Miss Florida USA 2015 is first-time contestant Ashleigh Lollie! Ashleigh is from Grand Ridge, northwest of Tallahassee, and is the first Panhandle titleholder since 2006. Ashleigh also won Miss Photogenic - the first Miss Photogenic winner to win Miss Florida USA since Angelia Savage in 1997!
Only one of the many returning runners-up made it to the top five, with 2014 third runner-up Kailyn Perez placing first runner-up. Second runner-up was Jessica Voight, a semi-finalist last year and third and fourth runners-up Lacey Morgan & Heather Martin were both competing for the first time.
In many respects this was a surprise top five, which few people watching the pageant predicted. Left in the top 16 were three of last year’s runners-up: Linette De Los Santos, three-time runner-up Brie Gabrielle and two-time runner-up Melissa Ramirez. Quite a few shocks - I thought for sure Brie & Melissa, along with Pageant Update interviewee Mel Ziegler would make it through. Congratulations to past non-finalists Natalie Carbonell & Ana Perez for breaking into the semi-finals for the first time.
Florida often years some amazing contestants out of the top 16 and this year was no different. I was particularly surprised that Rachel Stacy and Anh Do did not make the top 15, along with Valetina Esquivel and Elise Lobb.
Miss Florida USA 2015 - Ashleigh Lollie 1RU: Kailyn Perez (3RU 14) 2RU: Jessica Voigt (SF 14) 3RU: Lacey Morgan 4RU: Heather Martin
Semi-finalists: Natalie Carbonell (NF 12) Melissa Ramirez (4RU 14, 1RU 12, NF FL TUSA 10)) Brianna Esteves LInette De Los Santos (2RU 14, NF 13) Melissa Ziegler Sarah Rogers (SF FL TUSA 14) Marissa Danish (4RU 12) Celine Pelofi Ana Perez (NF 13) Brittany Lugo (SF 14, NF 13) Brie Gabrielle (1RU 14, 2RU CA USA 13, 1RU CA USA 12, T10 CA TUSA 07, T10 CA TUSA 06)
Miss Amity: Crystal Stephens Miss Photogenic: Ashleigh Lollie
Ashleigh Lollie, Kailyn Perez, Jessica Voight, Lacey Morgan, Heather Martin
Every year between Miss USA and Miss Teen USA the state pageant season kicks off in the Sunshine State! This year the state pageant finals are July 12.
Before we get on to the contestants I want to send my congratulations to Brittany Oldehoff for bringing Florida their first top five placement since 2006! Brittany was very much a fan favourite throughout her year as Miss Florida USA and represented her state with style.
You can see all the contestant headshots here. One thing I always notice with FL is they have a very high retention rate, with many returning contestants who have been runners-up, semi-finalists and non-finalists previously. This year there are 70 contestants, similar numbers to last year. There are no former Teens competing but this is truly a battle of the former runners-up with all four of last year’s back as well as one from 2012 and a number of past Teen runners-up too! There are also a couple of contestants who have competed in VA in the past and one from Massachusetts.
Girls to look out for (this is just their significant placements, for a full list hit “read more” at the end of this post):
Connor Boss - 4RU ‘13, 2RU FL Teen USA ‘12, other NF placements
Marissa Danish - 4RU ‘12 - barely recognised her with the long hair, what a transformation!
Elise Lobb - 4RU FL TUSA ‘13
Anh Do - 4RU FL TUSA ‘09
Christina Nicholson - 4RU VA TUSA ‘08
Rachel Stacy SF VA USA ‘14, SF VA USA ‘13 - should have made top 5 by now in my opinion ;)
Jessica Voigt - SF ‘14, looks to have improved hugely since then as well
Melissa Ziegler - newbie who caught my eye
Taisha-Monet Smellie - past Miss Bahamas Universe contestant
Brie Gabrielle, Linette De Los Santos, Kailyn Perez, Melissa Ramirez, Connor Boss, Marissa Danish, Elise Lobb, Anh Do, Christina Nicholson, Rachel Stacy, Jessica Voigt, Melissa Ziegler
This year the pageant will be hosted by Miss USA 2004 Susie Castillo and Miss USA 2004 Shandi Finnessy with assistance from Miss Florida USA 2010 Megan Clementi and Miss Florida USA 2014 Brittany Oldehoff which is exciting!
For the full list of contestants & past placements hit “read more”:
Two busy weeks of last-minute packing, fittings, charity events, meetings and prepping come to an end with tonight’s send-off for gorgeous 2014 Miss Nevada USA Nia Sanchez. After the Deuce Lounge party in Aria, she flies out this Memorial Day Weekend for Donald Trump’s Miss USA Pageant on June 8 and airing on NBC from Baton Rouge, La.
Nia will compete against 50 other young women after 10 days of rehearsals and filming on the Mississippi River and at southeast Louisiana landmarks before reigning Miss USA Erin Brady turns over her crown to the new winner.
Pageant experts have already predicted that Nia will make the Top 10 and could go into the Final Five. If Nia wins, she would then represent the USA in the Miss Universe Pageant. Our thanks to Georgina Vaughan, Fadil Berisha, Oscar Picazo and the Miss Universe Organization for their stunning photographs of Nia.
After several years of the pageant being hosted here at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, our sponsor hotels and convention authority decided to pull its financial support. It had been expected that The Donald would pick Miami Beach as the host city, but he selected Baton Rouge, the first time it has hosted Miss USA.
It’s believed from reports that Baton Rouge and Louisiana kicked in $350,000 to host the telecast in addition to waiving the arena rental and its costs.
