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Miss America

The Amazing women who were crowned or who competed for the title and what they did with their lives. Where they currently live, info about their family and websites to their current companies or ministries can be found following the link :)

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Heather French (Kentucky) Miss America 2000 Her platform was raising awareness of the plight of homeless veterans. Her activities and outspoken year of service earned her the Woman of Achievement Award for the year 2000(left). Heather was the only Miss America to be so honored at the end of her year of service.

Pam Eldred (Michigan) Miss America 1970 Since graduating from the University of Detroit Mercy, Pam continued traveling nationally and internationally working as; a dancer, film and print model, lecturer, and spokesperson. But with family responsibilities growing, Pam decided to stay close to home and acquired a cosmetology and electrolysis license in the state of Michigan. During this time she didn't just limit her clientele to professional women. She also enjoyed working with pre-teen and teen age girls through self improvement classes that she wrote and taught herself. She helped girls to build their self esteem and encouraged them to achieve success through self awareness and confidence. In 1970, she was selected as Ambassador for Volunteers by the National Association of Retarded Citizens. She was also involved in helping to recruit congressmen to support the passage of the Development Disabilities Service and Construction Act, which provided funds for the mentally and physically handicapped. Throughout the years, Pam has continued to be involved with several charities like March of Dimes, Easter Seals, and Michigan Cancer Foundation. She was presented with several awards like the Meritorious Service Award for Humanitarian services for the mentally retarded.

Terry Meeuwsen (Wisconsin) Miss America 1973 After attending St. Norbert College, she moved to L.A. and joined the New Christy Minstrels. Her two-year tour with the group yielded seven recordings, and included international travel and a slew of appearances on major television talk and variety shows. In 1973, Meeuwsen was crowned Miss America, and after devoting a year to fulfilling her duties in that role, she returned to acting and singing. She quickly became a familiar face on The 700 Club in the early 1980s, appearing on the program many times as a guest co-host. After taking time off from her successful career in 1986 to devote more time to her growing family, she returned to the broadcasting world in June 1993 to become a permanent co-host on The 700 Club,

Phyllis George (Texas) Miss America 1971 is an accomplished television broadcaster, author, businesswoman/entrepreneur and award-winning humanitarian Her first and only movie she venture into acting was a role in the mega-hit "Meet the Parents" with Robert DeNiro, Ben Stiller and good friend Blythe Danner. Phyllis was also presented with the "Rita Hayworth Alzheimer's Award" for her work and advocacy with Alzheimer's.

Laurel Schaefer (Ohio) An Ohio Buckeye, Laurel Lea Schaefer graduated from Ohio University receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in June 1971. Three months later she had achieved the auspicious honor of "Miss America". Laurel had a goal as Miss America to "raise the bar" on the relevancy of her title. Her mission: to be a role model for values, character and ethics while inspiring others to challenge their levels of personal and professional leadership in seeking their potential. Laurel also became a staunch advocate in support of our American servicemen in Viet Nam. leading lady to notables such as: Howard Keel, John Davidson, Peter Marshall, Ed Ames, Joe Namath, Giorgio Tozzi, and Gorden MacRae. This reflect such productions as; "The Music Man", "The Sound of Music", "Camelot", "South Pacific", "Showboat", "My Fair Lady", "Oklahoma", "Hello Dolly", "Carousel", "The King and I", "Guys and Dolls", "Anything Goes", "Under the Yum-Yum Tree", "Star-Spangled Girl", and "Plaza Suite". Laurel's television work includes a recurring role on "Falcon Crest" and guest starring roles on "Matlock", "L.A. Law", "Quantum Leap", "Love Boat", "Three's Company", "Rockford Files". She is often recognized for her work in TV commercials. For twenty-five years Laurel has worked as a commercial casting director and is owner of Creative Casting Services and is also a well respected nationwide talent scout. In 1974 Laurel established Schaefer Consultants where she serves as a personal imaging and entertainment career consultant. Laurel is a published author and is highly sought after as a keynote speaker, corporate spokesperson, and infomercial host and media presenter.

Rebecca King (Colorado) Rebecca utilized her scholarship money to obtain a law degree. A practicing attorney specializing in family law, Rebecca has seen many changes during her years of practice. Rebecca is encouraged that new Federal legislation regarding custody and support issues are helping children. Per court orders, many children are now escaping poverty levels because of better access to child support through such legislation. Rebecca maintains that she has stayed committed to her profession because she feels it is important to help people move to happier portions of their lives and not carry bitterness associated with hurtful marriages. Rebecca remains quite involved in the community and committed to many worthwhile fundraising efforts that are dear to her.

