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Miss South Carolina

The Miss South Carolina competition is the pageant that selects the representative for the state of South Carolina in the Miss America pageant. The pageant was first held in Myrtle Beach and moved to Greenville starting in 1958 and remained in that city until the 1990s. Spartanburg hosted the pageant in a few different venues until new leadership took over the organization and moved the pageant to Columbia, SC in 2011. The pageant was televised since the 1960s until the 1998 pageant. Televising was resumed with the 2000 pageant through 2006. The pageant returned to television in 2014.[1]

Miss South Carolina
TypeBeauty pageant
Miss America
Key people
Chaz Ellis
Erin Gambrell
WebsiteOfficial website
Shelley Benthall, Miss South Carolina 2006
Crystal Garrett, Miss South Carolina 2007
Jane Jenkins, Miss South Carolina 1979

Two South Carolina women have become Miss America; Marian McKnight of Manning in 1957 and Kimberly Aiken of Columbia in 1994. Six more have been first runner-up at the national competition and another thirteen have placed in the Top Ten. The Miss South Carolina organization is the leading state pageant in the nation in scholarship money raised for young women- surpassing many much larger states.

Morgan Nichols of Lexington was crowned Miss South Carolina 2019 on June 29, 2019 at Township Auditorium in Columbia, South Carolina. She will compete for the title of Miss America 2020.

Results summaryEdit

The following is a visual summary of the past results of Miss South Carolina titleholders at the national Miss America pageants/competitions. The year in parentheses indicates the year of the national competition during which a placement and/or award was garnered, not the year attached to the contestant's state title.


  • Miss Americas: Marian McKnight (1957), Kimberly Clarice Aiken (1994)
  • 1st runners-up: Claudia Turner (1971), Lavinia Cox (1977), Sherry Thrift (1986), Mary Gainey (1991), Ali Rogers (2013), Rachel Wyatt (2017)
  • 2nd runners-up: Polly Suber (1955), Catherine Hinson (1978), Dawn Smith (1987)
  • 3rd runners-up: Evelyn Ellis (1963)
  • 4th runners-up: N/A
  • Top 7: Daja Dial (2016)
  • Top 10: Joyce Perry (1952), Mary Griffin (1953), Miriam Stevenson (1954), Edith Sandra Browning (1961), Nancy Moore (1966), Cynthia Anthony (1976), Carrie Lee Davis (1993), Erika Grace Powell (2006), Suzi Roberts (2018)
  • Top 12: Bree Boyce (2012)
  • Top 15: Mary Claudia Harvin (1927), LaBruce Sherill (1940), Kelly McCorkle (2003)
  • Top 16: Crystal Garrett (2008)
  • Top 20: Jeanna Raney (2002)


Preliminary awardsEdit

Non-finalist awardsEdit

  • Non-finalist Talent: Margaret Seible (1945), Gene Wilson (1959), Mary Diane Toole (1979), Julia Hill (1983), Amanda Spivey (1996), Janet Powers (1998), Heather Hudson (2001), Jessica Eddins (2004), Shelley Bryson Benthall (2007), Anna Perry (2009)

Other awardsEdit

  • Miss Congeniality: Brooke Mosteller (2014) (tie)
  • Active International Scholarship for Business and Marketing: Jeanna Raney (2002)
  • Bernie Wayne Performing Arts Scholarship: Erika Grace Powell (2006)
  • Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Miracle Maker Award: Brooke Mosteller (2014), Lanie Hudson (2015), Suzi Roberts (2018), Davia Bunch (2019)
  • CMN Miracle Maker Award 1st runners-up: Rachel Wyatt (2017)
  • George Cavalier Talent Award: Kimilee Bryant (1990)
  • Quality of Life Award 1st runners-up: Brooke Mosteller (2014)
  • Quality of Life Award 2nd runners-up: Suzi Roberts (2018)


