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Miss America: Where are they now?

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There she was, Misssss Ameriiica—but then where did she go? With the 2010 Miss America Pageant airing this Saturday on TLC, we thought we’d take a look back at some of yesteryear’s pageant queens—not to mention their post-pageant TV endeavors. How was life after they wore the crown?

Elizabeth Gracen (nee Ward)

Crowned Miss America: 1982
Then what: Where to begin with Elizabeth Gracen? Kudos to her for using her Miss America winnings to pay for acting lessons. Her television work (Highlander, anyone?) is good fun, but she’s most infamous for claiming to have slept with former president Bill Clinton. The following clip comes from the short-lived Queen of Swords series, and, well, it speaks for itself.



Vanessa Williams

Crowned Miss America: 1984
Then what: Arguably the most famous Miss America winner, Williams was stripped of her title after nude modeling photos with a (let’s be honest) hot lesbian theme surfaced. No quitter, Williams has achieved plenty of success through acting and singing. She currently stars as HBIC Wilhelmina Slater on Ugly Betty.



Gretchen Carlson

Crowned Miss America: 1989
Then what: An anchor on Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends, Carlson is a frequent target of Jon Stewart, who has accused Carlson of dumbing herself down. She is, after all, an accomplished violinist, the first to use that talent to win the Miss America title. In this "Moment of Zen" clip from The Daily Show, she looks up the word "ignoramus."



Debbye Turner

Crowned Miss America: 1990
Then what: Lots of Miss America contestants play instruments, but Turner is probably the only to have ever performed “Flight of the Bumblebee” on the marimba. And things have only improved for her since then: like Carlson, Turner is a news correspondent—she appears on several CBS news shows. In this clip, Turner gets peed on by an incontinent beaver. Yes, really.



Leanza Cornett

Crowned Miss America: 1993
Then what: Here’s the thing about Cornett: She’s kind of awesome. The first beauty queen to pick AIDS prevention as the theme of her year of service, Cornett has also enjoyed a fair amount of acting success. Her acting credits include parts on The O.C., Dark Skies, and Melrose Place! And Weeds! She’s covered dog shows for Animal Planet! She was the first live-action Ariel in the Disney theme park Little Mermaid show! And none of this stuff’s online, apparently! So here’s Cornett talking about how to pick the right cell phone plan. Sorry.



NEXT: Political commentary, America's Most Wanted and The Amazing Race

There she was, Misssss Ameriiica—but then where did she go? With the 2010 Miss America Pageant airing this Saturday on TLC, we thought we’d take a look back at some of yesteryear’s pageant queens—not to mention their post-pageant TV endeavors. How was life after they wore the crown?

Angela Perez Baraquio Grey

Crowned Miss America: 2001
Then what: Grey (Baraquio at the time) said she wanted to become a motivational speaker. I’m not sure this counts, but she has found her way onto many conservative talk shows to discuss her strong political beliefs. When Miss New Jersey was being blackmailed, Grey appeared on Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes to offer her expert opinion. Note that they misspelled her name.



Katie Harman

Crowned Miss America: 2002
Then what: With a stated ambition of working for a healthcare organization, it’s a little surprising that Harman pursued musical theater. She also released her own “semi-classical” album, “Soul of Love,” in 2007 and, apparently, has a good sense of humor: Watch her get manhandled by comics in a guest appearance on Whose Line Is It Anyway?



Ericka Dunlap

Crowned Miss America: 2004
Then what: Back when she was vying for the title, Dunlap planned on practicing sports and entertainment law. Since winning, she’s done anything but. Dunlap is notable for being the first African American Miss Florida and for her budding country music career, but reality TV fans will remember her from her stint on The Amazing Race. In this clip, she sheds some tears after repeatedly failing to count the bells.



Lauren Nelson

Crowned Miss America: 2007
Then what: Like so many of her fellow contestants, Nelson said she wanted to be a Broadway performer. She hasn’t succeeded (yet), but she has managed to make a few sizable flubs on national TV. First, she worked with America's Most Wanted to help catch child predators—then jeopardized the prosecution by initially refusing to testify. Almost as bad was her appearance on Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? She wasn’t, and we warn you: This is hard to watch.



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