Ellen Elizabeth “Elle” Smith of Kentucky was crowned Miss USA 2021 during the competition, held on November 29 at the River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Okla. The 23-year-old beauty queen succeeds Miss USA 2020 Asya Branch. This December, Smith will compete in the Miss Universe pageant in Israel. Andrea Meza currently holds the title of Miss Universe.
During the Miss USA question and answer round, Smith revealed that her “most important core value” was honesty. She also spoke on sustainability and encouraging businesses to be more environmentally conscious. “We’ve got to look at it from a macro and also a micro level,” Smith said. “So at the macro level, companies need to switch to green energy — I think that’s something we can all agree on. But then, at the micro level, we all know how to reduce, reuse, and recycle, and those are all things we can implement in our daily life,” she added.
Smith may seem like a seasoned pro, but she actually competed in her very first pageant just six months ago. She works full-time as a reporter at WHAS11 News an ABC affiliate in Louisville, Kentuckyand said being a journalist is “a role I take very seriously.“Smith graduated in May 2020 from the University of Kentucky with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Political Science. Smith served as vice-president of the school’s National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) chapter.
Smith also participated in musical theater for 10 years and plays both the viola and piano. In her spare time, she advocates for cervical cancer awareness and prevention to honor her late grandmother.
Miss North Dakota Caitlyn Vogel was named the runner-up, followed by Miss Florida Ashley Carino and Miss Illinois Sydni Bennett.