  •      Declared as winner
  •      Ended as a runner-up
  •      Ended as a finalist or semi-finalist
Year Name Hometown Age Local Title Miss America Talent Placement at Miss America Special scholarships at Miss America Notes
2019 Morgan Nichols[2] Lexington 22 Miss Clemson Vocal TBD TBD
2018 Davia Bunch[3][4] Spartanburg 21 Miss Spartanburg Ballet en Pointe, "Feel it Still" by Portugal The Man CMN Miracle Maker Award
2017 Suzi Roberts[5] Pawleys Island 23 Miss Columbia Lyrical Dance, "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" by Katie Thompson Top 10[6] CMN Miracle Maker Award[7]

Quality of Life Award 2nd runner-up[8]
Former NFL cheerleader for the Atlanta Falcons[9]
2016 Rachel Wyatt[10] Clemson 21 Miss Clemson Dance, "Something in the Water"[11] 1st runner-up[11] CMN Miracle Maker Award 1st runner-up[12] Previously Miss South Carolina Teen 2012 and Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2013[10]

Current NFL cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys[13]
2015 Daja Dial[14] Spartanburg 22 Miss Greenville County Vocal, "I Believe" Top 7 Preliminary Swimsuit Award[15]
2014 Lanie Hudson[16][17] Spartanburg 23 Miss Anderson Clogging, "Think" CMN Miracle Maker Award Competed on America's Got Talent
2013 Brooke Mosteller[18] Mount Pleasant 24 Miss Mount Pleasant Vocal, "Hallelujah" Miss Congeniality (tie)[19]

Quality of Life Award 1st runner-up[19]

CMN Miracle Maker Award[19]
Winner of Miss Congeniality at both Miss South Carolina 2013 and Miss America 2014 pageants[19]
2012 Ali Rogers[20] Laurens 20 Miss Laurens County Piano, "I Want You Back" 1st runner-up[21] Preliminary Swimsuit Award Previously Miss South Carolina Teen 2009
Top 10 at Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2010 pageant[22]
2011 Bree Boyce[23] Florence 22 Miss Capital City Classical Vocal, "Tu Tu Piccolo Iddio" from Madama Butterfly Top 12
2010 Desiree Puglia[24] Simpsonville 22 Miss Pendleton A Capella Tap Dance
2009 Kelly Sloan[25] Gray Court 24 Miss Hartsville Vocal, "For Once in My Life"
2008 Anna Perry[26] Florence 23 Miss Lexington Piano, "Rhapsody in Blue" Non-finalist Talent Award Daughter of Miss South Carolina 1982, Julia Hill[27]
2007 Crystal Garrett[28] Columbia 21 Miss Charleston Vocal, "As If We Never Said Goodbye" from Sunset Boulevard Top 16
2006 Shelley Bryson Benthall[29] Florence 21 Miss Florence Vocal, "A Broken Wing" Non-finalist Talent Award Previously Miss South Carolina Teen 2003[29]

First Miss South Carolina Teen to be crowned Miss South Carolina[29]
2005 Erika Grace Powell[30] Easley 20 Miss Golden Corner Classical Vocal, "Time to Say Goodbye" Top 10 Preliminary Talent Award

Bernie Wayne Performing Arts Scholarship
Former nanny for Hugh Jackman's children[31]

Later Miss South Carolina USA 2012
Top 16 at Miss USA 2012 pageant[31]
2004 Ann Ashley Wood[32] Spartanburg 23 Miss Charleston Lyrical Dance, "You Raise Me Up" Never received $25,000 in scholarship winnings from the Miss South Carolina Organization[33][34]
2003 Jessica Eddins[35] Irmo 24 Miss North Charleston Semi-classical Vocal, "And This Is My Beloved" Non-finalist Talent Award
2002 Kelly McCorkle[36] Greenville 23 Miss Golden Corner Lyrical Ballet, "I Believe" Top 15 Half-sister of Miss South Carolina Teen 2008, Courtney Cisson[37]

