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Miss USA 2008 takes the reins at Miss USA Organization

Crystle Stewart has made major strides since being crowned Miss USA in 2008 and long proven that she is more than a pretty face. In a span of a little over a decade, the Missouri City-native has gone on to establish a successful career as an actress, model, entrepreneur, and now, the president and national director of the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants.

Stewart recently announced her new role in an interview with Good Morning America. The historic move marks the first time an African-American woman or person of color has served in that role in the pageant system’s 68-year history. “I am ecstatic about my new role as the president and national director of the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants and look forward to showing the common American household the power of pageantry,” shared Stewart.

Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart said Stewart exemplifies the best qualities in a Miss USA.


Working on the deal for more than a year in conjunction with the Miss Universe Organization, according to an Instagram post by Paula Shugart, president of the organization, Stewart acquired the licensing for both pageants last summer. She was able to informally announce her new role to pageant directors at the close of the 2020 Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageant competition.

Since its founding in 1952, Miss Universe and Miss USA have always been run by the Miss Universe Organization. For the first time, the two have separated management, a report noted. “In this political climate, the racial injustice, I hope being this African American for this national company inspires and influences women like myself of different colors and races, and also men as well, to pursue your dreams without fault and with confidence and go for it and reach higher and larger,” Stewart said.

The multi-faceted Stewart describes her vision for the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants as #pageantry re-imagined. She is poised to take pageantry in a new direction that provides a “platform where young women can amplify their voice, show off their healthy lifestyle, and learn life skills all while strutting in a fabulous evening gown and high heels.”

The former titleholder, actress and entrepreneur said she will work assiduously to boost the brand, saying it would be like “UFC times America’s Next Top Model times the presidential elections. That’d be the new Miss USA.”

Her family celebrates her newest venture, including her mother, Cynthia Stewart, who commends her daughter’s tireless work. “This journey keeps getting miraculously incredible. God is definitely ordering Crystle’s steps and I thank him daily,” said the retired school administrator.

No stranger to making historic moves, Stewart assumed leadership of the Miss Houston USA pageant in 2018 upon relocating from Los Angeles after appearing in Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse, Close to Home and later making her big screen debut in a lead role in Acrimony. The talented actress received a star on the Walk of Fame at Perry’s Atlanta-based film studio in 2019.

Stewart’s enterprising spirit also led to the launch with her husband Max Sebrechts of MISS Academy, a training ground for young women and teens seeking to compete in pageants, or enhance their self-confidence and poise which align with her goals to empower and inspire young women through the power of pageantry.

Stewart never imagined that she would one day own the license of the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageant and play a leadership role in the pageant system that she competed in, and is excited to “showcase the beauty, intelligence, and fierceness of today’s generation of American young women” as she executes her vision and transforms pageantry for a new generation.


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