Miss New York; a not-so-hidden gem

Last night, America was shocked when Kira Kazantsev was crowned Miss New York, making history as the 3rd consecutive Miss America from New York. But for those of us who call New York home, and those of us who follow New York in pageantry, perhaps this isn’t much of a surprise.

A State of “Firsts”

  • 1945: BessMeyerson, Miss America
    • First Jewish Miss America. Despite being discouraged over losing sponsors and contracts, she started her own speaking tour and set precedent for future titleholders.
  • 1983: Vanessa Williams, Miss Greater Syracuse/Miss America
    • First African-American/Black Miss America. Despite the scandal surrounding her reign, she has formed a very successful career in the entertainment industry.
  • 2010: Claire Buffie, Miss Southeast New York/Miss New York
    • First state titleholder with a pro-LGBT platform to compete at Miss America.
  • 2013: Nina Davuluri, Miss Syracuse/Miss America
    • First Miss America of Indian Descent. Despite a slew of racist backlash and scandal surrounding her crowning, she has launched her Circles of Unity campaign.

Even Miss New York titleholders who may not have taken home the Miss America crown have made us extremely proud.

A Decade of Miss New Yorks

  • 2004: Christina Ellington, Miss Southern New York
    • Top 10
  • 2005: Kandice Pelletier, Miss Greater New York City
  • 2006: Bethlene Pancoast, Miss Heart of New York
    • Non-Finalist Talent
  • 2007: Elisabeth Baldanza, Miss Empire Rose
  • 2008: Leigh-Taylor Smith, Miss Brooklyn
    • Preliminary Swimsuit
    • 3rd Runner Up
  • 2009: Alyse Zwick, Miss Westchester
    • Preliminary Swimsuit
  • 2010: Claire Buffie, Miss Southeast New York
    • People’s Choice
  • 2011: Kaitlin Monte, Miss Southern New York
    • Preliminary Swimsuit Award
    • Quality of Life Award Finalist
    • 2nd Runner Up
  • 2012: Mallory Hagan, Miss New York City
    • Miss America
  • 2013: Nina Davuluri, Miss Syracuse
    • Miss America
  • 2014: Kira Kazantsev, Miss City of New York
    • Miss America

So needless to say, no, we are not shocked that New York was able to make history as the first state to crown three consecutive years. New York has been a hidden gem since the pageant’s origins in 1921. Maybe it’s in the water, or maybe natural winners are just drawn to the Empire state; home to the Erie Canal, City of Lights, Adirondack Mountains, and Niagara Falls. New York certainly is a wonder of the world, and it is no wonder we make the best titleholders.


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