Contestant on The Amazing Race 7 with then boyfriend, Ron Young[38]
2001 Jeanna Raney[39] Inman 20 Miss Greater Greer Tap Dance, "Kiss Me" Top 20 Active International Scholarship for Business and Marketing
2000 Heather Hudson[40] Lexington 22 Miss Tigertown Classical Vocal, "Il Bacio" by Luigi Arditi Non-finalist Talent Award Previously South Carolina's Junior Miss 1996
1999 Danielle Davis[41] Greer 18 Miss Greater Greer[41] Vocal, "I Wanna Fall in Love"
1998 Wendy Willis[42] Fountain Inn 24 Miss Camden Vocal, "Operator" by The Manhattan Transfer
1997 Janet Powers[43] Hartsville 21 Miss Southern 500 Vocal Medley, "Go Tell It on the Mountain," "Gonna Build a Mountain," & "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" Non-finalist Talent Award
1996 Angela Hughes[44] Anderson 21 Miss Anderson County Tap Dance, "Sing, Sing, Sing" Later Mrs. South Carolina America 2005 under her married name, Angela Hughes-Singleton[45]
1995 Amanda Spivey[46] Boiling Springs 22 Miss Southern 500 Soprano saxophone, "The Joy of Life" Non-finalist Talent Award
1994 Kristie Greene[42] Greenville 24 Miss Berea Comedy Vocal, "Exactly Like Me"
1993 Tonya Helms[47] 24[47] Miss Greater Greer
Assumed title when Aiken was named Miss America 1994[47]
Kimberly Clarice Aiken[48] Columbia 18 Miss Columbia Vocal, "Summertime" Winner[48] First African American to be crowned Miss South Carolina[48]

Named one of People Magazine's "Fifty Most Beautiful People in the World" in 1994[48]
1992 Carrie Lee Davis[49] Greenville 26 Miss Greenville Marimba, "Csárdás" Top 10 Preliminary Swimsuit Award Postponed her medical school residency after being crowned[49]

Later sued the pageant and settled without terms being publicly disclosed[33]
1991 Ronnetta Hatcher[42] Columbia 26 Miss Columbia Percussion Later Mrs. South Carolina 2015 under her married name, Ronnetta Hatcher Griffin[50]
1990 Mary Gainey[42] Hartsville 24 Miss Liberty Marimba, "Scherzo for Marimba in C" 1st runner-up
1989 Kimilee Bryant[42] Greenville 23 Miss Berea Classical Vocal, "Je Suis Titania" from Mignon Preliminary Talent Award

George Cavalier Talent Award
Broadway actress and opera singer[51]
1988 Anna Graham Reynolds[52] Greenwood 23 Miss Greenwood Vocal, "Mack the Knife" Daughter of Miss South Carolina 1957, Cecilia Colvert[53]
1987 Nancy Humphries[54] Myrtle Beach 21 Miss Myrtle Beach Piano, "The Stars and Stripes Forever" Preliminary Swimsuit Award[54] Former co-host of Access Hollywood[55]

Current co-anchor on Entertainment Tonight[56]
1986 Dawn Smith[57] Columbia 22 Miss Liberty Classical Vocal, "Je Veux Vivre" from Roméo et Juliette 2nd runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award Sister was brutally murdered a year prior to her winning Miss South Carolina. The events were followed closely by the media and later were made into investigative documentary dramas[58][59][60]

