Miss Kentucky, a reporter for news, won the Miss USA pageant that was the most inclusive. This beat out the first openly trans contestant, and a PTSD suffer Air Force officer. 

Miss Kentucky Elle Smith, who had been wanting to compete in pageants since she was 15, took the crown at the televised national contest held in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Monday.

She beat out 50 other contestants in Miss USA’s most diverse pageant yet- including Kataluna Enriquez -the first openly-transgender competitor, Amanda Torchia, the first Afghan woman to win Miss Connecticut USA and Miss Maine Veronica Iris Bates, a Air Force veteran who struggled with PTSD. 

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Elle Smith is a broadcast journalist who dreamed of being a pageant queen from the age of 15.

This is the moment she was overcome with emotion as she was crowned Miss USA on Monday

As she was crowned Miss USA, she felt overwhelmed by emotion.

Smith, who competed with 50 girls from across the nation, put her hands over her mouth to hide her shock as she won the Miss USA crown as the pageant celebrated its 70th year

Smith competed against 50 other girls across the country to win the Miss USA title. She covered her face with her hands as shock at winning the Miss USA title as the pageant marked its 70th anniversary.

Smith beat out 50 other contestants in Miss USA's most diverse pageant yet on Monday

Smith beat out 50 other contestants in Miss USA's most diverse pageant yet on Monday

Smith defeated 50 contestants at Miss USA’s largest pageant, Miss USA’s Most Diverse Pageant Yet on Monday. (She is shown right with a friend). 

The stunning journalist wore a long sparkling dress with a daring split up to her thigh for the competition

For the contest, she wore a stunning long sparkle dress and a bold split to her hips. 

The contestants all held hands on stage as they waited to hear who would be the next Miss USA

While they waited to find out who was the next Miss USA, contestants all held hands and sat on the stage together. 

Smith was congratulated and hugged by her fellow contestants after her name was announced

After her name was called, Smith received hugs and a round of applause from her fellow contestants. 

The overwhelmed beauty gave a wave to the crowd as she proudly wore the winner's crown and held the bouquet of white roses

She gave out a wave of relief to all the people as she proudly wore her winner’s crown, and held the bouquet full of white roses.

The wide variety of contestants are part of the the pageant’s new push for diversity after Miss USA changed their slogan to ‘Pageantry Reimagined,’ NBC News reported. 

Smith, who graduated from the University of Kentucky in May will now represent the USA at the Miss Universe Pageant in Israel.

Smith said that the win came after a lengthy wait. She had delayed applying for contests because she didn’t have her “big girl job” as a reporter to make sure she was able to afford it. 

Smith graduated from UKY last year where she majored in Broadcast Journalism.

Since then, she has been working for Louisville’s WHAS11 as a reporter. Her colleagues have sent her their congratulations for the win.  

The win comes after a long wait for Smith, who said she had put off applying for contests until she had her 'big girl job' as a news reporter. Pictured: Smith doing a live report for WHAS11 on the government's mask mandate

Smith admitted that it was hard for her to win the contests because she wanted to be a reporter and not a journalist. Smith reporting live for WHAS11 about the government’s mandate to use masks.

Before she became a pageant queen, Elle Smith, 23, participated in musical theater for 10 years. She also plays the viola and piano

Smith, a University of Kentucky graduate will now go on to represent the USA in the Miss Universe pageant set to be held in Israel in December

Smith is a University of Kentucky graduate and will represent America in Miss Universe, which will be held in Israel this December

Hayley Minogue, her colleague, spoke about the contest last week. She revealed that this was a goal of hers since high school.

Smith stated, “I have been thinking about this since I was 15, when a girl from my highschool won the title of teen champion and she was everything for me,”

“She was intelligent, beautiful and involved in all things, from band to musicals, cross-country, and even bands. So, I wanted the same as her.

“But, I waited till I got my big girl job. That’s when it was possible for me to afford it. So I waited.

Smith competed alongside 50 other girls across the country and put her hands above her mouth in shock when she was awarded the Miss USA title. The pageant is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

27-year-old Kataluna Enriquez. Miss Nevada, was the first openly-transgender competitor in a Miss USA pageant

Smith beat out Kataluna Enriquez (pictured)-the first openly-transgender competitor, who failed to crack to top 16 before she was eliminated

27-year-old Kataluna Enriquez. Miss Nevada, the first transgender contestant in Miss USA Pageant was Kataluna Enriquez at 27. 

27-year-old Kataluna Enriquez (pictured) -the first openly-transgender competitor in a Miss USA pageant, made history on Monday night when she took the stage

Kataluna, 27, (pictured) is the first openly transgender Miss USA competitor.

Bates was diagnosed with PTSD after leaving the Air Force, having spent a year stationed in South Korea - and she now works as an advocate for other veterans battling the disorder

Bates, who had spent a year serving in South Korea as an Air Force pilot, was later diagnosed with PTSD and now serves as an advocate for others veterans afflicted with the disorder.

Veronica Iris Bates, 21, currently attends American Military University, which is based in Charlestown, Virginia, where she is studying health science and criminal justice

Veronica Iris Bates is 21 and currently studies criminal justice and health sciences at American Military University.

Her performance in the competition for evening dresses and swimsuits was remarkable. She also received applause when she described how businesses could be more sustainable. 