Shirley Cothran (Texas) Miss America 1975 Utilizing her Miss America scholarship money, Shirley earned her Ph.D. in education. Shirley has remained active in community service by serving on school, charity, and advisory boards, while writing for several Christian publications. Enjoying an active career in public speaking, Shirley has concentrated her efforts to Christian women's groups and conferences.

Tawny Godin (New York) Miss America 1976 Tawny attended Skidmore College in New York and the University of Southern California where she studied linguistics and journalism. After her year of service as Miss America, Tawny began an industrious broadcasting career. In 1977 she became a general assignment reporter at KABC-TV. She has co-hosted a number of popular television shows including "AM Los Angeles", "Eye on LA", "Hollywood Close-up" and "The Love Report." Tawny was also a guest host on the national television program, "Good Morning America" with David Hartman. Tawny is known to her viewing audiences as Tawny Little.

Dorothy Benham (Minnesota) Miss America 1977 Dorothy has stayed actively involved with the Miss America program since her year of service. She was a featured performer and co-host for many years on the Miss America telecast and twice judged the Miss America Pageant. She has also been a state judge for Oregon, Florida, North Dakota, Georgia, and Oklahoma. Dorothy is a lyric-coloratura soprano who made her Broadway debut as an original cast member of "Jerome Robbins" Broadway". She has been a guest artist with Symphony Orchestras throughout the country

Susan Perkins (Ohio) Susan graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1976. After graduation she worked as a legislative intern for the Ohio State Senate. In June of 1977 she was crowned Miss Ohio and then in September she became Miss America. Following that year she worked as a spokesperson, professional singer in New York and then a television reporter for the ABC affiliate in San Francisco. She appeared on five Miss America national telecasts and has emceed numerous state and local Miss America pageants. In the spring of 2009, she traveled to Baghdad with Operation Iraqi Children and has been a volunteer for World Team Sports, an organization that assists disabled civilian and military individuals, for several years.

Kylene Barker (Virginia) Miss America 1979 Winning the Miss America title as an acrobatic dancer, Kylene believes fitness and beauty go hand in hand with fashion. Her keen observations as Miss America plus the experience from her Palm Beach boutique were the fuel to write "Southern Beauty: A Total Fitness and Beauty Program for That All American Winning Look." She has also released her own exercise album, "Stamina With Style." After her year of service as Miss America, Kylene signed a ten year lease at age 23, and opened D. Kylene Ladies Apparel on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, which she owned and operated for 13 years. In the early '90s Kylene decided to trade the business world for the golf course and became an avid golfer.

Cheryl Prewitt (Mississippi) Miss America 1980 Cheryl Prewitt grew up in Choctaw County, Mississippi. Through her unyielding trust in God, she overcame a crippling car accident and being sexually abused as a child. Her faith in Him enabled her to fulfill her dreams and brought her to victory! She and her family have dedicated their lives to their ministry.

Susan Powell (Oklahoma) Miss America 1981 Susan Powell is currently the host of Home Matters, her own one-hour series on The Discovery Channel, recently completing its ninth season. In September of 1980, Susan was named Miss America 1981. In the years following her reign, she has appeared before audiences in theatres, opera houses, concert halls and at lecture podiums all across the country. She performed at Houston's Theatre Under the Stars where she starred opposite Larry Gatlin in his musical Texas Flyer and also starred as the heroine, Margarita, in the world premiere of the new musical Zorro.

Elizabeth Ward (Arkansas) Miss America 1982 She used her Miss America scholarship money to study acting at HB Studios in New York City before moving to Hollywood to pursue a film and television career. After appearing as the recurring character, Amanda, for six years on 'Highlander-The Series' Elizabeth once again stepped into the role of Amanda, the spirited Immortal jewel thief, on 'Highlander: The Raven'. She also has a cooking show in development with her good friend, Contessa Ippolita Douglas Scotti di Vigoleno. Elizabeth also hosts tours to Tuscany and is currently putting together a number of tour offerings to venues as diverse as Venice, Napa Valley and a dude ranch in Wyoming. She also offers classes in the beautiful Fan Kata technique showcased on 'Highlander: The Raven'. Elizabeth has recently starred in a delightfully quirky commercial for match.com and in the film 'Interceptor Force 2'.

Debra Maffett (California) Miss America 1983 Debra is an Emmy nominated broadcast veteran who has hosted, written and produced thousands of hours of network, cable and syndicated programming. Debra’s creative abilities in television and music landed her in Nashville, where she has written and produced several albums and enjoyed a high profile career in the country music arena.

Vanessa Williams (New York) was the 1st African American to be crowned Miss America in 1984 (a) Despite her resignation, she performed her duties as Miss America in an exemplary fashion. Today, she is one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in the entertainment industry having conquered the musical charts, Broadway, television and motion pictures. Her charitable endeavors are many and varied, embracing and supporting such organizations as Special Olympics and several others.

