The Miss America Pageant
The Miss America Pageant originated in 1921, hen it was known as a “bathing beauty revue.” Since then, there have been plenty of changes in the competition. It is open to women from the United States, between the ages of 17 and 25. For decades, women were judged based on beauty. This worked fine for a while, but in 2018, changes were made. The swimsuit portion of the pageant was taken out, as well as consideration for physical appearance. When Gretchen Carlson, a former Miss America, became the chairwoman of the competition, the swimsuit portion was eliminated, and judges were told to focus more on talent, personality, and passion. The new version of Miss America is also known as Miss America 2.0.
Deidre Downs grew up in Alabama. After graduating from Pelham High School in 1998, she attended the University of Virginia on a volleyball scholarship. After her freshman year, she decided to go into medicine, so she transferred to Samford University. The transfer meant that she would lose her scholarship, so she needed to pay for college on her own. When she was younger, she competed in local pageants, so Deidre decided to use her talent in pageants to try to earn the money that she needed by getting on the pageant circuit again.
Deidre entered the first Miss Alabama pageant in 2001 when he was named the third runner-up. She earned the same title in 2002. In 2003, she was the first runner-up. In 2004, she was named Miss Leads Area, and then she was crowned Miss Alabama in 2004. This was the fifth time that she competed in the pageant.
Miss America 2005
Deidre was Alabama’s representative at the Miss America 2005 pageant, which was held in September 2004 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Her platform was Curing Childhood Cancer. During the preliminary competition, she was the sole winner of the Quality Of Life Award. During the talent portion of the competition, she sang, I’m Afraid This Must Be Love by Linda Eder. By the end of the competition, it was down to Deidre and Miss Louisiana, Jennifer Dupont. It was during the talent portion that Deidre managed to win the crown. She earned a $50,000 scholarship, which was the who reason she entered.
Breaking a Record
Deidre was very successful on the pageant circuit, and in total, she earned close to $110,000 in scholarship money. She is the only contestant to hold the title for three calendar years. This gave her the money that she needed to pay for school. It didn’t cover it all, but her winnings allowed her to continue working towards being a doctor.
Marriage, Family, and a Career
Deidre married her college sweetheart, Andrew Gunn, in March 2008. After the marriage, she legally changed her name to Deidre Downs Gunn. In 2010, they welcomed a son. Sadly, the marriage started to fall apart, and the couple divorced. They put their son’s welfare first and manage to co-parent him in a friendly and healthy way. Deidre reached her goal of becoming a doctor, and she is employed as a Physician in Obstetrics and Gynecology Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center. Because the Miss America Pageant helped get Deidre to where she is today, she agreed to go back in 2014. This time, she wasn’t a contestant; she was a judge for the final night of the competition. She helped crown Nina Davuluri as Miss America.
A Shocking Choice
The First Lesbian Miss America Made A Startling Decision – And Fans Were Left Floored. Deidre met a woman named Abbot Jones. She is an attorney and a writer. The two women met online in February 2017. Their first date was for drinks and sushi, and they hit it off immediately, and soon, they fell in love.
On Christmas Day 2017, Deidre got down on one knee and proposed to Abbot, and put an engagement ring on her finger. When Abbot said, yes, she went out and bought Deidre an engagement ring, but didn’t give it to her right away. First, she asked Deidre’s son for his mother’s hand in marriage. The couple celebrated their engagement by taking a New Year’s trip to England and then Scotland with their family. In 2018, the two women were married in a private ceremony at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Birmingham, Alabama. She became the first former Miss America titleholder to enter into a same-sex marriage.
Deidre says that being able to say her vows in front of her family and friends was the most meaningful part of the day. She calls her new wife, the love of her life. Deidre’s 8-year-old son gave his mother away, and he acted as her best man. Deidre says that she has never been happier.