The Miss America Organization and dick clark productions announced today the panel of judges for the non-broadcast preliminary rounds of “The 2018 Miss America Competition.” The diverse group of judges will select the top 15 finalists competing for the title of Miss America 2018 during the preliminary week of competition on September 6th – 8th in Atlantic City, NJ. Airing live on ABC from Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 (9:00 – 11:00p.m. ET/PT), “The 2018 Miss America Competition” will showcase the intellect, grace and exceptional talent of 51 accomplished women representing their home states (and District of Columbia) to compete for the coveted title of Miss America.
The judges will use their expertise in their respective fields to evaluate the young women and their incredible blend of intelligence, leadership, talent, physical fitness and dedication to community service.
The panel of experts will evaluate the 51 contestants’ performances in the following categories: Lifestyle and Fitness in Swimsuit, Evening Wear, Talent, Interview, and On-Stage Questions. The preliminary judges are listed below (in alphabetical order by first name):
Carolyn Conrad – Carolyn Conrad is an entertainment lawyer with over a decade of experience representing top talent in the television, motion picture, digital and music fields. Her clients have spanned all facets of the industry – from performers, writers, and producers to on-air personalities and influencers – and include Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe and Grammy nominees and winners. Hailing from Texas, Conrad moved to Los Angeles for college, where she graduated from UCLA and was an All-American swimmer and three-time game show winner. She currently splits her time between Los Angeles and New York, and is involved with Human Rights Watch in Los Angeles and The Bowery Mission and Opening Act in New York.
Karen Knutson – Karen is originally from Alaska but has called Washington, DC home for the last 25 years. Karen is the Global Government Affairs and Policy Leader for Baker Hughes, a GE Company and an attorney with over 30 years of experience in energy policy issues. Prior to working at GE, Karen served in several public policy roles, including Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski and the Deputy Assistant to the Vice President of the United States for Domestic Policy. Karen attended law school in North Carolina at Wake Forest University. Her husband, Kent is an executive at Home Depot and she has two wonderful children, Matthew and Ingrid and a slightly bad Labrador named Gunnar.
Kate Bennett – Kate Bennett is a White House reporter for CNN, co-author of CNN Politics COVER/LINE, and co-host of the CNN Politics COVER/LINE podcast. Bennett’s beat includes the Trump family, the first lady, the East Wing of the White House, and the mashup of style, society, and buzz in the nation’s capital. A former magazine and fashion editor, prior to CNN Kate worked for Politico, Independent Journal Review, and Washingtonian, among other outlets. She’s been a lifestyle journalist for almost two decades, chronicling the intersection of people, pop culture, and politics.
Patrick Rush – Patrick Rush’s career started in the Universal Mailroom and from there he found his way into the world of Casting. His credits include: “Party of Five”, “Dawson’s Creek”, “Everwood”, “The OC, “Chuck”, “Dallas”, “The Astronaut’s Wives Club”, “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors” and its sequel, “Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circles of Love”. Most recently, he cast Marvel’s “Runaways” for Hulu and “Gospel of Kevin” for ABC. Patrick has been nominated for 6 Casting Society of America Awards and was the winner for the television mini-series “In Cold Blood”. Patrick is more than honored to be included in the judging of this year’s Miss America Competition.
Rusty Joiner– With an impressive body of work over the past two years, including his critically acclaimed, multi-award-winning performance in the independent feature “Voiceless” – Rusty Joiner has definitely made his way to Hollywood’s “The Ones To Watch” list. Prior to making the successful transition from modeling to acting, Joiner first gained international recognition as the official Structure Men’s Underwear spokesperson. In addition to campaigns for Abercrombie & Fitch, Levi’s and Prada, Joiner graced the cover of Mens Fitness Magazine a record twelve times. His noted film and television roles include: Dodgeball, Amateur Night, Behaving Badly, Resident Evil: Extinction, CSI: Miami, The Closer, Bones, Melrose Place and Days of Our Lives.
Susan Perkins Botsford – Susan Perkins Botsford, representing Ohio, was crowned Miss America-1978. After her year of service as Miss America, Susan was a featured performer on several Miss America telecasts, emceed numerous state pageants, sang professionally and worked as a reporter for the ABC affiliate in San Francisco. Susan has participated in many volunteer activities supporting our veterans, and in 2009 she toured Iraq with two other former Miss Americas. In May of 1979, Susan married Alan Botsford. They have two married children, a son and daughter, and reside in Boston and Cape Cod.
Vivian Nixon – Vivian Nixon is an entrepreneurial artist, producer, director, choreographer, dancer and actress, whose many talents have fueled her versatile career that ranges from the stage and screen, to the studio and production table. She has appeared in shows ranging from television’s Grey’s Anatomy to Broadway’s Hot Feet. Nixon founded 42 Seven Productions with a handful of Broadway, film and television veterans to bring the best of live entertainment and education to cities across the globe (www.42Sevenproductions.com). She is also the Associate Artistic Director of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy.
Celebrity judges for the live broadcast of the 2018 Miss America pageant will be announced in the coming weeks.
Chris Harrison (ABC’s “The Bachelor” and “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”) returns to host the legendary competition, with Sage Steele (ABC’s and ESPN’s “NBA Countdown”) joining as co-host.
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