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51:The Road to Miss USA 2021! Pageantry Reimagined

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Being crowned Miss USA is so much more than just physical beauty. These women are truly putting in the work on and off the stage to be the best versions of themselves and inspire the next generation of young girls to dream big and reach for their goals.

In today’s episode, Zuri and her guest Crystle Stewart discuss all things pageant life, including what it takes to become Miss USA. If you want to get a glimpse into the world of pageantry and see where they are taking the platform, this episode is for you!

Crystle Stewart was the 2008 Miss USA, and she’s now the first black woman to hold the title of President and National Director of the Miss USA Organization. She’s also the founder of Miss Academy, the first-ever pageant training school educating young women across the nation on the ins and outs of pageantry while equipping them with skills that will last a lifetime.

Zuri and Crystle deep dive into how pageants can be a catalyst for empowering young girls and women to achieve life goals, how the representation of black women in beauty pageants is changing, and what steps Crystle is taking to redefine what it means to be a beauty queen,

Don’t forget to tune in to Hulu and watch the 70th Miss USA on November 29th!

I’m also going Live on IG on December 1st to celebrate the first anniversary of Hot Happy Mess! I’ll be talking to some of your favorite guests from past episodes, I’ll have some exciting pop-ups, and we're going to have some giveaways and prizes y'all can win. It all starts at 3:00 PM PST and 6:00 PM EST.

Follow: Zuri Hall | Crystle Stewart

A Closer Look at The Episode

  • [3:59] Crystle’s journey to making history in her new role

  • [6:09] The patience, persistence, and perseverance behind achieving big goals

  • [9:42] Why self-discovery was necessary for Crystle’s move from Miss Texas to Miss USA

  • [11:22] The opportunities that become available after being crowned Miss USA

  • [13:33] What it takes to compete in pageant life and make it to the stage

  • [17:22] Behind the scenes of Miss Academy

  • [19:04] Why pageantry is more about community than competition

  • [20:35] Promoting inclusivity within pageantry

  • [21:38] The background & demographic varieties of the contestants

  • [23:58] How pageantry is an extension of a contestant’s current life

  • [25:38] Advice for women looking to start their pageantry journey

  • [26:34] What judges look for in beauty contestants

  • [28:19] Why parents should consider putting their young girls in pageants

Share this episode with a friend NOW + let us know your favorite part of the convo: @ZuriHall and @HotHappyMess

Share this episode with a friend, NOW!

Follow @ZuriHall and @HotHappyMess on Instagram to keep the good vibes going! :)



The HMM FB group is a safe space for our community -- it’s where can talk about our Hot Happy Mess, share tips, tricks, dish on the latest episodes, talk all things Bridgerton (or whatever show you’re currently bingeing), chat with Zuri and the ladies of the Groupchat and so much more!!!

We welcome multi-cultural, inclusive individuals who identify as female/femme/women, non-binary, trans, genderqueer, agender, or any combination of the above! – who appreciate sharing & celebrating one another experiences and learning about others’ stories + POVs (especially BIPOC + Queer).

We’re women of all races + backgrounds, united by one mission: living our lives as fully, happily & mindfully as we can.

In the HHM Crew, we value Community. Kindness. A Work Hard, Play Hard Mentality

(she likes to laugh, have fun, and maybe have one vodka shot too many after a long day of getting her AlphaBabe on).

We can't wait for you to start sharing your stories, not just with one another, but also with Z! Remember, this is a safe space, so no topic is off-limits. We just want us to have FUN! We want this space to feel like a long-distance brunch. Y'know? So grab a drink, a snack, pull up a chair, and let's all virtually hang!

Recent episodes: if ya feel like bingeing!

ICYM: Listen to 50: Get Your Hustle On! From Side Hustle to Main Business

ICYM: Listen to 49: Ready for Tax Season? Get Ready with these Tips & Tools

ICYMI: Listen to 48: What is Trauma? You May Have More Than You Realize

ICYMI: Listen to 47: Should you Freeze Your Eggs? Here's Why, How, and My Journey So Far

ICYMI: Listen to 46: Exploring Alternative Routes to Motherhood

ICYMI: Listen to 45: Meet One of the Youngest Black Hotel Owners in the Game

Go back to the beginning --- ICYMI: Listen to Episode 1: How to Be Happy


Hit Us Up:

  • #AskZuri — Submit your questions for advice straight from me (advice I'd very much prefer you not hold me legally responsible for, thaaaanks) !

  • #OkDontJudgeMeBut — Submit your wildest, juiciest confession(s) to your girls (us, duh.) Just be sure to leave a code name, if you don't want us to use your real one.

  • Join as a Podcast Guest — We are committed to telling + sharing diverse stories + POVS. Real Stories, from Real Women! (And yes we want men to be a part of the conversation - they’re just not leading it, often. lol — drop a line!)


If you loved this podcast episode, you’ll also love our first episode in our Protect Your Peace Series: Episode #1: How To Be Happy

Come listen, laugh, and maybe even learn a lil something’ -- with new episodes of Hot Happy Mess dropping every Monday on the iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts!

PS. Leave a review on iTunes for a chance to be spotlighted in an upcoming episode of HHM!


Zuri Hall is an Emmy award-winning TV host (Access Hollywood, American Ninja Warrior) and is the executive producer & host of this millennial-focused podcast that will empower women to avoid “best life burnout” through candid conversation, expert panel discussions, and real-life, human interest stories from everyday women.

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