The trio have made history as it’s the first time the titles have been held by Black women at the same time
For the first time ever, Miss America, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA are all Black women.
Attorney Chelsie Kryst, 28, was crowned Miss USA on May 2, Kaliegh Garris, 18, won Miss Teen USA in April and opera singer Nia Franklin, 25, won the Miss America title in September 2018.
The landmark moment of three Black women holding the major pageant titles simultaneously has been heralded as a symbol of how far pageants have come.
Black women were historically prohibited from participating in beauty pageants and in 1968, the first Miss Black America pageant was held in response to the racist exclusion of Black women in mainstream pageants.
“Mine is the first generation to have that forward-looking mindset that has inclusivity, diversity, strength and empowered women,” Kryst said during her acceptance speech.
Two of the winners, Garris and Kryst were crowned while wearing their natural hair, something that generated praise from supporters.
“Being able to spread the message of diversity, being yourself, and being confident in your curly, natural hair is something that I’m really looking forward to with my new national title,” Garris told Refinery 29.
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“This morning was unbelievable!!! Nia, Kaliegh, and I had the privilege of being interviewed on @cbsthismorning by @gayleking, @norahodonnell, and @jdickerson. We talked hair, pageants, and the impact of our respective wins. Still reeling over how exciting this experience has been and I haven’t even been Miss USA for a week yet!!!” – #MissUSA @CheslieKryst
Vanessa Williams became the first Black woman to be crowned Miss America in 1984. Her success was followed by that of Carole Anne-Marie Gist, who took home the Miss USA crown in 1990, the first Black woman to do so. A year later, Janel Bishop became the first Black winner of Miss Teen USA.
Since Williams, Gist and Bishop, each pageant has seen a number of Black women win but never all at the same time.
High profile figures from the worlds of politics and entertainment are among those who have expressed their support for the women’s historic victory.
Halle Berry wrote on Twitter: “As a past beauty pageant contestant myself, this news fills my heart with so much joy. Congrats to @MissUSA #CheslieKryst, Miss Teen USA #KalieghGarris, and @MissAmerica #NiaFranklin. You are ALL deeply inspiring, and I am thrilled to celebrate you!!”
2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris tweeted: “Nia, Cheslie, and Kaliegh: you are trailblazers, creating your own path on your own terms. Congratulations.”
This article originally appeared in The Voice.