Miss USA has crowned Miss Kentucky the winner of this year’s beauty pageant.
Elle Smith, a broadcast news reporter for WHAS-TV in Louisville, took home the title of Miss USA 2021 at the annual pageant Monday night, November 29, at the River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Prior to the pageant, the 23-year-old reflected on her journey from a Miss USA viewer to a competitor.
“A little over a year ago, I sat in bed and watched Miss USA,” she wrote in a Nov. 14 Instagram post. “I remember watching (Miss New York Andreia Gibau), (Miss Ohio Sthephanie Marie Miranda), (Miss Louisiana Mariah Clayton) and so many more incredible women grace the stage, and thinking, ‘I want to be on that stage. I want to be like them.’ Crazy to think this is my official Miss USA headshot and I made that dream reality.”
Smith graduated in 2020 from the University of Kentucky, where she studied broadcast journalism with a minor in political science, served as vice president of the school’s National Association of Black Journalists chapter, and worked as a summer Fox News College Associate in the Washington, D.C. bureau, according to her WHAS-TV bio.
She will go on to represent the U.S. at the 2021 Miss Universe pageant, scheduled for Dec. 12 in Eilat, Israel.
Steve Harvey will once again return as host. The three-hour event will broadcast live on Fox in the U.S. and also in 180 countries and territories across the globe. It will end with the current Miss Universe, Mexico’s Andrea Meza, crowning her successor.