Miss USA 2021
DateNovember 29, 2021
EntertainmentJa Rule
VenueParadise Cove Theater, River Spirit Casino Resort, Tulsa, Oklahoma
WinnerElle Smith
CongenialityTaylor Hale, Michigan
Best State CostumeElizabeth Pistole, Tennessee
PhotogenicSydney Robertson, Pennsylvania
← 2020
2022 →

Miss USA 2021 was the 70th Miss USA pageant, held at the Paradise Cove Theater of River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma on 29 November 2021. The edition marked the first year of the competition under Crystle Stewart's directorship.[1]

At the end of the event, Asya Branch of Mississippi crowned Elle Smith of Kentucky as Miss USA 2021.[2] This was Kentucky's first title in fifteen years. Smith is also the third consecutive African-American to win the title, and the fifth one in six years.[3] Smith went on to represent the United States at the Miss Universe 2021 pageant, placing in the top ten. The scheduling for the succeeding year's pageant that Smith would serve the pageant for ten months and four days as one of the shortest reigning titleholders in the pageant.[4]

The competition was hosted by Zuri Hall and Patrick Ta, while Nicole Adamo served as a lounge host.[5] American rapper Ja Rule performed in this edition. This was the second consecutive year that the pageant was broadcast on FYI, and the first to be streamed live on Hulu.


On December 31, 2020, it was announced on Good Morning America that Miss USA and Miss Teen USA would be split from the Miss Universe Organization into a new organization under the helm of Crystle Stewart. Stewart had previously been crowned Miss USA 2008.[1]


Tulsa, Oklahoma, the host city of Miss USA 2021.

On April 20, 2021, it was confirmed by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation that the 2021 edition of Miss USA and Miss Teen USA would be held at the Paradise Cove Theater of River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The competition spanned four days, beginning on November 26 and concluding on November 29, 2021. The event reverted to its full spectator capacity after the previous event was downsized to 300 spectators as a precaution to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.[6][7]

Impact of the COVID-19 on state pageants

See also: COVID-19 pandemic in the United States

The COVID-19 pandemic affected the schedule of Miss USA 2020, postponing it from spring 2020 to November 2020. Each state organization had initially planned to schedule their 2021 pageants for the fall 2020 and winter 2020–21, the typical timeframe for state pageants dating back to the 1970s. However, most state pageants were later rescheduled to spring and summer 2021 to avoid scheduling conflicts with Miss America 2022 state pageants typically took place in most of June 2021, and were further extended to late summer and early fall due to the concerns over the possibility onto the threats of COVID-19 resurgence.[8]

Due to restrictions implemented in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, numerous health and safety guidelines have been implemented for contestants, production members, and audiences at state pageants, such as taking a negative COVID-19 test and following social distancing. Additionally, a number of state pageants have had to alter their initial venue choices due to shut-downs implemented by their governor; either held behind closed doors such as Alaska and Hawaii, with only the contestants and staff were present; most state pageants had limited audition capacity with applying social distancing measures, or some with full capacity.[9][10][11][12][13]

Selection of contestants

Delegates from the fifty states and District of Columbia were selected in state pageants which began in September 2020. The first state pageants were Idaho and Montana, held together on their original dates of September 27, 2020, and the last state pageant was California, held on September 12, 2021, 350 days after the start of the 2021 pageant season, became the longest in the Miss USA history.

Eleven delegates previously competed in Miss Teen USA and Miss America, in which eight delegates are former Miss Teen USA state winners and three are former Miss America state winners. Kataluna Enriquez, Miss Nevada USA 2021, became the first openly transgender woman to compete in Miss USA.[14]


Miss USA 2021 results map, colors shaded in each state


Placement Contestant
Miss USA 2021
1st runner-up
2nd runner-up
3rd runner-up
Top 8
Top 16

§ – Voted into top 16 through the online vote

Special awards

Award Contestant
Best State Costume Winner
Second Place
Third Place
Miss Congeniality
Miss Photogenic


After the last year's event was impacted by the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, events such as pre-pageant activities and press briefings from pageant commentators were returned across Tulsa.[18]

Preliminary competition

Prior to the final competition, the delegates competed the preliminary competition, where they competed in swim wear and evening gown. It was held on November 26 at River Spirit Casino Resort hosted by Nicole Adamo and Asya Branch.[19]


As was the case the prior edition, 16 contestants were chosen to advance to the semifinals; 15 of the semifinalists were chosen by the preliminary judges, while one was chosen through the online fan vote. The Top 16 then competed in both swimsuit and evening gown, before eight were chosen to advance. The Top 8 participated in a group discussion round conducted in two groups of four, and afterwards answered their final questions from the judges. The winner and her runners-up were announced afterwards.[20]





