Who Is Sharlene Wells Hawkes? The Miss America 2017 Judge Is No Stranger To The Pageant World

Even if you're not that into watching beauty pageants, Miss America 2017 will be one you won't want to miss. That's because you're going to want to see what shenanigans Miss America 2017's celebrity judges get up to, which will include Ciara, Mark Cuban, Gabby Douglas, Sara Foster, Laura Marano, and Cole Swindell. There is one member of this panel whose name might not be as recognizable as the others: Sharlene Wells Hawkes. Luckily, I'm here to tell you who this Miss America 2017 celeb judge is and why you should be familiar with her moniker.

Since they help determine which woman out of the pageant's 52 contestants will win the coveted title of Miss America 2017, the celebrity judges will clearly have an important job during Sunday night's live telecast. Obviously, the Miss America organizers want to fill out a panel with people who can bring the star power but also expertly score the contestants on their performance in the swimsuit, evening wear, talent, and final question categories.

Once you find out a little bit more about who Hawkes is, you'll probably think that she deserves top marks for what she will bring to the judging panel. Though she's kept a lower profile in recent years, Hawkes' appearance during Miss America 2017 should be a welcome return to the spotlight.

Have I intrigued you enough yet? Good. Then head on down to find out more about Hawkes and why you probably already have an idea of who she is.

She's A Former Miss America

I told you Hawkes is more than qualified to judge Miss America 2017. That's because she was crowned Miss America in 1985 while representing Utah, according to the pageant's official website. As you can see in the above clip of her crowning achievement, Hawkes looked overjoyed, elegant, and like a princess in her ice blue gown dripping with sparkles. She basically looked like the epitome of a beauty queen.

She Was A Trailblazer

After her reign as Miss America, Hawkes went on to work as one of the few female sportscasters for ESPN at the time, covering everything from the Kentucky Derby to college football to the world lumberjack championships, according to a 2004 interview with the Deseret Morning News. Hawkes told the newspaper that those who hired her at ESPN had no idea she had been Miss America since she intentionally left that former position off her resume. When she later came clean, Hawkes recounted, "They said, 'No way! Really?!' They didn't have a clue."

She Has The Music In Her

Miss America contestants are a multi-talented bunch, and that definitely applies to Hawkes, who also had a singing career following her musical performance at the pageant, releasing the albums When All Will Believe and Song of the Morning Stars . I wonder if her return to Miss America will inspire her to get back into music in the future?

She Uses Words To Inspire

Hawkes is also a published author, having penned the books Living in the World But Not of the World and Kissing a Frog: Four Steps to Finding Comfort Outside of Your Comfort Zone. I can only imagine that she has a lot of wisdom from her Miss America experience to share.

She Does A Lot Of Work With The Military

In recent years, Hawkes has been very involved with projects pertaining to the armed forces. She is the founder and president of Remember My Service Productions, which creates books and ebooks to commemorate the legacy of service members, according to the company's website. Hawkes has also worked with the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, the Utah Defense Alliance, the Association of the U.S. Army-Utah region, and the AMAR Foundation.

It's easy to see that Hawkes has used her platform as a former Miss America wisely.

Image: Miss America Organization