#TheySlay! Black Beauty Queens Throughout the Years
Newly crowned Miss USA 2016 Deshauna Barber joins a illustrious list of Black beauty queens. See the history of Black Beauty Queens who truly exemplify #BlackGirlMagic.
Apr, 07, 2010
1 of 17Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Deshauna Barber, 2016
Miss District of Columbia USA 2016 Deshauna Barber was crowned Miss USA, making her the first military service member to take the crown. Barber is also an IT analyst for the U.S. Department of Commerce.
2 of 17Bia Schmidt/LatinContent /Getty Images
Leila Lopes, 2011
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - SEPTEMBER 12: Leila Lopes, from Angola, receives the crown of Miss Universe 2011 from the former Queen Ximena Navarrete at Credicard Hall on September 12, 2011 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
3 of 17
Caressa Cameron, 2010
Caressa Cameron is Miss America 2010! The 23-year-old, Virginia Commonwealth University graduate is the eighth Black woman to win the title.
4 of 17
Crystle Stewart, 2008
In 2008, Crystle Stewart became the ninth Texan to win the Miss USA crown. The University of Houston grad advanced to the Miss Universe pageant, where, despite falling during the evening gown competition, she finished eighth!
5 of 17
Ericka Dunlap, 2004
The first Black woman to be crowned Miss Florida, Ericka Dunlap walked away with the Miss America title in 2004! The gorgeous Orlando native is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she became a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Currently, she’s pursuing a career in country music.
6 of 17Donna Connor/FilmMagic
Erika Harold, 2003
Miss America 2003, Erika N.L. Harold of Urbana, Illinois, walks the runway after being crowned Miss America 2003.
7 of 17Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage
Shauntay Hinton, 2002
NEW YORK CITY - OCTOBER 14: Miss USA 2002 Shauntay Hinton attends the 58th Annual Columbus Day Parade on October 14, 2002 in New York City.
8 of 17
Lynette Cole, 2000
Lynette Cole was no stranger to pageantry when she was crowned Miss USA 2000—she was also Miss Tennessee Teen USA 1995. And in 2000, the Puerto Rican-American stunner became the first woman to place in the top 5 at her state pageant, Miss USA, and Miss Universe.
9 of 17
Chelsi Smith, 1995
Not only did Chelsi Smith make history by becoming the first Black woman to be crowned Miss Texas, USA, she would also become the first Black Miss Universe in 1995.
10 of 17
Kimberly Aiken, 1994
Kimberly Aiken was only 18 years-old when she won the Miss America 1994 crown. Today, the former accountant is an image consultant and motivational speaker.
11 of 17Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage
Kenya Moore, 1993
CENTURY CITY, CA - MARCH 13: Miss USA 1993 Kenya Moore attends the Starlight Children's Foundation of Southern California's 'The Child In All of Us' 10th Annual Humanitarian Award Salute to Arsenio Hall and Fourth Annual Children's Friendship Award Salute
12 of 17
Debbye Turner, 1990
Hawaii-born Debbye Turner was born to be a beauty queen! She was first runner-up in the Miss Black Teenage World pageant in 1981; and in 1989 she won the Miss Missouri title and went on to be crowned Miss America 1990. These days, Turner is a reporter and contributor for CBS News’ The Early Show.
13 of 17George Rose/Getty Images
Carole Anne-Marie Gist, 1990
WICHITA, KS - 1990: Miss Michigan Carole Anne-Marie Gist, is crowned Miss USA at the 1990 Wichita, Kansas, televised ceremony. Ms. Gist was the first African-American to win the Miss USA title.
14 of 17
Halle Berry, 1986
Before she was an Oscar-winning superstar, Halle Berry was Miss Ohio 1986. Here, she struts her stuff during the swimsuit competition at the Miss USA Pageant, where she was first runner up.
15 of 17
Suzette Charles, 1984
When Vanessa Williams bowed out as Miss America 1984, she was replaced by her first-runner-up, Miss New Jersey Suzette Charles. The half Italian/half Black stunner was Miss America for a total of seven weeks, and then went on to enjoy a career as a singer and television personality.
16 of 17
Vanessa Williams, 1984
In 1984, 21 year-old Vanessa Williams became the first Black woman to win the title of Miss America (the funny part? When she was an infant, her parents wrote on her birth announcement: "Here she is, Miss America!). Despite having to relinquish her title due to scandal, Williams has had a brilliant career in show business, earning Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award nominations.
17 of 17
Janelle Commissiong, 1977
In 1977, Janelle Commissiong won the title of Miss Trinidad and Tobago, and went on to become the first Black Miss Universe in the history of the competition.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Get The Essence Newsletter and Special Offers delivered to your inbox!