#BlackPageantHerstory- Cheryl Browne – First Black Woman to Compete for Miss America

In honor of Black History Month, Pageants & Prosecco is highlighting the Black Pageant Queens who made a difference and broke through the mold.

These Queens paved a way and made a difference in our lives today. Many of whom broke barriers being a first in the pageant world to do something amazing.

Today, we honor Cheryl Browne the first Black woman to compete for Miss America. She won Miss Iowa in 1970 to everyone’s surprised including herself. Learn more about this Queen. Happy #BlackHistoryMonth

Tune in to Pageants & Prosecco, the Podcast to learn more about Cheryl Brown & the Miss America rule #7. Available on iTunes, Google Play, Overcast, Spotify & wherever else you’re listening to your podcasts.

Engaged! Kara McCullough Says Yes To NBA Player Garrett Temple

Congratulations to Kara and Garrett! He proposed to the former Miss USA over the weekend in front of loved ones, saying she makes him a better man repeatedly. Kara shared the special moment on Instagram to her 84,000 followers. Paying homage to Kobe, Kara says “blessings still fell” down despite sadness across the world for all the victims.

“We’re going to build an even bigger temple of love and legacy for our future” -Kara

Garrett has an extensive career in the NBA currently playing for the Brooklyn Nets and played for Louisiana State University before going pro in 2009. His father Collis Temple was the first African-American to play basketball at LSU back in the early 1970’s. He played overseas in Italy for a year before stints with the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks, Washington Wizards, Memphis Grizzles, Los Angeles Clippers and finding home in Brooklyn.

Garrett frequently played against Kob Bryant saying he grew up watching #8 and played against #24 (Photo Cred: Instagram)

He’s on the executive committee of the National Basketball Player’s Association. According to CBS Sports, many think the 33-year-old will be next in line to be President of the union. His team mates praise him as a humble, God-fearing, perfect guy to be around. As part of the NBPA, he focuses on mentoring the rookie athletes coming in to the league, with a focus on mental health, financial literacy and preparing them for life after the NBA.

The pair first went social media official after Kara’s reign ended in 2018 and are true #relationshipgoals They adopted a gorgeous pup, Basil. Can’t wait to follow the wedding journey. Congrats to the fabulous couple!

Miss Dominican Republic Talks Miss Global Cheating Scandal

Miss Dominican Republic, LeslieAnn Padilla, sits down exclusively with Pageants & Prosecco to sip a glass of wine and share ALL of the Miss Global cheating drama unfolding.

In this episode, LeslieAnn opens up about her experience during pageant week including favoritism toward Miss Mexico, Miss Columbia’s viral onstage protest and the contestants’ fears about their own safety!

Grab your bottle & tune in. This is def a goodie you don’t want to miss.

Regina Out As Miss America CEO/President

In what seems like the never ending saga of the Miss America competition it has been announced Regina Hopper is no longer the CEO & President of Miss America 2.0 going forward. In a statement sent out by the Miss America Organization on Tuesday they begin with a cryptic message of welcome, “we hope you’re doing well as we dive into a new year and look toward the Miss America 100th anniversary exclamation!”

They then go on to further nonchalantly in a matter-of-fact way tells us, “we are writing to inform you that President and CEO Regina Hopper is no longer with the organization. Miss America Organization Board Chair Shantel Krebs will assume leadership responsibilities on an interim basis as the board begins a search for a new president and CEO.” Girl what?

And so it continues…

It seems like MAO cannot go a week without making noise. Whether its from switching up the style of competition or the subliminal sneak diss to past titleholders causing a social media frenzy, they can’t catch a break. Tuesday was no exception.

Regina joined the Miss America Organization just two years ago in May 2018 when round one of this began with offensive emails from the former president about past titleholders’ appearances. Many pageants fans did not approve of the changes witnessed during last month’s shark-tank style competition. Public perception and faith in this organization began to dwindle when Gretchen Carlson & Regina came on board as the Chairwoman & CEO/President respectively and the famous swimsuit portion was officially eliminated. A first for the pageant founded as a swimsuit competition 99 years ago. This news follows Gretchen’s announcement she was stepping away from the Chair position back in June 2019.