Won "Pageant Rewind" on What Not to Wear, against two fellow Top 10 finalists from Miss America 1987[57]
1985 Sherry Thrift[61] Westminster 23 Miss Liberty Clogging, "Are You From Dixie?" 1st runner-up Previously South Carolina's Junior Miss 1980
1984 Vicki Harrell[42] Columbia 22 Miss University of South Carolina Piano
1983 Dalia Garcia[62] 21 Miss South Congaree Vocal, "Don't Cry for Me Argentina"
1982 Julia Hill[27] Florence 26 Miss Duncan-Lyman-Wellford Classical Piano, "Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, 3rd Movement" Non-finalist Talent Award Mother of Miss South Carolina 2008, Anna Perry[27]
1981 Jill Rankin[63] Columbia 21 Miss Columbia Northeast Figure Skating, "Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major"
1980 Donna Jewell[64][65] 19 Miss Cayce-West Columbia Vocal, "Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair?"
1979 Jane Jenkins[66] Johns Island 23 Miss Charleston Vocal Medley, "The Party's Over" & "Send in the Clowns" Author of Bare Feet to High Heels, What Ta Tas Teach Us, and "Bury Me with My Pearls"[66]
1978 Mary Diane Toole[67] Aiken 17 Miss Aiken County Ballet, "Pas de Quatre" Non-finalist Talent Award
1977 Catherine Hinson[42] Rock Hill 22 Miss Rock Hill Saxophone Medley, "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" & "Flight '76" by Walter Murphy 2nd runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1976 Lavinia Cox[68] Latta 23 Piano Medley, "The Man I Love" & "Sunny" 1st runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1975 Cynthia Anthony[42] West Columbia 22 Miss Lexington Classical Vocal, "Chacun le Sait" from La fille du régiment Top 10
1974 Cheryl Von Lehe[69] Charleston 18 Miss Charleston Vocal, "Oh Babe, What Would You Say?"
1973 Fran Riggins[69][70] Easley 21 Miss Easley Vocal, "All the Things You Are"
1972 Bonnie Corder[71] Columbia 21 Miss Columbia Vocal Medley, "My Man's Gone Now," "Let Me Sing," & "I'm Happy"
1971 Pamela Inabinet[42] Swansea 21 Tap Dance, "Puttin' on the Ritz" Featured performer on the Miss America 1973 telecast
1970 Claudia Turner[72] Spartanburg 19 Miss Spartanburg Vocal, "Once Upon a Time" 1st runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1969 Brantlee Price[73] Newberry 19 Miss Newberry Vocal, "Got A Lot O' Living To Do"
1968 Rebecca Smith[42] Clover 19 Miss Clover Semi-classical Vocal, "America the Beautiful"
1967 Peggy White[74] Fountain Inn 23 Miss Laurens Organ Medley, "Spanish Flea" & "Flight of the Bumblebee"
1966 Barbara Harris[75] Simpsonville 21 Miss Columbia Classical Vocal, "Adele's Laughing Song" from Die Fledermaus Preliminary Swimsuit Award Toured with Miss America USO Troupe[75]

Former Mayor of Morris Township, New Jersey[citation needed]
1965 Nancy Moore[76] Aiken 18 Miss Aiken Piano, "Variations on There She Is" Top 10 Preliminary Talent Award Later married US Senator, Strom Thurmond, who was 44 years her senior, in 1968[76]
1964 Sue Smith[77] Florence 20 Miss Florence Vocal Medley
1963 Carolyn Gaines[77] North Augusta 19 Miss North Augusta Popular Vocal
1962 Evelyn Ellis[78] Greenville 19 Miss Columbia Interpretive Dance, "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" & "Gigi" 3rd runner-up Previously South Carolina's Junior Miss 1961
1961 Janet McGee[79] Greenville 20 Miss Greenville Vocal, "Ave Maria"
1960 Edith Sandra Browning[80] Greenwood 19 Miss Greenwood Comic Dance / Pantomime, "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like my Sister Kate" Top 10 Preliminary Swimsuit Award[80]
1959 Nettie Dennis[81] Moncks Corner 19 Miss Moncks Corner Vocal
1958 Gene Wilson[82] Charleston 18 Miss Charleston Vocal, "If I Loved You" Non-finalist Talent award
1957 Cecilia Colvert[53] Greenwood 18 Miss Columbia Pantomime / Vocal, "C'est si bon" by Eartha Kitt Mother of Miss South Carolina 1988, Anna Graham Reynolds[53]
1956 Marian McKnight[83] Manning 19 Miss Manning Comedy Sketch, "The Monroe Doctrine" Winner[84]
1955 Martha Chestnut[85] Conway Miss Conway Piano
1954 Polly Suber[86] Greenville Miss Whitmire Monologue, "Air Corps" 2nd runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1953 Miriam Stevenson[87] Winnsboro 20 Miss Greenwood Tap Dance Top 10 Later Miss South Carolina USA 1954, Miss USA 1954, and Miss Universe 1954[88][89]

