Maryline Blackburn started competing in pageants in high school as a way to offset the cost of college.
Blackburn was crowned Miss South Central before she won Miss Alaska.
Blackburn beat Sarah Louise Heath (now Palin) to become the first Black Miss Alaska in 1984. She went on to represent her state at the Miss America pageant.
Blackburn and her historic win in 1984 as Miss Alaska (left) and again celebrating with her parents.
Blackburn at the center of it all as Miss Alaska.
Blackburn chose this stunning ensemble for the evening-gown competition.
Blackburn has performed and sung backup for several well-known artists including Peabo Bryson.
Strong Alaskan roots led to Blackburn’s first solo album having a major country and western vibe.
Here she is singing the national anthem in front of thousands.
Blackburn’s fourth CD, “The M Line Project,” is due out in February next year.
While Blackburn is excited about Palin’s nomination, she won’t be voting for her in November. “I don’t feel as though she’s ready,” she says.