It's That Time Again

by Shay Mathews

How about some light fare before HBO’s Game of Thrones this weekend? On Sunday, NBC will air the 63rd Miss USA pageant at 7 PM. Baton Rouge, Louisiana plays host to the competition which will see reps from all fifty states and DC compete for the title and crown.

This marks the first year that the show will add on an additional hour to provide fans with a little more background on the contestants and their lives before heading into the swimsuit and evening gown competitions. A winner and successor to Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady, will be selected at the end. But is that all she gets a crown and a title?

First, it’s not just any crown. The tiara, which was put together by the jewelers at Diamond Nexus in 2009, features more than 700 stones and 166 carats. During an interview with the Times-Picayune, Miss USA spokewoman Jackie Shahinian spoke about the process for designing the jewelry piece and the transformation the Miss USA crown has made throughout the years.

And that title? Along with it comes a year of great possibilities. The winner is given a salary, stipend for living expenses and an New York City apartment. She travels all over lending her name and the organization’s prestige to various charity causes and several public speaking events. She’ll even get a crown, albeit not as grandiose, to keep after she hands over the crown to next year’s winner. Wondering now if there’s anything else you didn’t know. Well…

Miss USA Started Over a Conflict

There was first Miss America, and only Miss America. And then, in 1950, winner Yolande Betbeze refused to wear a swimsuit in publicity photos which didn’t sit well with sponsor Catalina, so the company opted to create a competition of their own called Miss USA.

Sometimes the Second-Runner Up Gets the Crown

If Miss USA wins the Miss Universe title, then the runner-up is bestowed the title for the remainder of the year. But back in 1967, when Sylvia Hitchcock won Miss Universe, the runner-up, California’s Susan Ellen Bradley opted to not take the title, and it was given to Cheryl Patton, the second-runner up.

You’ve Only Got One Shot

Contestants can compete within their individual states multiple times. But they can only compete for the title of Miss USA once. How’s that pressure for ya?

Last Year Marked a First

Noam Galai/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

In 2013, Connecticut won for the first time when Erin Brady took home the crown at the 62nd annual pageant in Las Vegas.

Texas Is Where It’s At

The Lone Star state has produced more Miss USA winners than any other state with 9, and nearly more runner-ups also. Further, the state proved quite popular on Twitter in 2013 where it’s contestant Alexanderia Nugent earned her spot in the Top 6 by being the most voted for contestant via the social media site. Guess things aren’t just big in Texas, huh?

Eight Have Won Miss Universe

Michael Buckner/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The last Miss USA to walk away with the Miss Universe title was 2012’s Olivia Culpo, who hailed from Rhode Island.

Contestants Can’t Be Married Or Mothers

Not cool, Miss USA. In order to compete, the pageant rules dictate that a contestant not be married or pregnant. Nor can they have been married or pregnant in the past. And if you think you’ve met that special person, hold off because if you win, you aren’t allowed to be pregnant or married during your reign. Yes, you read that right.

Halle Berry Didn’t Win, And Yet, She Still Won

Christy Fichtner of Texas (of course) holds the distinction of beating out actress and then-Miss Ohio Halle Berry for the 1986 Miss USA crown. Berry was first-runner up and was eventually given an award for Distinguished Achievement by the organization. But we’re pretty sure she isn’t too sour about this loss.

The Miss USA competition will air on Sunday at 7 PM on NBC.

Images: WikipediaCommons, JoshyCouture/Tumblr