First Miss USA to be crowned Miss Universe[89]
1952 Mary Griffin[90] Florence Miss Florence Classical Vocal Top 10 1st runner-up at the Miss USA 1953 pageant, representing Myrtle Beach

5th runner-up at Miss World 1953 pageant, representing the United States
1951 Joyce Perry[91] Conway Miss Conway Comedy Vocal, "Sewing Machine" Top 10
1950 Carolyn Fowler[92] Lyman 17 Miss Lyman Vocal, "Why Don't You Fall In Love With Me"[92]
1949 Barrie Wingard[93] Columbia Miss Clinton Died on April 24, 1952 after her car was struck by a drunk driver[93]
1948 Esther Greene[42] Greenville Miss Greenville
1947 Margaret Griffin[42] Spartanburg Miss Spartanburg Classical Vocal
1946 Anne Mae Morse[94] Miss Columbia
1945 Margaret Seible[95] Columbia Drama, "Life with a Southern Mammy on an Old Plantation" Non-finalist Talent Award
1944 Gloria Mae Grisso[96] Multiple South Carolina representatives

Contestants competed under local title at Miss America pageant
Virginia Owens[95] Miss South Carolina
1943 Sarah Nina Harvin[96] Miss Columbia Multiple South Carolina representatives

Contestants competed under local title at Miss America pageant
Jenelle Virginia Strange[95] Miss South Carolina
1942 Virginia Pulliam[97] Miss Columbia Multiple South Carolina representatives

Contestants competed under local title at Miss America pageant
Nelle Xermenia Owens[97] Miss South Carolina Dance
1941 Miriam King[98] Charleston Miss Charleston Multiple South Carolina representatives

Contestants competed under local title at Miss America pageant
Gloria Frances Missel[99] Miss South Carolina Vocal, "My Heart Belongs to Daddy"
1940 LaBruce Sherill[100] Myrtle Beach Miss Myrtle Beach Tap Dance, "Cocktails for Two" Top 15 Preliminary Talent Award Multiple South Carolina representatives

Contestants competed under local title at Miss America pageant
Vanadora Baker[101] Dillon Miss South Carolina Recitation
1939 Mary Eleanor Parish[102] Myrtle Beach Miss Myrtle Beach Multiple South Carolina representatives

Contestants competed under local title at Miss America pageant
Margaret Allan Shealy[102] Clinton Miss South Carolina Vocal, "Especially For You"
1938 Margaret Simrill Land[42] Chester Miss Camden
1937 Wayring Smathers[103] Columbia Miss Columbia
No South Carolina representative at Miss America pageant[104][105]
No national pageant was held[106]
No South Carolina representative at Miss America pageant[107]
No national pageants were held[106]
1927 Mary Claudia Harvin[108] Charleston Miss Charleston Top 15 No Miss South Carolina

Contestants competed under local title at Miss America pageant
1926 Dorothy Brickman[109] Charleston Miss Charleston
No South Carolina representative at Miss America pageant[110][111]
1923 Agatha G. Schachte[112] Charleston Miss Charleston No Miss South Carolina

Competed under local title at Miss America pageant
No South Carolina representative at Miss America pageant[113][114]


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External linksEdit