ABC affiliate station WHAS11 posted congratulations to Smith following Smith’s win in a post. It wrote: ‘WOW! It’s quite an accomplishment! Elle Smith, your MISS USA is now!

Smith is the second Miss Kentucky winner to go on and take the Miss USA title. Tara Conner was the 2006 Miss USA winner.  

The contest this year was one of the largest in history.

Contest Kataluna Enriquez represented her state of Nevada as the first openly transgender woman to compete in Miss USA, but failed to crack to top 16 before she was eliminated.

Enriquez stated that she began participating in pageants while working as a model in 2016. Kataluna, a Filipino-born girl who immigrated to the United States at 10 years old, revealed her past experiences with sexual abuse and physical violence while talking with KVVU, NBC affiliate.

“I didn’t have an easy life. For a brief moment, it was difficult. She said that she suffered from physical and sexual abuse as well as mental illness. Growing up, I did not have much. My family didn’t provide support. Yet, I have the ability to continue my success and to become an inspiration for others.

Other diverse contestants included Amanda Torchia, 25, is of Afghan and Italian descent - making her the first Afghan woman to win Miss Connecticut USA

Amanda Torchia (25) is also of Afghan descent. This makes her Miss Connecticut USA’s first Afghan female. 

Miss Wyoming, Mackenzie Kern is a survivor of assault and often speaks out about it on her blog, in an attempt to empower other women

Mackenzie Kern, Miss Wyoming is an assault survivor. She often blogs about her experience to help other women.

“Don’t allow your differences to limit what you can do. You are unique because of your differences. If you believe in yourself, you can do anything.

She is now a health administrator, and she also owns KatalunaKouture, a clothing line. 

Înainte de her taking the stage, representatives of Enriquez’s state showed their pride at the innovative contestant.  

“Kataluna stands for the best of her state and community. When she gets on stage, she will be a legend!” Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak posted a tweet Monday night.

Smith beat Miss Maine who joined the United States Air Force as a Security Forces Member after she graduated high school. She trained military working dogs and guarded important assets. 

Bates received her diagnosis after she had spent one year in South Korea as a teenager. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and now works as an advocate for other veterans with the disorder, helping to raise awareness.

‘Being a veteran, I was unfortunately diagnosed with PTSD, and that’s something I want to look more into,’ she said. 

“I will continue advocating for veterans with PTSD. I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m trying to put my foot down and overcome it, and I know some people aren’t as lucky as I am,’ she added. 

You can also find other diverse contestants Amanda Torchia is 25, a woman of Afghan descent. She founded a youth program called Educate to Create, which advocates for equal opportunity within education, fosters animals and has launched a major modelling career, appearing in ads for brands such as Jovani, Terani Couture and Tarik Edi.

Fellow contestant, Miss Wyoming, Mackenzie Kern, 21, is a vocal assault survivor and uses her platform to share her experience and empower other women. She is currently studying at the University of Wyoming and started her own fashion brand and works as a social media manager for numerous businesses. 

After graduating with a major in broadcast journalism, Smith took a job with ABC affiliate station WHAS11. Pictured: Smith reporting on a farming community helping out a widowed Indiana farmer

Smith graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism and took a position at ABC affiliate station WHAS11. Smith reports on how a community of farmers helped a widowed Indiana farmer

Elle said her participation in pageants doesn't take away from her professionalism as a journalist. Pictured: Smith reports on the first Covid vaccinations in southern Indiana this year

Elle says that she isn’t a professional journalist because of her pageant participation. Smith reports from the Covid vaccinations that were administered in Indiana’s southern part this year.

ABC-affiliate station WHAS11 shared congratulations following Smith's win last night in a post, writing: 'WOW!!! This is quite the accomplishment!! Our Elle Smith is your new MISS USA!'. Pictured: Smith wearing her Miss Kentucky USA sash

ABC affiliate station WHAS11 posted congratulations to Smith following Smith’s win in a post. It wrote: ‘WOW! It’s quite an achievement! Elle Smith, your new Miss USA is here! Pictured: Smith wearing her Miss Kentucky USA sash

Last week Smith gave an interview to colleague Hayley Minogue (pictured together) about the contest, revealing that it had been a dream for her since high school

Smith interviewed Hayley Minogue last week (pictured together) regarding the contest. Smith revealed that this was a long-held dream of hers since high school.

Smith will represent the US at the Miss Universe Pageant, which takes place on 12/12 in Eilat (Israel), Red Sea resort. 

Yoel Razvozov from Israel is the Tourism Minister and has stated that the pageant will continue despite strict travel restrictions. This was to avoid the Omicron Coronavirus variant.

Saturday’s announcement by the government was that foreigners would be prohibited from entering the country and will also increase the quarantines of citizens and residents who return from abroad. It also announced the reinstatement controversial cellphone surveillance, which is used to track infected people.

Razvozov stated that Miss Universe competitors would be given waivers and could undergo PCR testing every 48-hours, as well as other precautionary measures.

Before the weekly cabinet meeting, Eilat stated to reporters that this was an important event and that it would be broadcast in all 174 countries.

“We will be able to handle this event.” The waivers committee will allow us to hold events similar to this that the country cannot cancel.