Despite a few bumps along the way, the Miss USA 2015 pageant will be conducted Sunday night. Some of the most beautiful women in the country will compete for the coveted title, but many viewers confuse Miss USA with Miss America. The reigning Miss USA, Nia Sanchez of Nevada, will turn over her tiara at the Baton Rouge Civic Center in Louisiana when a winner is selected Sunday, but Miss America Kira Kazantsev of New York will continue her own reign. So what’s the difference between the two competitions?
Let’s begin with the similarities. Winners of both contests are given crowns that they get to wear in public -- without having people look at them cockeyed. They also get to walk around with the titles of either Miss USA or Miss America. And both beauty pageants award scholarships to winners.
Even though it’s a running joke in the film “Miss Congeniality,” Miss America was founded as a scholarship program. That’s where the main difference between the two beauty pageants comes into play. While Miss America is all about the scholarships, Miss USA was launched by Catalina Swimsuits to promote the company -- and its main prize is a chance to contend in the Miss Universe competition. Because the contests are run by different organizations, women can compete in both beauty pageants.
Dating back to 1952, the Miss USA event is an offering of the Miss Universe Organization. After all the drama associated with Donald Trump running for U.S. president, most people now know that he owns the organization.
Meanwhile, whoever wins the Miss USA contest gets to compete in the Miss Universe pageant -- and sometimes she wins. In 2012, that’s exactly what the beautiful Olivia Culpo of Rhode Island did.
With Sanchez about to relinquish her crown, she created a farewell video. The clip showed her favorite moments as Miss USA. She said she felt blessed and honored:
— Nia Sanchez (@MissUSA) July 10, 2015
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