Fifty-one contestants competed for the title.[29][30]

State Contestant Age[a] Hometown Notes
Alabama Alexandria Flanigan[31] 25 Cullman
Alaska Madison Lea Edwards[32] 25 Anchorage
Arizona Cassidy Jo Jacks[33] 27 Mesa Later contestant on season 1 of Farmer Wants a Wife
Arkansas Stephanie Barber[34] 23 Fayetteville
California Sabrina Lewis[35] 24 Berkeley Later Miss California 2023
Colorado Olivia Lorenzo 20 Fort Collins
Connecticut Amanda Torchia[36] 25 Middlebury
Delaware Drew Sanclemente 25 Odessa
District of Columbia Sasha Perea 28 Washington, D.C.
Florida Ashley Ann Cariño Barreto[37] 27 Kissimmee Later Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2022[38]
Georgia Cora Griffen[39] 25 Columbus
Hawaii Allison Chu[40] 27 Honolulu Previously Miss Hawaii 2016[41]
Sister of Julianne Chu, Miss Hawaii USA 2018
Idaho Katarina Schweitzer[42] 27 Boise
Illinois Sydni Bennett[43] 20 Algonquin Previously Miss Illinois Teen USA 2018[44]
Indiana A'Niyah Birdsong[45] 26 Anderson
Iowa Katie Wadman[46] 21 Iowa City
Kansas Gracie Hunt[47] 22 Overland Park Daughter of Clark Hunt and Tavia Shackles, Miss Kansas USA 1993, and granddaughter of Lamar Hunt[48]
Kentucky Elle Smith[49] 23 Louisville
Louisiana Tanya Crowe[50] 28 Amite City Professional cheerleader for the New Orleans Saintsations
Maine VeronicaIris Bates[51] 21 Portland Active member of the United States Air Force[51]
Maryland Layilah Nasser[52] 26 Montgomery Village
Massachusetts Sarah DeSouza[53] 25 Dracut
Michigan Taylor Mackenzie Hale[54] 26 Detroit Later winner of Big Brother 24 and America's Favorite Houseguest[55]
Minnesota Katarina Spasojevic[56] 20 Minnetonka
Mississippi Bailey Anderson[57] 22 Hurley
Missouri Joye Forrest[58] 26 Spanish Lake Former professional cheerleader for the Los Angeles Laker Girls
Montana Jami Forseth[59] 24 Huntley Previously Miss Montana Teen USA 2016[60]
Nebraska Erika Etzelmiller[61] 24 Lincoln Previously Miss Nebraska Teen USA 2016
Nevada Kataluna Patricia Enriquez[14] 27 Las Vegas First openly transgender woman to compete at Miss USA[14]
New Hampshire Taylor Fogg 26 Newbury
New Jersey Celinda Ortega 26 Fair Lawn
New Mexico Christa Schafer 26 Las Cruces
New York Briana Siaca[62] 27 Brentwood
North Carolina Madison Bryant[63] 24 Fayetteville
North Dakota Caitlyn Vogel[64] 21 Minot Previously Miss North Dakota Teen USA 2019[65]
Ohio Nicole Wess[66] 23 Cincinnati
Oklahoma Albreuna Dominique Gonzaque 28 Oklahoma City
Oregon Allison Cook[67] 27 Portland Previously Miss Oregon 2013[68]
Pennsylvania Sydney Robertson[69] 24 Williamsport Previously Miss Pennsylvania Teen USA 2014
Rhode Island Karly Laliberte 27 Pawtucket
South Carolina Marley Stokes[70] 24 Lexington Previously Miss South Carolina Teen USA 2016[71]
South Dakota Caroline Pettey[72] 27 Rapid City
Tennessee Elizabeth Pistole[73] 21 Franklin
Texas Victoria Hinojosa[74] 22 McAllen Granddaughter of U.S. Representative Rubén Hinojosa
Utah JessiKate Riley 25 Beaver Previously Miss Utah's Outstanding Teen 2014[75]
Previously Miss Utah 2017[76]
Vermont Joanna Nagle[77] 27 Colchester
Virginia Christina Thompson[78] 25 Leesburg Previously Miss New Jersey Teen USA 2013
Daughter of Hallie Bonnell, Miss Ohio USA 1987
Washington Christine Brodie[79] 26 Seattle
West Virginia Alexis Bland[80] 22 Parkersburg
Wisconsin Samantha Keaton[81] 20 Milwaukee
Wyoming Mackenzie Kern[82] 21 Casper Previously Miss Wyoming Teen USA 2018[83]

Later Miss Wyoming 2023


  1. ^ Ages at the time of the pageant


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