Miss America 1979 Kylene Barker

Miss America 1979 Kylene Barker



Pageant Winners > Miss Americas >  Miss America 1979, Kylene Barker

Miss America 1979 Kylene BarkerMiss America 1979, Miss Virginia, Kylene Barker
  • State: Miss Virginia
  • Age: 22
  • Education: Virginia Tech graduate
  • Talent: Gymnastics routine
  • Career: Owned fashion boutique D. Kylene on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Florida. Served as a fashion reporter for the Today Show.
  • Preliminary Awards: Did not win a preliminary award

Kylene Barker, a Virginia Tech graduate in fashion design, who dreamed of becoming a prominent retailer of women's fashions, was chosen as Miss American 1979.  Competing as Miss Virginia, she is one of the few contestants to have been named Miss America despite not winning either the preliminary swimsuit or talent competitions.

Miss America 1979 - Kylene Barker
Miss America 1979, Kylene Barker, Miss Virginia, tearfully waves at the crowd in Atlantic City after being crowned the winner.

Barker grew up as a pretty, athletic and ambitious girl in the mountain town of Roanoke, Virginia. The personable gymnast eventually went on to win the coveted Miss Virginia title.

At the Miss America nationals in Atlantic City, the gorgeous green-eyed blonde was a stand-out in beauty, but failed to walk off with awards in either the swimsuit or talent events. Nevertheless, it is assumed that the vivacious and well-spoken southern belle most likely impressed the judges during the important private interviews.

In the swimsuit competition, the well-tanned blonde looked exceptional wearing a striking yellow one-piece swimsuit.

In the talent competition, she performed an acceptable, if not outstanding, gymnastics routine to "Feeling So Good" and "Theme From Rocky".

Kylene Barker, Miss America 1979, gives a speech during her reign.
Kylene Barker, Miss America 1979, gives a speech during her reign.

By the conclusion of the evening's televised pageant, Barker had become one of the few women ever to beat out a double preliminary winner for the crown, surpassing Miss Alabama, Teresa Cheatham, a classical singer who had won both the week's preliminary talent and swimsuit awards.

After her reign, Kylene used her substantial winnings as Miss America to open a fashion boutique, D. Kylene, on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Florida, a prestigious bastion of wealth. She also served as a fashion correspondent for the Today Show

Kylene Barker Interesting Facts:

  • Barker published as book, "Southern Beauty, A Total Fitness and Beauty Program for That All American Winning Look" and a fitness/exercise album, “Stamina With Style.”
  • She married her current husband, a prominent Canadian businessman, at the Miss America pageant in 2007.


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