One person eager to post the news was former Miss America Cara Mund, who dealt with the biggest burden of this changing system during her entire reign.

During her reign as Miss America, Cara wrote an open letter to Forever Miss Americas & that year’s class of contestants saying both Regina & Gretchen had “systematically silenced me, reduced me, marginalize me and essentially erase me in my role as Miss America is subtle and not-so-subtle always on a daily basis after a while the parents have clearly emerged in the sheer accumulation of the disrespect, passive aggressive behavior, belittlement in our right exclusion has taken a serious toll.”

-words from Cara Mund about the Chairwoman & President at the time

Her work speaking up may have add some waves in the Miss A front office. Even though she say she supports a nationwide job search, many are calling on the law student to step up with #caraforprez tagged under her picture on Instagram mentioning Regina’s departure.

Speaking to the Press of Atlantic City, Regina said she is proud of the progress made in this short period citing the “successful Miss America 2019 and 2020 competitions and broadcast, and with network and venue negotiations underway for America 2021, the organization is positioned to move forward to deliver the commemoration of its 100th anniversary.”

Read the full statement from MAO then tell us who do you think can turn this pageant around in time for the centennial celebration? Give us your best recommendations down below…

Continue reading “Regina Out As Miss America CEO/President”

Miss Dominican Republic Calls Out Miss Global For Cheating During Competition

Those of us who have been around pageants have either watched or participated in a pageant where we thought the results were skeptical. However, the 2020 Miss Global pageant takes that suspicion to a whole other level! The depth of corruption was beyond belief over the weekend.

This year marked the 8th anniversary for the Miss Global Organization (Photo Cred: Miss Global)

During Saturday’s pageant, held in Oaxaca, Mexico, viewers and contestants astonished by a certain sponsor’s push for Miss Mexico Global, Palmira Ruiz, to win the crown. Apparently, Miss Mexico was treated differently than the other 56 competitors. Speaking with local media following the debacle Miss Dominican Republic 2019, LeslieAnn Padilla said Palmira was treated better than the other competitors throughout the pageant. She claimed, “Mexico was always late to rehearsals and was always absent.” According to her, during the final show all the other contestants were crammed in a small area with no heat and were freezing changing in and out of their competition wear while Miss Mexico was comfortable with her two of her own heated rooms.

According to sources who spoke with Pageants & Prosecco, Miss Mexico Global, Palmira Ruiz, was given special treatment throughout the competition. She was allegedly absent or late to several events. (Photo Cred: Instagram)

LesilieAnn says only her, Peru, Columbia, Ecuador, Cuba, and Venezuela spoke Spanish. This meant she could understand a lot of what was going on behind the scenes.

During a conversation with Pageants & Prosecco, she told us she overheard a man backstage with Van Pham the CEO and Founder of Miss Global. For safety reasons she chose not to disclose his name or position with the organization. She told Us it was this guy who told Van Pham, if Miss Mexico did not win, they would pull the plug on the entire televised show. LeslieAnn felt the need to call out the man for the unfairness and was threatened if she did not remain quiet!

A true pageant queen, prior to being Miss Dominican Republic Global, LeslieAnn was Miss Latina International USA (Photo Cred: Instagram)

This did not stop Miss Columbia Global, Jesenia Orozco from speaking out on stage during the pageant, “It’s fraud! There is a lot of corruption in Mexico and it’s unfair.” In order to attempt to silence her, staff played music over her protests. In videos from that night you can hear Jesenia saying, “It is disrespectful to all the women that worked hard to be here.” She went on to say the pageant was full of corruption and fraud, and the Miss Global Mexico representatives were giving Latinos a bad name.

However, it is important to know she and the other contestants don’t see the Miss Global organization as the ones to blame, “it should be on Miss Global Mexico.”

This photo of Miss Columbia Global, Jesenia was taken moments before her now viral on stage protest. (Photo Cred: Instagram)

So, who was behind the scheme to crown Mexico as Miss Global? According to those close to the competition, it was one of the host country’s sponsor, Ramiro Gutierrez, who pressured the Miss Global organization to crown Miss Mexico the title; going so far as to threaten to cancel the entire broadcast if she was not selected. When the Miss Global Organization refused to meet his demands, Gutierrez carried out his threat and pulled the plug during the live televised broadcast, ending the pageant without a winner being crowned and before onstage questions began.

In the days following, Van Pham issued a public statement on behalf of the Miss Global Organization denouncing this behavior. He asserted that, while Guiterrez was one of the country’s sponsor, he is not affiliated with Miss Global. He expressed his support of Miss Columbia’s public protest onstage and said Guiterrez needed “to uphold the rules and procedures that Miss Global has always honored.” The public statement ended with the announcement of the winner, Karolína Kokešová, Miss Czech Republic (who reportedly had the highest score at the time of the interruption) and the organization’s commitment to maintain the integrity of their pageants in the future.

You can see his full statement here:

The public statement was made the same night of the 2019 Miss Global Pageant. (Photo Cred: Miss Global)

What do you think about the events and public outrage at Miss Global? Tell your thoughts below…

Remembering Kobe Bryant – Titleholders Share Their Love for the Legend

Everyone is in mourning right now. Kobe Bryant impacted more than the sports world, he touched everyone through the game and his love of basketball. Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, pilot Ara Zobayan, Mamba girls’ basketball assistant coach Christina Mauser, eighth grader Payton Chester and her mother Sarah Chester along with Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa, a teammate of Gianna’s, passed away on Sunday.

A moment the world will never forget and a name which will always be yelled when tossing a wad into the trash can. For many, like myself, this news comes with great sudden sadness as he represented who you can be if you have the drive, courage, God-like confidence with enough humbleness wrapped into his famous Mamba mentality. His tenacity, determination and motivation I am sure has been put in a few of our journals and on our vision boards as we prepared for that next level of competition.

Our timelines were flooded with love for the NBA Legend and his daughter GiGi. Similar to Los Angeles and the world, the pageant community as well is in mourning:

Remember, you are more than what you do (being an amazing titleholder), it’s who you are in Kobe’s famous words. As a pageant family, let’s look to Kobe’s legacy and continue to push the definition of excellence in our communities, our industry and on stage.

Love yours truly,

-B.

Sisters By Blood and The Crown!

Pageant history was made in Omaha, Nebraska when Megan Swanson was crowned Miss Nebraska USA 2020. You see, Megan’s younger sister, Allie, is the current reigning Miss Nebraska and just competed at Miss America in December. Meaning both major state titles are held by the Swanson sisters! And they both competed at Miss America.

Megan shared her euphoria with Pageants & Prosecco, “I can’t even describe the feeling of having these next few months as LITERAL sister queens with my real-life sister.” This is not the first time history was made by these Swanson sisters. Both were also the first pair of sisters to win the coveted Miss Nebraska (MAO) title. Megan said her sister’s epic win last summer was “just the icing on the cake.” Things got even more serendipitous when Megan said the two won their titles wearing each other’s gown! Megan explained how this was not done on purpose, “it was what we had!”

Miss USA 2020 won’t be Megan’s first time on a national stage. She was previously Miss Nebraska 2014 and competed at Miss America. (Photo Cred: Jessielyn Palumbo)

Allie showed her excitement over her older sister’s Miss Nebraska USA win on social media, “can you believe that this is real life and that our dream come true?” Both of the sisters will reign together for the next 6 months. Allie expressed her gratitude, “still can’t get over how good God is!”

Last June, Allie won Miss Nebraska 2019 at the North Platte HS Performing Arts Center in North Platte, Nebraska. The 6’2 beauty shared on social media after she won she believed she had a shot at the Miss America crown because she’s a “powerhouse that will make you smile, laugh, think, and learn to love yourself for who you are.”

Allie’s social impact initiative for Miss America 2020 was CyberSmartz: Protecting Yourself in a Digital World. (Photo Cred: XYZ Media)

Pageantry unsurprisingly brought these two very close. Megan gushed about her sister, “she’s the best Miss Nebraska we’ve ever had, and almost doubled the organization in a year.” She went on to say how her little sister Allie, inspires her to be a better person each and every day. Megan even called Allie “part of my WHY to be Miss USA.”

