The Miss America Pageant started in 1921 as a marketing idea. The Businessmen League of Atlantic City, needed to develop a plan to keep tourists on the boardwalk past Labor Day. The pageant offered a scholarship to the winner and a one-year series of paid appearances, representing the sponsors.
Jan. 12, ABC News writes, "Women from every state are competing for the Miss America crown Saturday night, an honor that carries with it a $50,000 scholarship and a yearlong run as an advocate and role model."
Over the years, the pageant still holds much interest and viewers, it is the top non-sports contest with viewer numbers increasing year upon year. In 2011, the Miss America Pageant scored higher ratings than the NFL NFC Divisional Playoff Game. Also, the Miss America Pageant consistently scores higher than Donald Trump's Miss USA Pageant.
Some of the past Miss America winners over the last 40-years, have gone on to be very successful in various career paths.
1971 Phyllis Ann George, host of TV program, NFL Today
1984 Vanessa Williams, first AA, Williams has great success in music, film and television
1989 Gretchen Carlson, Anchor on news program, Fox & Friends
1990 Debbie Turner, Reporter and Anchor for CBS Morning Show
1998 Katherine Shindle, talented Broadway actress
2001 Angela Perez Baraquio, first Filipino Miss America, and first winner from Hawaii
2004 Erica Dunlap, competed in reality show, The Amazing Race 15, finished third
2011 Teresa Scanlan, youngest Miss America at age 17
The reign of Miss America may only last for one-year, but the title will forever precede the names of each winner. These ladies will always have the honor, of being referred to as, "Former Miss America" before their names.
The Miss America Pageant airs on ABC at 9:00 p.m. EST, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013