American Model and Journalist, Elle Smith, Miss Kentucky USA 2021, has emerged winner of the 2021 Miss USA competition which has garnered high praise for it’s efforts at inclusivity this year.
The event dubbed “Pageantry Reimagined,” held Monday night at the River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and saw the former Miss Kentucky, 23 clinch the crown ahead of 50 other contestants.
“A little over a year ago, I sat in bed and watched Miss USA,” Smith reminiscing in an Instagram post. “I remember watching … so many incredible women grace the stage, and thinking, ‘I want to be on that stage. I want to be like them.’ … I made that dream reality.”
Among competitors was Kataluna Enriquez, 27, the first openly transgender woman to appear in Miss USA.
Smith, 23, will now go on to represent the United States at the upcoming 2021 Miss Universe pageant in Eilat, Israel slated for Dec. 12.
The new Miss USA graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2020 after majoring in journalism and political science. She was the vice president of the college’s National Association of Black Journalists chapter. She works as a reporter for WHAS11 News.
Smith is the second woman from Kentucky to win Miss USA.