York apartment for a year, during which she’ll spend most of her time traveling as a Miss Universe Organization representative and raise breast and ovarian cancer awareness. She also represents the United States in the worldwide Miss Universe competition.
A panel of six judges determined the winner: Jerry Springer, “Blow Out” star Jonathan Antin, “E! News” co-host Giuliana De Pandi, MTV’s Vanessa Minnillo; Baby Phat President Kimora Lee Simmons and Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss.