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12 Times Pageant History was Made in 2017

04, January 2018
It's hard to believe that 2018 is already here! This past year, pageantry history was being made left and right. Although there were many instances of this, I've narrowed it down to 12 monumental moments.

12 Times Pageant History was Made in 2017

1. District of Columbia takes home the Miss USA crown two years in a row When Kára McCullough was crowned Miss USA 2017, it marked the second year in a row that District of Columbia has taken home the Miss USA crown. Deshauna Barber won the title in 2016 while representing our country's capital and then passed the crown along to McCullough. This is the first time that District of Columbia has had back-to-back wins at Miss USA! Do you think we'll be seeing this again in 2018? (Read: Miss USA 2017 is Miss District of Columbia!)

Miss USA 2017 Kára McCullough's Crowning Moment. Photo: Miss Universe Organization Miss USA 2017 Kára McCullough's Crowning Moment. Photo: Miss Universe Organization

2. Miss Universe Cambodia competes at Miss Universe 2017 for the first time  Until 2017, Cambodia has never sent a representative to the Miss Universe pageant. By Sotheary, a 19-year-old high school student, changed that when she was crowned Miss Cambodia Universe 2016.  Although she did not place at Miss Universe, Sotheary made history as the first woman to represent Cambodia on the Miss Universe stage. (Read: First-Ever Miss Universe Cambodia to Compete in Miss Universe 2017)

By Sotheary, Miss Cambodia Universe 2017. Photo: Miss Cambodia Organization By Sotheary, Miss Cambodia Universe 2017. Photo: Miss Cambodia Organization

3. First openly transgender contestant competes at Miss Montana USA  The year 2017 was a great year in terms of diversity in pageantry. This year, Anita Green became the first openly transgender woman to compete for the title of Miss Montana USA. Only one other openly transgender woman has competed in the Miss Universe pageant system, which was when Kylan Ariana Wenzel competed at Miss California USA in 2013. With Green being the first to do so in her state, this may mark an even more diverse set of contestants at future pageants. (Read: First Openly Transgender Contestant to Compete in Miss Montana USA)

Anita Green's Headshot. Photo: Miss Montana USA Anita Green. Photo: Miss Montana USA

4. Miss North Dakota 2017, Cara Mund, is crowned Miss America 2018 When Cara Mund was crowned Miss America 2018, she brought the Miss America crown to North Dakota for the first time. Prior to Mund winning the crown, only three contestants from North Dakota had made it past the Top 10 at Miss America. In the words of Mund herself, "It just proves that it doesn't matter where you come from geographically. If you have the ability to do it and you dream it, you can do it." (Read: Miss America 2018 is Miss North Dakota!)

Cara Mund After Being Crowned Miss America 2018. Photo: Miss America Organization Cara Mund after being crowned Miss America 2018. Photo: Miss America Organization

5. Miss Peru 2018 pageant turned into a protest  Contestants at the Miss Peru 2018 pageant used their opportunity on a national stage to shine a light on the violence against women in Peru. Traditionally, contestants introduce themselves and share their body measurements on stage. In addition to this practice being outdated, the statistics shared were staggering, which made it clear that violence against women in Peru is something that needs to be addressed. (Read: Miss Peru 2018 Contestants Turn Pageant Into Protest)

Romina Lozano, Miss Peru 2018 Photo: Miss Peru Universe Organization Romina Lozano, Miss Peru 2018. Photo: Miss Peru Universe Organization

6. Miss Universe Iraq competes at Miss Universe for the first time in 40 years  Sarah Idan competed at the 207 Miss Universe pageant while representing Iraq, a country that hasn't sent a representative to Miss Universe in over four decades. Idan won this honor through an open casting call after the former Miss Iraq was dethroned. Although she did not place at Miss Universe, representing Iraq at the pageant is an achievement within itself. (Read: Miss Universe Iraq to Compete for First Time in 40 Years)

Miss Universe Iraq Crowning. Photo: Miss Universe Iraq Miss Universe Iraq's Crowning. Photo: Miss Universe Iraq

7. Mrs. America sends multiple contestants to compete at Mrs. World  This year, the Mrs. America Organization chose two more contestants to compete at Mrs. World. Julie Cangialosi, Mrs. District of Columbia America 2017, was awarded the title "Mrs. of America" and Charity Majors, Mrs. Idaho 2015, was awarded the title "Mrs. of the Americas." Cangialosi and Majors were both selected through an online voting contest that raised money for various charities. (Read: Mrs. America Selects Additional Contestants to Compete at Mrs. World)

Mrs. D.C. America 2017 Julie Cangialosi (left) and Mrs. Idaho America 2015 Charity Majors (right). Photos: Mrs. America Organization Mrs. D.C. America 2017 Julie Cangialosi (left) and Mrs. Idaho America 2015 Charity Majors (right). Photos: Mrs. America Organization

8. Miss Indonesia wins Miss International for the first time  Kevin Lilliana made history when she became the first Miss Indonesia to win Miss International. The 21-year-old model and student was crowned in Tokyo, Japan, in November. Nearly 70 countries were represented at the 2017 Miss International pageant, but it was Miss Indonesia who rose to the top! (Read: Miss Indonesia Makes History at Miss International 2017)

The Crowning Moment at Miss International. Photo: Toshifumi Kitamura The Crowning Moment at Miss International. Photo: Toshifumi Kitamura

9. Top 16 at Miss Universe 2017 is decided by continent  At the 2017 Miss Universe pageant, the Top 16 were selected using a new method. The Top 16 were broken down into various groups, with four contestants from the Americas, four contestants from Europe, four contestants from Africa, Asia and Oceania, three wildcard contestants, and one fan favorite. This announcement had mixed reactions, as some questioned the fairness of this breakdown. (Read: Miss Universe 2017 Top 16 Decided By Continent)

Top 5 finalists at Miss Universe 2017. Photo: Matt Petit/Miss Universe Organization Top 5 finalists at Miss Universe 2017. Photo: Matt Petit/Miss Universe Organization

10. Record high number of contestants compete at Miss Universe 2017 The 66th Miss Universe pageant attracted a record high number of contestants. Ninety-two countries and territories were represented at the 2017 Miss Universe pageant, which exceeded the previous record of 89 contestants. In the end, Miss South Africa was crowned the new Miss Universe. (Read: Miss Universe 2017 is South Africa!)

Photo: The Miss Universe Organization Photo: The Miss Universe Organization

11. Contestant with Down's Syndrome competes at the 2018 Miss Minnesota USA pageant The Miss Minnesota USA pageant is known for the diversity of its contestants. This year, Mikayla Holmgren made history when she became the first woman with Down's Syndrome to compete at Miss Minnesota USA. At this pageant, she walked away with the Spirit Award and the Director's Award. (Read: Contestant with Down Syndrome Competes at Miss Minnesota USA)

Mikaya Holmgren on the Miss Minnesota USA stage. Photo: Leila Navidi, Star Tribune. Mikayla Holmgren on the Miss Minnesota USA stage. Photo: Leila Navidi, Star Tribune.

12. Génesis Dávila crowned Miss Florida USA two years in a row  Génesis Dávila, who was crowned Miss Florida USA 2017 only to be dethroned less than a week later, recompeted for the title she was stripped of the year prior. After a change in the directors of Miss Florida USA, Dávila was allowed to recompete. Although there were mixed reactions to Dávila competing for a title she had previously won, she pushed through and ultimately walked away with the crown. (Read: Dethroned Miss Florida USA Wins Title Again)

Genesis Davila After Being Crowned Miss Florida USA 2017 (Left) and Miss Florida USA 2018 (Right). Photos: Genesis Davila Facebook Génesis Dávila After Being Crowned Miss Florida USA 2017 (Left) and Miss Florida USA 2018 (Right). Photos: Genesis Davila Facebook

The year 2017 was filled with monumental pageant moments, many of which promoted change and diversity. These 12 moments are only the tip of the iceberg and hopefully, 2018 will bring even more historic moments! What are you hoping to see in the pageant world during this new year?

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Sierra Beck

Miss Tennessee Junior National Teenager

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