Pageant History >> History of Miss Teen USA Pageant
The first Miss Teen USA Pageant, for teenage girls ages 15–19, was held in 1983 in Lakeland, Florida, with Ruth Zakarian, Miss Teen New York, being chosen as the first Miss Teen USA. The pageant has produced several winners who went on to achieve fame:
- Kelly Hu Miss Teen USA 1985 (Miss Hawaii Teen USA) – An actress, her film credits include “The Scorpion King” (sorceress Cassandra), “Stiletto”, “The Farmhouse”, “The Tournament” and the television programs, ABC’s “In Case of Emergency.”
- Bridgette Wilson Sampras Miss Teen USA 1990 (Miss Oregon Teen USA) – Film star and wife of tennis star Pete Sampras, she co-starred as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s feisty daughter in “Last Action Hero”.
- Charlotte Lopez Miss Teen USA 1993 (Miss Vermont Teen USA) – Now known as Charlotte Ayanna, she is an actress who has appeared in a number of films including “Kate & Leopold” and “Once Upon a Wedding”.
- Vanessa Minnillo Miss Teen USA 1998 (Miss South Carolina Teen USA) – A television actress and model, she is married to actor Nick Lachey (Jessica Simpson’s former husband) and now goes by the name Vanessa Lachey.
In 1993, Charlotte Lopez, Miss Teen Vermont, wins the hearts of judges and viewers as she shares the heartbreaking story of her thirteen years in the foster care system as a child after authorities determined her mother was mentally unfit to care for her. After she is crowned Miss Teen USA, Prime Time airs a feature on her life, and she writes a book about her experiences, Lost in the System. She goes on to have a successful career in television and movies, and is named Best Actress at the Valenciennes International Festival of Action and Adventure Films for her role in Love the Hard Way.
In 1985, Kelly Hu, Miss Hawaii Teen USA, became the first Asian-American to win the Miss Teen USA title.
The 2007 Miss Teen USA Pageant was the last competition televised on live television.
In 2008, the Miss Teen USA Pageant moved to a live feed broadcast from the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in Nassau, Bahamas, where the competition has been held since.
In 2016, Miss Teen USA switched from the traditional swimsuits to activewear/fitness wear. The last winner to compete in a swimsuit was Katherine Haik, with Karlie Hay, Miss Teen USA 2016, becoming the first winner to compete in activewear.
In 2017, Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff, Miss Missouri Teen USA, was crowned Miss Teen USA 2017 by Miss Teen USA 2016, Karlie Hay at the conclusion of the Live Stream special event from Symphony Hall in Phoenix, Arizona.