SHESHEGWANING—It’s not everyday that your sister is Miss Indiana 2014, but a young boy in Sheshegwaning was able to conduct his interview for his cultural heritage festival project in front of his classmates.
Logan Sampson decided to do his project on his sister Mekayla Diehl of Elkhart, Indiana who in November of 2013 was crowned Miss Indiana 2014. Miss Diehl will be travelling to Baton Rouge, Louisiana on June 8 to compete in the Miss USA 2014 pageant. Everyone assembled in the school gym and Logan’s teacher, Mr. John Sapanos, recorded his interview so that it could be played as part of his project at Monday’s festival in M’Chigeeng.
Logan’s first question to Miss Indiana was, “Who is your role model?” Miss Indiana answered, “I have a lot of role models. My grandmother, who I live with in Indiana, she taught me to be very confident in myself and to always go after my dreams. I have another role model, her name is Miss America. She taught me to work hard for my dreams and be the best that I can be.”
Logan quickly asked his next question, “What got you interested in pageants?” With a big smile Mekayla responded, “When I was in elementary school, about the age of most of you here, I realized that I wanted to go to college or university. Someone introduced me to pageants because they give out scholarship money.”
Miss Indiana asked the kids, “Do you guys know what scholarship money is?” she then was happy to explain that, “Scholarship money is money that you can earn and or win so you can go away to school. I did pageants so that I could earn money to go away to university.”
Born and raised in Spokane, Allyson Rowe won the 2014 Miss Washington USA pageant last October with no prior pageantry experience. On June 8, she will compete for the title of Miss USA in Baton Rouge, La. An avid Zag fan, Rowe took time out of her busy schedule to talk with the Gonzaga Bulletin about her career, goals for the future, and advice for those struggling with body image issues.
Gonzaga Bulletin: What was it like growing up in Spokane?
Allyson Rowe: I loved growing up in Spokane. I actually moved to Phoenix, Ariz. few years ago and it gave me a deeper appreciation for Spokane and the Northwest. I grew up in the Valley loved my neighborhood. It was always safe. My family would always go to Lake Coeur d’Alene, and I just loved playing outside and being outside.
GB: You listed basketball as your favorite sport on the Miss USA page. Did you ever play growing up?
AR: I did. I played basketball all the way through elementary, junior high and then part of high school. Then music became really my main focus, but basketball and music were always my two loves.
And I’m a huge Zags fan and I get the question all the time, “So are you UW or are you Wazzu?” and I always say, “Neither. I’m a Gonzaga girl.”
After battling numerous stomach diseases in her young adult life, Jordan Wessel decided to participate in a swimsuit competition that would open her eyes to the world of fitness contests, beauty pageants and modeling. For about two years, she battled stomach problems that no doctor she visited could solve. Even when she was put on multiple medications, she was still not cured. “I started researching fitness and nutrition and eventually cured myself naturally,” Jordan Wessel, Miss Arizona USA 2014 contestant said. “I experimented with myself and I started to feel a lot better.” Once she cured herself, she decided to make a list of activities that she wanted to accomplish. “The first thing I wanted to overcome was my self confidence issues,” Wessel said. “I was always a heavier kid and I wanted to step outside the box and so I decided to compete in a fitness competition.”
It would be nice to win Miss USA 2014, but one of Filipino-Dutch model Candace Kendall’s biggest dreams is to one day work for Donald Trump. The reigning Miss New York USA said that with her degree in accounting and finance and her passion for beauty pageants, she would love to run the Trump-owned Miss Universe Organization, manage its operations, and make sure it stays in the black. “I hope to become the next CFO of the Miss Universe Organization,” she told The FilAm in an interview in Chelsea. Candace, 25, will be representing New York State in the Miss USA contest on June 8 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Winning Miss USA will usher her into the largest pageant in the world, the Miss Universe.
Kadie Latimer didn’t set out to be Miss Montana USA; that’s just how it turned out when she decided to try something new.
Latimer, 23, was spending her time last year working as a model and going to school at Flathead Valley Community College, when one of her bosses at the Rocky Mountain Entertainment Agency suggested that she look into pageants.
"Doing pageants wasn’t my thing," Latimer said in an interview last week.
But when it was explained that pageant work can boost a resume and that training for a pageant could help with some of the shyness Latimer comes by naturally, she decided to go for it.
Starting in February 2013, Latimer started training. That following October, she competed in the Miss Montana USA pageant in Missoula, and in what she considered a surprising result, she won.
"It was my first pageant, and it ended up going pretty well," Latimer said.
With that win, Latimer is headed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for the Miss USA pageant, which will be televised on NBC on June 8. It’s a major accomplishment for Latimer, who two years ago hadn’t thought she’d be on the national and international stage.
Olivia Olvera, talks on cell phone with her manager. Olvera’s parents turn their dining room into a COMMAND POST so Olivia can get ready for the Miss USA competition.
"The sun shines on an easygoing Friday in downtown Fayetteville. Amid the banter of nearby diners and the sound of the occasional passing train, Olivia Olvera shares a little bit about herself. She’s been doing a lot of that lately. “It’s funny because I’ve always been a wallflower, just kind of sit and observe, and I’ve never really enjoyed talking about myself,” Olvera said. “So this has been a really cool experience in that aspect. It’s made me come out of my shell more.” The experience she’s referring to is serving as Miss North Carolina USA 2014. Olvera, who is 26, won the title in November at the state competition in High Point. On June 8, she will represent the state in the televised Miss USA pageant, which is produced by Donald Trump.”