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Journalist who is reigning Miss Kentucky wins 2021 Miss USA pageant

A journalist who has dreamed about becoming a pageant queen since high school has won the Miss USA title.

Miss Kentucky Elle Smith said she had wanted to compete in pageants since as a 15-year-old she saw a girl from her high school win a local teen title.

And in a stunning display on Monday night, she took the crown at the national contest held in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The University of Kentucky graduate will now go on to represent the USA in the Miss Universe pageant set to be held in Israel in December.

The win comes after a long wait for Smith, who said she had put off applying for contests until she had her ‘big girl job’ as a news reporter so that she could afford it. 

Broadcast journalist Elle Smith, who has dreamed about becoming a pageant queen since she was just 15 years old, has won the Miss USA title at Monday night's pageant in Tulsa, Oklahoma (pictured)

Broadcast journalist Elle Smith, who has dreamed about becoming a pageant queen since she was just 15 years old, has won the Miss USA title at Monday night’s pageant in Tulsa, Oklahoma (pictured)

The University of Kentucky graduate will now go on to represent the USA in the Miss Universe pageant set to be held in Israel in December

The University of Kentucky graduate will now go on to represent the USA in the Miss Universe pageant set to be held in Israel in December

Smith graduated from UKY last year where she majored in Broadcast Journalism.

She has since been working as a news reporter for Louisville’s WHAS11 station, with her colleagues sending her congratulations on the title win. 

Last week she spoke to colleague Hayley Minogue about the contest, revealing that it had been a dream for her since high school.

‘I’ve been thinking about it since I was 15 when I girl from my high school won the teen title and she was everything to me,’ Smith said.

‘She was smart, she was beautiful, she was involved in everything from cross country to band and musicals. So I wanted to be exactly like her.

‘But I waited until I had my “big girl” job because that’s when I could afford it, so I waited.’

Smith, who competed with 50 girls from across the nation, put her hands over her mouth to hide her shock as she won the Miss USA crown as the pageant celebrated its 70th year.

'I’ve been thinking about it since I was 15 when I girl from my high school won the teen title and she was everything to me,' Smith told colleagues at WHAS 11 in Louisville

‘I’ve been thinking about it since I was 15 when I girl from my high school won the teen title and she was everything to me,’ Smith told colleagues at WHAS 11 in Louisville

Smith explained that she had waited until she had got her 'big girl' job as a news reporter before attempting to compete in pageants

Smith explained that she had waited until she had got her ‘big girl’ job as a news reporter before attempting to compete in pageants 

Smith, who competed with 50 girls from across the nation, put her hands over her mouth to hide her shock as she won the Miss USA crown as the pageant celebrated its 70th year

Smith, who competed with 50 girls from across the nation, put her hands over her mouth to hide her shock as she won the Miss USA crown as the pageant celebrated its 70th year

She not only stood out during the swimsuit and evening gown competition, but received a roar of applause from the audience when she explained how businesses can be more environmentally conscious. 

ABC-affiliate station WHAS11 shared congratulations following Smith’s win last night in a post, writing: ‘WOW!!! This is quite the accomplishment!! Our Elle Smith is your new MISS USA!’

Smith is the second Miss Kentucky winner to go on and take the Miss USA title. Tara Conner won the crown in 2006. 

Smith will now represent the US in the Miss Universe pageant on December 12 in the Red Sea resort of Eilat, Israel.

ABC-affiliate station WHAS11 shared congratulations following Smith's win last night in a post, writing: 'WOW!!! This is quite the accomplishment!! Our Elle Smith is your new MISS USA!'. Pictured: Smith wearing her Miss Kentucky USA sash

ABC-affiliate station WHAS11 shared congratulations following Smith’s win last night in a post, writing: ‘WOW!!! This is quite the accomplishment!! Our Elle Smith is your new MISS USA!’. Pictured: Smith wearing her Miss Kentucky USA sash

Last week Smith gave an interview to colleague Hayley Minogue (pictured together) about the contest, revealing that it had been a dream for her since high school

Last week Smith gave an interview to colleague Hayley Minogue (pictured together) about the contest, revealing that it had been a dream for her since high school

Israel’s Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov has said the pageant will go ahead despite the imposing travel restrictions to try to stave off the Omicron coronavirus variant.

On Saturday the country announced it would ban foreigners from entering the country, lengthen quarantines for citizens and residents returning from abroad and reinstate controversial cellphone surveillance designed to track infections.

However, Razvozov on Sunday said that Miss Universe participants would be granted waivers while possibly undergoing PCR testing every 48 hours and other precautionary measures.

‘This is an event that will be broadcast in 174 countries, a very important event, an event that Eilat, too, is very much in need of,’ he told reporters before the weekly cabinet meeting.

‘We will know how to manage this event. So, by using the waivers committee, we will have events like this, to which the country already committed itself and cannot cancel.’ 


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