Miss Nebraska USA Megan with her little sister Allie! Allie was crowned Miss Nebraska (MAO) last June. (Photo Cred: Instagram)

So, what did the sisters do once they were both crowned? Of course, they went on a sister-sister media tour across the state. There is also more in the works, so be sure to follow both sisters on social media. Allie wants the public to know the sisters are only just beginning, “look out world… Here the Swanson sisters come!”

Two Top Pageant Vets Heading to Miss USA stage

NEW TITLEHOLDERS ALERT! Two new Miss USA state queens were crowned this past weekend and they are no strangers to the national pageant stage. Congratulations to 2020 Miss New York USA, Andreia Gibau, and Miss District of Columbia USA, Cierra Jackson!

Andreia was ecstatic to share the news to her followers, “words can’t express how happy I am that I get to experience the opportunity of a lifetime.”  Andreia won Miss New York USA 2020 on January 19, at Purchase College’s Performing Arts Center. She is definitely not new to the world of pageantry. The former Miss Earth USA placed Top 16 at the international Miss Earth 2017 competition was also Miss Teen United States in 2015. She previously went after the Miss New York USA title before competing in the Miss Earth organization. She shared “the one thing I feel so deeply right now is gratitude.” 

Beauty and brains Gibau is multilingual and can speak 4 languages! (Photo Cred: Instagram)

Cierra Jackson was crowned Miss District of Columbia USA 2020 on January 19, at the Carpenter Theatre in the Dominion Energy Center. Like Andreia, she is definitely not a pageant newbie. Cierra competed at the 2017 Miss America pageant as Miss District of Columbia, winning the preliminary Lifestyle and Fitness award. Cierra grew up as a military child, which led her to create the platform, Behind the Frontline. Her social impact initiative focuses on aiding military children, like herself. With two of the last five Miss D. C.’s winners capturing the Miss USA crown back-to-back, the District of Columbia is quickly making itself a pageant powerhouse within the Miss USA pageant. Can Cierra keep it going?

During the 2017 Miss America competition Jackson wore her natural hair despite being told to straighten it. (Photo Cred: Instagram)

The excitement surrounding the 2020 Miss USA competition continues to grow. Who will go on to win the coveted title of Miss USA 2020? We will simply have to wait and see, but until then let’s admire these confidently beautiful queens!

Miss to Mrs. Demi Leigh Marries Tim Tebow!

From Miss Universe to now Mrs. Tebow, Demi-Leigh tied the knot with former NFL quarterback, Tim Tebow, this past weekend in South Africa.

The sunset ceremony took place at the La Paris Estate resort and consisted of a sophisticated white, gold, green and black color palette. In an interview with People Magazine, who exclusively covered the nuptials, Demi said the wedding was a reflection of the couple, “We’re both very traditional.” She went on to say, “we wanted to look back at the wedding and see that it was intimate, elegant, and traditional.”

A wedding truly takes a village! Zavion Kotze-Brereton was the couple’s wedding designer and fashion photographer, Hanri Human was the official photographer. (Photo Cred: Instagram)

Demi’s traditional values were also reflected in the design of her wedding dress. telling People, she wanted her gown to be sleek and elegant and timeless. The former Miss Universe tried on over 50 dresses before she finally found the one. She ended up walking down the aisle in a custom-made gown from David’s Bridal accessorized with diamond and pearl earrings from Marion Rehwinkel Jewelry.

The night before the wedding, Tim said he was working hard to ensure everything would go smoothly, specifically his vows, “I want the vows to be perfect.” Also sharing how he wanted to make sure his vows sounded authentic, “I’m leaving in the traditional things like ‘till death do us part,’ but I’m also adding some of my own things to it.” 

