The Quick 10: 10 Famous Beauty Pageant Contestants


1. Oprah. Her first stop on the road to world domination? Winning Miss Black Tennessee in 1972.

2. Cloris Leachman. The Des Moines native (had to throw that in there, you know) participated in the 1946 Miss America pageant as Miss Chicago.

3. Sarah Palin. She was crowned Miss Wasilla in 1984 and then went on to compete in the Miss Alaska pageant, where she placed third. You can see her compete in the talent competition with her flute and a mean rendition of "The Homecoming" by Nathan Hardy.

4. Lynda Carter. Even though Lynda Carter won the Miss World USA title in 1972, I think being Wonder Woman is cooler.

5. Halle Berry. Halle represented the U.S. in the Miss World competition 14 years later. Although she finished sixth, she does hold Miss Teen All-American and Miss Ohio titles.

6. Diane Sawyer. As "America's Junior Miss," Diane Sawyer got to promote Coca Cola at the New York World's Fair in the 1960s.

7. Vanna White. The world's most famous letter turner started out as a runner up for Miss Georgia USA 1978. She showed up as Pat Sajak's cohort just four years later.

8. Michelle Pfeffier. As Miss Orange County 1978, Michelle Pfeiffer turned it out in feathered hair and a tank top.

10. Delta Burke. As Miss Florida 1974, Suzanne Sugarbaker's alter ego got to compete in the Miss America pageant. Her talent apparently didn't impress the judges - she did a dramatic reading about Anne Boleyn with a decidedly Southern twang - but she did win Miss Congeniality.

Other title holders include Kathie Lee Gifford (Maryland's Junior Miss 1970), Raquel Welch (second place in the 1957 Miss Southern California pageant), Michelle Yeoh (Miss Malaysia 1983) and Jeri Ryan (Miss Illinois 1990).