10 Celebrity Beauty Queens

Before they were stars, these famous faces – Halle Berry! Diane Sawyer! Jessica Simpson! – were crowned titleholders

01 of 10

ALI LANDRY

ALI LANDRY
Pat Sullivan/AP

Title: Miss USA 1996
"Oh my God! I can't believe it," the Louisiana native said as reigning Miss USA Shanna Moakler crowned the brunette beauty with the diamond-studded tiara in 1996. Two years later, Landry found stardom as the gorgeous chip-popping Doritos girl.

02 of 10

EVA LONGORIA

EVA LONGORIA
Splash News Online

Title: Miss Corpus Christi 1998
Long before moving to Wisteria Lane, Longoria got her first taste of the spotlight when she won her hometown's beauty pageant in 1998. Her title gave the aspiring actress the chance to move to L.A., where she kick-started her career with roles on Beverly Hills, 90210 and General Hospital, before her big break on Desperate Housewives.

03 of 10

DIANE SAWYER

DIANE SAWYER
Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library

Title: Junior Miss 1963
The ABC World News anchor was "dumbfounded" to find herself America's 17-year-old Junior Miss in 1963. "I have sort of mixed feelings about beauty pageants," Sawyer told PEOPLE in 1986, explaining that she used the $11,000 she won to pay for her first year at Wellesley.

04 of 10

VANESSA MINNILLO

VANESSA MINNILLO
Miss Universe Organization/AP

Title: Miss Teen USA 1998
At 17, Minnillo represented South Carolina at the Miss Teen USA pageant, beating 50 other young beauties for the coveted crown. The high school cheerleader was also named Miss Congeniality by her fellow contestants, and went home with more than $150,000 in cash and prizes. "I'm having the time of my life," she gushed.

05 of 10

HEATHER LOCKLEAR

HEATHER LOCKLEAR
Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library

Title: Senior Princess 1979
During her senior year at Newbury Park High School, the quintessential Cali girl was crowned senior princess – just two years before beating more than 400 actresses for her star-making role as Sammy Jo on Dynasty.

06 of 10

VANESSA WILLIAMS

VANESSA WILLIAMS
AP

Title: Miss America 1983
At 20, Williams made history when she was crowned Miss America in September 1983. "I don't believe the fact that I am black has anything to do with my qualifications to be Miss America," she told PEOPLE – just months before giving up her title after nude photos from her pre-pageant days surfaced.

07 of 10

JESSICA SIMPSON

JESSICA SIMPSON
Splash News Online

Title: Homecoming Princess 1997
With her proud father Joe at her side, Simpson basked in the honor of being named homecoming princess at J.J. Pearce High School in Richardson, Texas.

08 of 10

DAKOTA FANNING

DAKOTA FANNING
X17online

Title: Homecoming Queen 2009 & 2010
The actress, then 16, was awarded the title of homecoming queen at North Hollywood's Campbell Hall Episcopal High School for the second year in a row in 2010. "I feel like no matter how old people are, they remember homecoming," Fanning told Teen Vogue.

09 of 10

SALLY FIELD

SALLY FIELD
Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library

Title: Homecoming Princess 1964
Though the Oscar winner said she never felt popular at Van Nuys's Birmingham High School, she was a part of the homecoming court in her senior year. Decades later, she returned to her alma mater to have the school's performing arts auditorium dedicated in her honor.

10 of 10

HALLE BERRY

HALLE BERRY
Courtesy of Miss Teen All America Pageant

Title: Miss Teen All-American 1985
Berry made her pageant debut in 1985, winning Miss Teen All-American. "We didn't have a lot, so initially I saw dollar signs," she told PEOPLE. "But then I felt really empowered after winning." A year later, she was crowned Miss Ohio USA and became runner-up to Miss USA.

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