For a long time, I confused the two competitions. I automatically assumed Miss America went on to be Miss Universe, and that the two were actually one and the same. I didn't realize they were completely two different competitions.

But I know better now! So for those of you still a little hazy on the differences between the two, here you go:

How these pageants started:

  • Miss America started in 1921, and was designed by an Atlantic City businessman as a way to bring tourism past Labor Day.
  • Miss USA began in 1951, after Miss America Yolande Betbeze PO'ed a client after refusing to pose in swimsuit photos. Thus, a new competition was born!

What do they win? 

  • Miss America prides itself on being the largest scholarship provider for young women in the United States. Winners are awarded $50,000 in scholarship money, $302,000 in total for all contestants.
  • Miss USA's winnings are a bit different. She gets a year scholarship to the New York Film Academy, rent free NYC apartment and free goodies from sponsors.


How is the competing portion different?

  • Miss America takes the talent portion of the competition seriously, it accounts for 35% of the final vote for contestants!
  • Miss USA doesn't include talent in their evaluations. They base it off the swimsuit portion, evening wear and the interview questions.

What about after they win?

  • Miss America holds the title for an entire year, but this is where it ends.
  • Miss USA, on the other hand, is eligible to compete in the Miss Universe Pageant. 

How old do you have to be in order to compete?

  • Miss America's age range: 17-24
  • Miss USA's age range: 18-27

Now, which one did Donald Trump own at one point?

  • Miss USA NOT Miss America

And, there you have it folks. The main differences between Miss America and Miss USA. Either way, I'll probably never be in either (cries silently in corner).

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