16 Celebrities Who Were Pageant Stars


16 Celebrities Who Were Pageant Stars


16 Celebrities Who Were Pageant Stars

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16 Celebrities Who Were Pageant Stars

16 Celebrities Who Were Pageant Stars


16 Celebrities Who Were Pageant Stars

Published By:   •   June 14, 2023

16 Celebrities Who Were Pageant Stars

Published By:

June 14, 2023


These 16 celebrities went on to become actors, musicians and media personalities—but they got their start in the pageant world.

1- Priyanka Chopra

18-year-old Priyanka Chopra of India poses on stage during the Miss World final in London in November 2000, photo by GERRY PENNY/AFP via Getty Images

In 2000, Priyanka Chopra won Miss India and Miss World at 18 years old. To score the Miss World crown, she competed against 96 women from around the globe.

2- Michelle Pfeiffer

Actress Michelle Pfeiffer got her start winning the Miss Orange County pageant in 1978. She also finished sixth in the Miss California contest the same year. In a clip shared on Instagram, young Pfieffer mentions her interests in softball and oil painting, and how she hopes to become an actress one day. After winning the competition, she made her acting debut on the drama series Fantasy Island.

3- Vanessa Williams

Miss New York, Vanessa L. Williams, being crowned the new Miss America 1984, photo by Bettmann / contributor from Getty Images

In September of 1983, Vanessa Williams made history when she become the first African American Miss America. As a young adult, she won the Miss New York title, going on to later win Miss America.

4- Gal Gadot

Before Gal Gadot became Wonder Woman, she won the title of Miss Israel in 2004. She also competed in the Miss Universe pageant.

5- Eva Longoria

In 1998, Eva Longoria competed and won the Miss Corpus Christi USA pageant. Following this contest, she participated in Miss Texas, which led her to Los Angeles—and to her popular role on Desperate Housewives.

6- Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey won Nashville’s Miss Fire Prevention contest in 1971, subsequently being crowned Miss Black Tennessee and participating in Miss Black America.

7- Halle Berry

In 1985, Halle Berry was crowned Miss Teen All-American. Afterward, she became Miss Ohio USA, and then runner-up in Miss USA in 1986. That same year, she was the first African American contestant in the Miss World competition.

8- Diane Sawyer

Diane Sawyer, junior miss from Kentucky, was chosen as America's junior miss in the annual competition at Fort Whiting, photo by Bettmann / contributor from Getty Images

Diane Sawyer won America’s Junior Miss Pageant in 1963 before becoming a broadcast journalist.

9- Tiffani Amber Thiessen

Throughout her childhood, Tiffani Amber Thiessen competed in pageants, and she became Miss Junior America in 1987. The next year, the future Saved By the Bell star won Teen Magazine’s “Great Model Search.”

10- Chelsea Handler

At 14 years old, Chelsea Handler competed in the Miss Teen New Jersey Pageant. She then decided to ditch the beauty pageant world to become a stand-up comedian.

11- Olivia Culpo

Olivia Culpo poses on stage during the Miss Universe Pageant Competition 2013 in Moscow, Russia, photo by Victor Boyko/WireImage

Olivia Culpo was crowned Miss USA in 2012 and that same year, went on to win Miss Universe in her second pageant ever.

12- Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone got her start by winning the title of Miss Crawford County in 1976, and was a candidate for Miss Pennsylvania. Afterward, the ambitious blonde was hired by Ford Modeling Agency and became known around the world as a television and movie star.

13- Michelle Yeoh

Oscar winner Michelle Yeoh was crowned Miss Malaysia in 1983 at 20 years old. The Everything Everywhere All at Once star also participated and won Queen of the Pacific and Miss Moomba. Then, she represented Malaysia in the Miss Universe competition.

14- Selena Gomez

In 2015, Selena Gomez tweeted a picture of herself as a child competing in a beauty pageant. In the photo, she is wearing a white dress, a tiara and a sash that reads “Model.”

15- Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake competed in local pageants as a kid—bringing home six trophies at the 1992 International Supreme King contest in Nashville, raved his grandmother to Us magazine.

16 - Matthew McConaughey

At eight years old, Matthew McConaughey was runner-up of Little Mr. Texas in 1997, as he shared on Instagram. He revealed that for years—thanks to his mom—he believed that he'd won, and only recently learned he came in second.

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