Miss America 2016: Vanessa Williams Gets an Apology, Miss Georgia Receives a Crown

Some women prefer their dignity to be restored over a sparkly crown any day.

Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell took home the crown from the Miss America 2016 pageant, hosted in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The southern belle beat out Miss Mississippi Hannah Roberts and 50 other contestants, taking the title from last year’s winner, Miss New York Kira Kazantsev.

The new beauty queen was overwhelmed with excitement and surprise in this post-show video posted by the Miss America organization.

Your newly crowned #MissAmerica 2016 @missamericaga, Betty Cantrell! 👑 -MAO

A video posted by Miss America Betty Cantrell (@missamericaorg) on


A notable contender of Cantrell’s was Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson who asserted that Ellen DeGeneres should be the new female face to grace the $10 bill. “Not only is she kind. Not only is she intelligent,” Johnson began. “Not only is her entire platform speaking tolerance and equality for all and kindness, but she’s able to be funny without insulting someone and I think that is an incredible feat.”

“So HONORED to be your #MissAmerica 2016! A night I will never forget!” -Betty Cantrell A photo posted by Miss America Betty Cantrell (@missamericaorg) on


The pageant was hosted by The Bachelor’s Chris Harrison and Brooke Burke-Charvet with Vanessa Williams as the head judge. Other panelists included Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years), Zendaya, Kevin O’Leary (Shark Tank), Amy Purdy (Dancing with the Stars), country singer Brett Eldredge, and Taya Kyle, the widow of Navy SEAL and American Sniper author, Chris Kyle.

The judges are hard at work! We’re getting so close to announcing our 2016 #MissAmerica! Oh, the anticipation! Stay tuned -MAO

A photo posted by Miss America Betty Cantrell (@missamericaorg) on


Williams, who became the first African-American Miss America winner in 1983, received an apology from Miss America CEO Sam Haskell after being forced to resign when Penthouse magazine published explicit photos of her in 1984.

“On behalf of today’s organization, I want to apologize to you and to your mother, Miss Helen Williams,” Haskell told Williams. “I want to apologize for anything that was said or done that made you feel any less the Miss America that you are and the Miss America that you always will be.”

Williams replied,

“So unexpected but so beautiful. I love the girls and I’m so honored to be back.”

Watch Miss America’s apology to Williams in the video featured below!