Tim Tebow’s tuxedo was custom designed by Project Runway SA Mentor, Gert-Johan Coetzee. (Photo Cred: People Magazine)

Per South African pageant rules, when Demi won the title of Miss South Africa, she had was able to represent her country at both Miss World and Miss Universe. However, since the two pageants coincided, she was sent to compete and focus on winning Miss Universe. It paid off when she took home the Phoenix Mikimoto Crown in 2017 at the AXIS Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nevada becoming the second Miss South Africa in history to do so at the time. Now with Zozibini’s win South Africa and a first Runner Up last year, SA is now placing themselves as a potential pageant powerhouse in the coming years. Aside from the Philippines, South Africa’s record is one of the best in the 2010’s decade for Miss Universe.

She was the first woman to wear the Mikimoto since 2008 Venezuela’s Dayana Mendoza won. It was short-lived because after Demi crowned Catriona Gray in it last year it is now retired and replaced by the $5 million dollar Power of Unity Crown designed by Pascal Mouawad. During the final round she was asked about her best quality and how she could apply it to her reign as Miss Universe. Her response:

Fashion Designer, Anel Botha, designed Leigh’s gown for Miss Universe (Photo Cred: Instagram)

“As Miss Universe you have to be confident in who you are as an individual and Miss Universe is a woman that has overcome many fears and by that she is able to help other women to overcome their fears. She is a woman that nothing is ever too much to ask for and I think that is exactly who I am.” 

When Tebow isn’t on the field he moonlights as a motivational speaker! (Photo Cred: Instagram)

Demi’s new husband is also no stranger to the spotlight. Tim Tebow’s football career gained momentum his freshman year as the starting quarterback for the University of Florida in 2007. The next year, Tebow became a college football fan’s household name when he became the first college sophomore to win the coveted Heisman Trophy. After college he was a NFL quarterback for the Denver Broncos and New York Jets but after getting dropped, he found a new passion with baseball. He now is a minor league outfielder for the New York Mets. 

When asked how he felt about the wedding, Tebow gushed, “I’ve been waiting my entire life for someone special, who I can spend the rest of my life with. I was waiting for the right person to come along and now I’m marrying Demi.” Such sweet words… Congratulations  to the happy couple!

The couple met through Night to Shine, an event part of the Tim Tebow Foundation. (Photo Cred: Instagram)


Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, Advances to Compete in Statewide Marketing Competition

We all want beauty and brains, but let’s be honest…It takes WORK! Current Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, Payton May, is proving she is in fact more than a pretty face.  Payton placed third in her district level DECA competition. This high placement qualifies her for the competitive in the Washington State DECA competition.  

Queens support queens! Miss America 2019, Nia Franklin showed her support for Payton. (Photo Cred: Instagram)

She shared her excitement with a photo of her with the third-place medal on social media with the caption, “That feeling when you get 3rd place in your event at DECA and qualify for state.” 

DECA is a not-for-profit student organization founded in 1946, designed to help further students’ entrepreneurship skills in different areas of marketing, finance and business. The organization currently has 4,000 active high school chapters who compete on the district, state and national level. 

Award winners from last year’s Washington DECA. Will May be up there this year? (Photo Cred: Washington DECA)

The organization’s highly competitive events are based on the National Curriculum Standards of marketing, business management and administration, finance and hospitality and tourism industries. The competition consists of both a written component, similar to an school exam and an interactive component involving a presentation judged by industry professionals.

Payton plans to run for Congress after studying political science when she goes to college (Photo Cred: Instagram)

The high school senior is an active member of, Skyview High School’s DECA chapter for 3 years and is currently serving it’s student president. This year Payton has her eyes set on nationals, “I’m more ready than ever to get to nationals.” The organization awarded her previously, receiving the DECA Award for emerging leaders and entrepreneurs.

One can assume Payton has incorporated her learned skills from DECA into pageantry when she was crowned Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, on July 27, 2019. Winning over $30K in scholarship from The Harris Rosen Foundation and the Orlando Scholarship Organization, Inc. After winning she shared, “there aren’t enough words to express my gratitude and appreciation for everyone who made this dream possible.” 

Payton’s social impact platform is to encourage young people to vote and increase civic involvement (Photo Cred: Instagram)

This will be her third time competing at the state level for DECA. Will she make it to nationals? We will just have to wait and see!