- Donald Kravitz/Getty Images for Dick Clark Productions
- Although they sound similar, Miss USA, Miss Universe, and Miss America are all different competitions.
- Miss America is a scholarship program as well as a pageant.
- The winner of the Miss USA pageant goes on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant.
- The Miss America pageant doesn’t have a swimsuit competition but it does include a talent competition.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Before any beauty pageant hits the airwaves, some viewers may find themselves wondering: Is this Miss USA, Miss Universe, or Miss America? And what’s the difference between them anyway?
Although they’re all beauty pageants where the winner dons an extravagant tiara, they are three very different competitions.
Ahead of the upcoming Miss USA competition, INSIDER broke down some of the biggest differences between Miss USA, Miss Universe, and Miss America.
Miss America is a scholarship program as well as a pageant.
- Getty Images/David Becker
When Miss America was founded, its goal was to invest in the careers and lives of women. When it started, it only allowed white, unmarried women who had never had an abortion to compete. As of 2019, it still has specific guidelines about who can and can’t compete.
As of 2018, Miss America has gotten rid of its swimsuit competition and it will no longer judge contestants based on their “outward physical appearance,” the organization said.
In 2017, according to Bustle, the winner received a $50,000 scholarship and a six-figure salary during her 365-day tenure with the title. But it’s worth noting that the extent of the scholarships have been called into question
Miss USA is a platform for Miss Universe.
- Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
According to the official website for Miss Universe, a former sponsor of Miss America (Catalina Swimsuits) founded Miss Universe and Miss USA in 1952 in Long Beach, California. Many women choose to compete in both Miss USA and Miss America, but the two organizations are completely separate.
Miss USA also has strict requirements for entry, just like Miss America, and the show includes a swimsuit portion of the competition.
The winner of Miss USA advances to compete at Miss Universe against country winners from all over the world.
Miss Universe has no talent competition.
Unlike Miss America, which, as of 2018, focuses 50% of contestant scores on the competition’s talent portion, Miss Universe does not host a talent competition.
Instead, according to Miss Universe’s website, the competition includes “three days of preliminary interviews and a swimsuit and evening gown presentation show (streamed live prior to broadcast) [that] help select the semi-finalists who will be named during the final night event and will go on to compete in Swimwear, Evening Gown, Final Question, and Final Look.”
Last year, 93 women competed in the Miss Universe pageant.
Miss USA and Miss Universe are both part of an organization that was formerly owned by Donald Trump.
- Getty/Rodrigo Varela
Trump used to share control of the Miss Universe organization with NBC Universal, according to The Times-Picayune. NBC ended up backing out of their contract and Trump sold the organization to WME/IMG in 2015, per Forbes.