All Hail the Queen: 8 Black Women Who Won Miss USA

We salute these beautiful trailblazers.

Salute to Our Queens - As we celebrate Black history this February, we honor our accomplishments, our impact and all the times that we shined in traditionally white spaces. One of those spaces includes the world of beauty pageants. So to honor our queens, here are the women who paved the way for our future pageant girls. By Kellee Terrell(Photos from left: MISS UNIVERSE,INC./AFP/Getty Images, George Rose/Getty Images, Joel Ginsburg/WENN.com)

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Salute to Our Queens - As we celebrate Black history this February, we honor our accomplishments, our impact and all the times that we shined in traditionally white spaces. One of those spaces includes the world of beauty pageants. So to honor our queens, here are the women who paved the way for our future pageant girls. By Kellee Terrell(Photos from left: MISS UNIVERSE,INC./AFP/Getty Images, George Rose/Getty Images, Joel Ginsburg/WENN.com)

Nana Meriwether (2012) - Born in South Africa, this former Ms. Maryland is more than just a pretty face. The six-foot stunner was also the captain of UCLA?s volleyball team. She graduated with high honors, studying political science and pre-med. Since being crowned Miss USA in 2012, Meriwether has done work with HIV awareness and orphans and is considering a career in either medicine or law. Go, girl! (Photo: Joel Ginsburg/WENN)

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Nana Meriwether (2012) - Born in South Africa, this former Ms. Maryland is more than just a pretty face. The six-foot stunner was also the captain of UCLA’s volleyball team. She graduated with high honors, studying political science and pre-med. Since being crowned Miss USA in 2012, Meriwether has done work with HIV awareness and orphans and is considering a career in either medicine or law. Go, girl! (Photo: Joel Ginsburg/WENN)

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Crystle Stewart (2008) - You might remember this Texas native from television, as she has appeared in Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse. But before that, she was strutting her stuff on the runway as Ms. Texas and winning the Miss USA crown in 2008. Since then, Stewart has modeled and served as the MC for the Miss Teen USA competitions in 2009 and 2010.(Photo: Denise Truscello/WireImage)

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Rachel Smith (2007) - Born in Panama, the former Miss Tennessee and Teen Tennessee graduated from college with a degree in journalism, having interned for Oprah’s HARPO. After her reign as Miss USA, she became an on-air personality, covering red carpet events and pop culture for E! and ABC News.(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

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Shauntay Hinton (2002) - This Howard grad and former Miss Washington, D.C., is one heck of a fundraiser. During her reign as Miss USA, she helped raised millions for numerous organizations including Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Miriam's Kitchen, Gilda's House, the USO and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Over the years, the broadcast journalism major has also been a talking head on HLN.(Photo: Jose Jimenez/La Primera Hora/Getty Images)

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Lynnette Cole (2000) - Another former Miss Tennessee, Cole went from soap star in the CBS soap As the World Turns to global education director for P?r Minerals in the 15 years since giving up her crown. Having been adopted, serving on the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute in Washington has been a main priority of hers as well. (Photo: STR New / Reuters)

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Lynnette Cole (2000) - Another former Miss Tennessee, Cole went from soap star in the CBS soap As the World Turns to global education director for Pür Minerals in the 15 years since giving up her crown. Having been adopted, serving on the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute in Washington has been a main priority of hers as well. (Photo: STR New / Reuters)

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Chelsi Smith (1995) - Not only was she Miss USA, but she also won the Miss Universe contest in 1995, being the first American in 15 years to have won that crown. The former Miss Texas has modeled for Hawaiian Tropic, Janzten and Venus Swimwear, has acted in independent films and has written songs for numerous film soundtracks. That’s how you diversify your profile.(Photo: PHILIP LITTLETON/AFP/Getty Images)

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Kenya Moore (1993) - While many of you may know her from her shenanigans on Real Housewives of Atlanta, the reality star first got famous for winning the Miss USA title in 1993. From there, the former Miss Michigan has acted in dozens of ‘90s television shows such as Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Smart Guy and The Parkers. She was also a contestant in Celebrity Apprentice last year, being her most dramatic self.(Photo: MISS UNIVERSE,INC./AFP/Getty Images)

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Carole Gist (1990) - The former Miss Michigan was the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss USA in its history. There was controversy surrounding her reign as she sued Miss USA Organization for fraud for $20 million, but dropped her lawsuit. Later in life, Gist hosted a show on the WORD gospel network.  (Photo: George Rose/Getty Images)