Crown history! Miss USA, Miss Teen USA & Miss America are all black women

May 9, 2019

Cheslie Kryst
Miss USA

Remember when you used to watch pageant shows and you’d be rooting for the Black woman to win, but knowing in your gut, that she wouldn’t get it? Over the years, we have seen the shift change with more and more women of color getting the top spot. And now, for the first time ever, three Black women simultaneously hold titles from America’s biggest pageants.

Cheslie Kryst, who was crowned Thursday, May 2 2019, Kaliegh Garris, Nia Franklin, have been named Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and Miss America, respectively.

Both Kryst and Garris received props on social media from fans and celebrities alike for rocking their natural hair throughout the national competition.

Cheslie Kryst, a 28-yearold from Charlotte, North Carolina, was crowned as the pageant’s 2019 winner Thursday night at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada.

Nia Franklin
Miss America

For her last question in the final round, she was asked whether the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have gone too far.

“I don’t think these movements have gone too far,” she said. “What #MeToo and #TimesUp are about are making sure that we foster safe and inclusive workplaces in our country.

“As an attorney, that’s exactly what I want to hear and that’s exactly what I want for this country. I think they’re good movements.”

Kryst practices civil litigation for a law firm and also does free legal work for prisoners who may be sentenced unjustly, helping them to seek reduced punishments, one of her biographies on Miss USA’s website reads.

Garris revealed in a recent interview that when she entered the pageant world, people would often try to dissuade her from rocking her natural curls.

Kaliegh Garris
Miss Teen USA

“The night before, I finger curled every single piece of my hair in the shower, which led to a very long shower, but it was for the greater good,” the 18-year-old Connecticut native told Refinery29. “I know what I look like with straight hair, with extensions, and with my curly hair, and I feel more confident and comfortable with my natural hair.” At competition time, Garris walked on the stage proudly wearing her curls, and she walked away with the Miss Teen USA title, marking the first time in two decades that the crown was placed on natural hair.

“There was one day when my friend saw my curls coming in from my roots because I didn’t straighten my hair very well that day, and she was like, ‘You have beautiful curly hair, you should go natural’.” That one conversation encouraged Garris to grow out her hair and then go for the big chop. “My mom thought I was only going to get a little trim, but I actually chopped all the straight ends off, and ever since then, I’ve been natural,” the beautiful Garris added.

“Being able to spread the message of diversity, being yourself, and being confident in your curly, natural hair is something that I’m really looking forward to with my new national title.”