Suzette Charles (New Jersey) Miss America 1984 (B) She was featured in Sesame Street and Electric Company at the early age of 8. Suzette has appeared on several soap operas including CBS's The Young and the Restless, NBC's Generations and a contract role on ABC's Loving. Her vocal talent has led her to tour with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Bill Cosby, Alan King and Stevie Wonder to name a few. Suzette represented New Jersey in the Miss America Pageant in 1984 as a 1981 Presidential Scholar and was presented the Presidential gold medallion by President Ronald Reagan upon graduating. Suzette's vocal performance as a contestant won her the talent portion as she sang Barbra Streisand's "Kiss Me In The Rain."

Sharlene Wells (Utah) Sharlene is the only foreign-born, bilingual Miss America ~ she played the Paraguayan harp and sang in Spanish for her talent presentation at the Miss America pageant in front of a record television audience of over 100 million. Sharlene returned to her studies at Brigham Young University where she not only graduated magna cum laude, but received the Earl J. Glade award as the Outstanding Senior in Broadcasting, and the Silver Microphone Award for having the top cumulative GPA in the Communications Department. In 1987, Sharlene became one of the first women to work on-air for ESPN, and for 15 years she covered world-class events. Since 2005, Sharlene has been Partner and Chief Marketing Officer of StoryRock, Inc., the leading provider of core technology for interactive and print historical archiving. She is also the acting President of the Remember My Service Division of StoryRock, which she founded, and is the only full service provider to assist Military Commands in documenting their history. Previous to joining StoryRock, she was Vice President of Communications for Monarch Health Sciences. Sharlene holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Communication from the University of Utah and is the author of "Kissing A Frog: Four Steps to Finding Comfort Outside Your Comfort Zone." Sharlene serves as Chairman of the National Advisory Board of the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah, and serves on the Executive Committee. She is President-elect of the BYU Alumni Board, and serves on the Best of State Advisory Board and Ascend Alliance Advisory Board.

Kellye Cash (Tennessee) Miss America 1987 She has performed with numerous musical artists including Vince Gill, Lee Greenwood, and Billy Joel and has performed in many regional theatrical productions; she was recently chosen for the lead part of country music legend Patsy Cline, in Always...Patsy Cline.

Susan Akin (Mississippi) Miss America 1986 In the past, Susan traveled extensively with Bob Hope, performing at conventions both in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Susan remains politically active and has been the spokesperson for the National Down's Syndrome Association and for seatbelt safety, addressing many state legislative and advocacy groups.

Kaye Lani Rae Rafko (Michigan) Miss America 1988 During her year of service and in the years since, Kaye Lani has been a bold advocate for nursing and hospice programs. In the fall of 1987, Kaye Lani addressed a Congressional subcommittee in Washington, DC, concerning issues facing the nursing community. Shortly after Kaye Lani relinquished her title, she opened a hospice program in her community of Monroe, MI. She has participated in many fundraising activities and spoken to many national organizations including the American Cancer Society, America Heart Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Make a Wish Foundation, United Way, and the March of Dimes, to name only a few. She has spoken to medical professional groups around the world, including those in Singapore, Malaysia, Rome, and Paris, voicing current concerns in the field of nursing.

Nicole Johnson Miss America 1999 has served as an international consultant and advocate for diabetes issues for more than twelve years. She has worked tirelessly promoting awareness, prevention and early detection of the condition she has shared since 1993. Nicole also serves on numerous health related advisory boards and has been recognized for her work in diabetes around the world. Nicole holds Master's degrees in Journalism and Public Health and is currently seeking her Doctor of Public Health degree from the University of South Florida.

Gretchen Carlson (Minnesota) Miss America 1989 Gretchen's broadcasting awards and honors include the National American Women in Radio and Television Awards for her 30-part series on Domestic Violence, and for her "Day Care Investigation" in 1997. She also received two Emmy Awards. Gretchen graduated with honors from Stanford University in 1990 with a self-designed degree in Organizational Behavior. She also studied at Oxford University in England. Her first love was the violin. Gretchen started playing when she was six years old. Her dream was to one day become a famous concert artist and perform at Carnegie Hall. Gretchen studied with Dorothy DeLay at the Julliard School of Music in New York City, and became the first classical violinist ever to win the title of Miss America. Gretchen has an extensive career as a television journalist. She currently co-hosts the #1 rated cable morning news show in the country, Fox and Friends, on the Fox News Channel, Monday-Friday (6-9am EST). She also appears regularly on The O'Reilly Factor Thursday evenings (8 and 11pm EST). Before achieving this goal, Gretchen criss-crossed the nation building her career as an Anchor/Reporter in Texas, Ohio, Virginia, and Minnesota.