1981 Miss America Pageant
Pageant Results > Miss America Pageant > 1981
Miss America 1981: Susan Powell, Miss Oklahoma
1st runner-up: Paige Phillips, Miss Alabama
2nd runner-up: Donna Pope, Miss Mississippi (tie)
2nd runner-up: Therese Hanley, Miss New Jersey (tie)
4th runner-up: Lencola Sullivan, Miss Arkansas
Miss America 1981 was Susan Powell, Miss Oklahoma. A talented classical singer, she performed the humorous opera, “The laughing Song,” during the talent competition and won the preliminary talent trophy. Powell was crowned by outgoing Miss America 1980, Cheryl Prewitt, of Mississippi.
During the evening gown competition, she wore a form-fitting white beaded sheath evening gown with rhinestone straps. She won the talent competition with a comical operatic performance of aria, “Lucie’s Aria”in which she “gossips” with a nosy neighbor. In the swimsuit competition, she wore a maroon one piece swimsuit.
Lencola Sullivan, Miss Arkansas, was the first African-American contestant to make the top five at Miss America. She also was the first woman of color to win the preliminary swimsuit competition.
After her reign, Susan crowned her successor, Miss America 1982, Elizabeth Ward, Miss Arkansas.
Powell went on to become a television personality.