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20 Celebrities Who Started Out As Beauty Queens

As the saying goes, all roads lead to Rome. There are many ways for people to become famous, and beauty contests are one of them. Let's take a look at some of the celebrities who have been recognized by the public for winning beauty contests!

Oprah Winfrey

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In 1972, when Oprah Winfrey was just a 17 year old teenage girl, she won the title of Miss Black Tennessee. After winning the competition, Winfrey gradually worked her way into the entertainment industry and eventually became the talk show queen.

Vanna White

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Little did we know that Vanna White started out as a model before becoming the hostess of Wheel of Fortune. She was the 1978 Miss Georgia pageant winner when she was 21. 2 years later, she made her first appearance on TV.

Delta Burke

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Emmy nominee Delta Burke was crowned Miss Florida in 1974 when she was only a 16-year-old high school student. In the same year, she began her entertainment career after starring on CBS's Designing Women, which was one of the perks of being a pageant winner.

Michelle Pfeiffer

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At the age of 19, Michelle Pfeiffer won Miss Orange County and then was the sixth runner-up in Miss California in 1978. Afterwards she was signed by an acting agent and started auditioning for TV shows and films.

Priyanka Chopra

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In 2000, Priyanka Chopra was first crowned Miss India and then given the title of Miss World. 2 years later, she made her film debut and became one of India's highest-paid actresses.

Sharon Stone

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Catwoman star Sharon Stone won the title of Miss Crawford County in 1975 and was a candidate for Miss Pennsylvania. She then took her pageant judge's advice and moved to NYC to become a fashion model before later entering the film industry.

Sarah Palin

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In 1984, a 20-year-old Palin won the Miss Wasilla pageant and placed third in the Miss Alaska beauty competition. She then started her career and launched her own online news network a few years later.

Sophia Loren

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In 1950, 15-year-old Sophia Loren took part in the Miss Italy beauty contest, and won the title Of Miss Elegance. The experience won her a life-changing ticket into the Italian film industry and, later, Hollywood.

Halle Berry

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Halle Berry achieved great success in many beauty contests in the 1980s: she won first place as Miss America 1985 and Miss Ohio 1986, second place as Miss America 1986, and sixth place as Miss World 1986. With such achievements under her belt, she naturally went on to enter the entertainment industry.

Diane Sawyer

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Diane Sawyer is the worldwide famous news anchor and a beauty pageant contestant as well. Just as she was finishing her senior year of high school in 1963, she won the crown of America's Junior Miss.

Gal Gadot

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Before embarking on her film career, Gal Gadot was a beauty contestant. Despite her reluctance to compete in the Miss Israel contest, Gal Gadot eventually won the title and represented The country in the Miss Universe contest.

Lynda Carter

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21-year-old Lynda Carter was the titleholder of Miss World USA in 1972 and represented America in the Miss World 1972 pageant. 3 years after the contest, she starred in the TV series Wonder Woman.

Kathie Lee Gifford

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Before we knew Kathie Lee Gifford as the host of the Today Show, she started as a beauty pageant contestant. Gifford won the title of America's Junior Miss Pageant in 1970, and that was her first step into the entertainment industry.

Rihanna

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When she was still a child, 16-year-old Rihanna was titled Miss Combermere at her high school. Although it was only a high school beauty contest, it was the moment Rihanna began to shine.

Olivia Culpo

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Olivia Culpo's beauty pageant contests remind us that she is a worthy model and a fashion influencer. Culpo was titled Miss Rhode Island and Miss USA in 2012 and won the Miss Universe pageant as the US representative.

Ali Landry

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Ali Landry is the first to win the triple crowns of Miss Louisiana Teen USA, Miss Louisiana USA, and Miss USA in the 1990s. She was also the sixth runner-up in Miss Universe 1996. Landry then naturally turned her attention to the entertainment business and appeared in a Super Bowl commercial.

Gretchen Carlson

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Gretchen Carlson won the Miss Minnesota and Miss America pageant when she was 23 years old. In the same year, she began to make television appearances as a newscaster.

Eva Longoria

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Before her breakout role on Desperate Housewives, Eva Longoria was Miss Corpus Christi in 1998. A year later, she was signed by a talent agent and entered Hollywood.

Vanessa Williams

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Vanessa Williams won Miss Syracuse and Miss New York in 1983 and became the first African American to win Miss America in 1984. She then went on to become a recording artist and actress and returned to the Miss America stage as a judge in 2016.

Lee Meriwether

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When 20-year-old Lee Meriwether won the Miss America pageant in 1955, she got a crown, robe, and scepter. Before long, she became well known for her roles on Barnaby Jones and Star Trek.

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