Former Miss USA Crystle Stewart Named The First Person Ever To Hold Licensing Rights To Miss USA And Miss Teen USA
In a moment of both crowning glory and Black girl magic, Stewart's new role will see 'pageantry re-imagined.'
December 31, 2020 at 1:17 am
After committing itself this summer “to real and substantive change in the hopes of creating a world where” Black lives matter, Miss Universe Organization has chosen former Miss USA 2008 Crystle Stewart to take over an unprecedented leadership role as the national director for the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageant system.
Officials with the pageant organization announced that it is licensing both pageants to Stewart, making her the first person to ever hold the licensing rights to Miss USA and Miss Teen USA, according to Good Morning America.
“I’m so thrilled, and I’m so excited for the new things and the new ideas that I want to bring to the Miss USA pageant system,” Stewart said in an interview with GMA. "Miss USA will be pageantry re-imagined."
As Blavity previously reported, Cheslie Kryst’s competition victory for the title of Miss USA in April marked the first time in history Miss America, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA crowns were all held by Black women. This trifecta sparked a new wave of support for Black women in pageantry.
Following her own title win as Miss USA 2008, Stewart launched an acting career, starring in sitcoms and movies like Tyler Perry’s Acrimony. In 2017, Stewart founded the MISS Academy, a pageantry school for young women in Houston.
“Confidence is the main thing we’re selling—feeling good from the inside out. It’s about good character, how to be a productive citizen, and the resources and tools to pursue what they want to pursue in life,” she told Houstonia Magazine about the school.
Miss Universe president Paula Shugart said Stewart will bring a fresh perspective to the organization's leadership and has been a strong advocate to young women everywhere. Shugart confirmed that the deal was finalized this summer after negotiations lasted over a year.
"Crystle is the first to say being Miss USA changed the course of her life forever,” Shugart said. “She is dedicated to bringing the benefits of [the] brand to young women everywhere.”
The 39-year-old said she hopes to draw on her experience as both a former title winner and as the director of the Miss Houston pageant in her new role.
“I’ve been a part of every aspect of the pageant industry,” Stewart told GMA "And now being in this leadership role for Miss USA, I’ll take those things and put it at the forefront."
The For Better or Worse actress said she aspires to influence “women like myself” to chase their dreams “without fault and with confidence, go for it and reach higher."
Stewart’s vision moving forward is to restructure the Miss USA system, making it “more uniform” organizationally. She said she wants to concentrate efforts on how the organization can build up women and help them gain self-confidence while ensuring that women of color have opportunities to attain their career aspirations.
Stewart’s dedication to growing the pageant system won’t jeopardize her excitement for the “glitz and glam,” she told GMA.
“Think of UFC times 'America’s Next Top Model' times the presidential election, that’ll be the new Miss USA,” Stewart added.
According to GMA, the first pageants helmed by Stewart will be the Miss USA 2021 event, followed by the Miss Teen USA 2021.