The Miss America Organization, dick clark productions and ABC today announced that TV and SiriusXM host, CEO of Afterbuzz TV and bestselling author Maria Menounos and former Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri will join ACM Male Vocalist of the Year Thomas Rhett, author, actress and model Molly Sims, multi-platinum recording artist and actress Jordin Sparks and PEOPLE Editor in Chief Jess Cagle as the esteemed panel of celebrity judges for the final night of the 2018 Miss America Pageant.
The live broadcast will air from Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 (9:00 – 11:00p.m. ET/PT) on the ABC Television Network.
“I understand all too well the emotions of stepping on to the Miss America stage,” said Nina Davuluri. “I’m honored to be able to help shape the legacy of the Miss America Organization over the next year!”
The judges panel will evaluate the contestants’ performances in Lifestyle and Fitness, Evening Wear, Talent, Interview and On-Stage questions during “The 2018 Miss America Competition.” The evening will showcase the intellect, grace and exceptional talent of 51 accomplished women representing their home states (and District of Columbia) as they compete for the coveted title of Miss America.
The seventh judge’s name for the final night of “The 2018 Miss America Competition” will be revealed closer to the competition.
As previously announced, Chris Harrison (ABC’s “The Bachelor” franchise and “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”) returns to host the legendary competition, with Sage Steele (ESPN’s “SportsCenter on the Road” and “SportsCenter: AM”) joining as co-host.
As a journalist, Emmy Award Winner, Maria Menounos, holds the distinct honor of having conducted the only interview with the entire Obama family. The interview was touted by ABC News as one of the defining moments leading to Obama’s victory. Maria’s achievements have thus far set industry milestones. Her groundbreaking conversational style of reporting led her, at the age of 22, to become the youngest person ever to host “Entertainment Tonight.” She would go on to do the same for the “Today” show and “Nightly News.” The milestones don’t end there. Maria is the first person in the history of Hollywood to report for network news and star in a wide-release feature film.
As an actress, on the big screen, she has appeared in “Tropic Thunder”, Kickin it Old Skool’ and ‘the Fantastic Four’ Small-screen acting endeavors include guest roles on CBS’ “Without a Trace,” NBC’s “Scrubs” and HBO’s “Entourage” as well as a recurring role on the CW’s “One Tree Hill.” She was also the longest running international spokesperson and face of Pantene hair care products and is the current Host of NCM’s ‘First Look’, the cinema pre show seen daily on 70% of America’s movie screens.
As a digital producer and entrepreneur, Maria, along with partner Keven Undergaro, co-founded AfterBuzz TV, the largest online broadcast network that produces over 300 TV ‘after-shows’ for favorite TV shows, is comprised of over 250 hosts, features daily celebrity guests and broadcasts weekly to over 20 million people from over 100 countries. In addition, along with Undergaro, she co-founded Popcorn Talk, a movie discussion network that reaches 2 million. Per Maria, the collective networks carry a mission to aid, mentor and nurture the careers aspiring hosts and journalists. To that point, AfterBuzz has helped launch the careers of former AfterBuzz TV hosts, Beth Behrs (Two Broke Girls), Eboni K. Williams (Fox News), Kat Bailess (Hit the Floor), Jackie Miranne (VH-1), Stephanie Bauer (Access Hollywood), Suri Serano (ESPN), Deidre Behar (Entertainment Tonight), AJ Gibson (Hollywood Today), Derrial Christon (BET), Chloe West (Moviefone), Cathy Kelley (WWE), Christy St. Cloud (WWE), Daria Berenato (WWE), Roxy Striar (Screen Junkies), Alex Wehrley (E! News) to name a few. In addition to being a champion of talent, Maria is particularly passionate about helping fellow women young and old. She also loves animals and avid in pet rescue.
A girl who did not speak English until the first grade and one who worked as a janitor cleaning Boston nightclubs throughout her adolescence, Maria is proof that you can come from humble beginnings and succeed. Most importantly, she is proof that you can remain true to yourself and humble and still care deeply for others.
Nina Davuluri is an acclaimed host, speaker and ardent advocate. Currently, she is the host & producer of the new weekly reality show, “Made In America,” which made its series premiere August 2017 on ZeeTV Americas in North America. The premise of the show is to empower young women to discover more about themselves through a series of challenges as they embark on a new journey to fulfill their dreams in America.
Nina first gained international acclaim by becoming the first Indian American and South Asian Miss America 2014; through her experiences, she realized how much of a need there was in the marketplace for this type of content to be created for young South Asian millennials. Since serving as Miss America 2014, Nina has logged approximately 500,000 miles traveling across the world to address an array of audiences on her platform: “Celebrating Diversity through Cultural Competency.”
As part of her consciousness-raising efforts on behalf of diversity, Nina also launched a social media campaign, #CirclesOfUnity, to encourage constructive and civil dialogue on diversity issues. Through her social media channels, Nina asks people to share “representative thoughts and stories about their experiences on how we as a nation can advance cultural awareness.” In addition to her personal platform, Nina also partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Education promoting women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) related fields.
Nina’s work in advocacy became apparent when she was first recognized by President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama. In April of 2014, she was invited to collaborate with the First Lady on her campaign, “Let’s Move.” She then went on to help launch “Act to Change,” an anti-bullying campaign led by the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In July of 2015, Nina was invited to be a speaker at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya during President Obama’s historic first visit. She was honored to be the youngest speaker on the main stage sharing her experiences as an entrepreneur & trailblazer in the field of diversity.
Voting is still open to the public for the “America’s Choice” contestant. The public can vote at missamerica.org/vote and facebook.com/missamerica and are permitted one vote per day, per user. Voting will close Tuesday, September 5th at 9:00pm ET and the chosen contestant will be announced during the live broadcast of “The 2018 Miss America Competition” with the Top 15. The remaining contestants in the Top 15 are selected by the Miss America Preliminary Judges Panel. It is possible for America’s Choice to also be among the judges selection.
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