The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
Pageant Winners of the '80s
The Miss America pageant started out as a beauty contest organized in Atlantic City more than 75 years ago. Each year's winner spends a year traveling the world speaking on behalf of humanitarian causes.
Cheryl Prewitt
Miss Misssissippi
Miss America 1980
Susan Powell
Miss Oklahoma
Miss America 1981
Elizabeth Ward
Miss Arkansas
Miss America 1982
Debra Sue Maffett
Miss California
Miss America 1983
Vanessa Williams
Miss New York
Miss America 1984
Suzette Charles
Miss New Jersey
Miss America 1984*
Sharlene Wells
Miss Utah
Miss America 1985
Susan Diane Akin
Miss Mississippi
Miss America 1986
Kellye Cash
Miss Tennessee
Miss America 1987
Kaye Lani Rae Rafko
Miss Michigan
Miss America 1988
Gretchen Carlson
Miss Minnesota
Miss America 1989
* Suzette Charles, originally 1st Runner Up, was crowned Miss America 1984 when Vanessa Williams resigned following a controversy involving photos published in an adult magazine.


The Miss USA pageant started off as a bathing suit competition sponsored by Catalina Swimwear in Long Beach, CA back in the 1950s. The winner goes on to represent the United States in the Miss Universe pageant. (Shawn Weatherly, Miss USA 1980, won the Miss Universe pageant.)
Shawn Weatherly
South Carolina
Miss USA 1980*
Jineane Ford
Gilbert, Arizona
Miss USA 1980
Kim Seelbrede
Germantown, Ohio
Miss USA 1981
Terri Utley
Cabot, Arkansas
Miss USA 1982
Julie Hayek
Westwood, California
Miss USA 1983
Mai Stanley
Alamagordo, New Mexico
Miss USA 1984
Laura Martinez-Herring
El Paso, Texas
Miss USA 1985
Christy Fichtner
Dallas, Texas
Miss USA 1986
Michelle Royer
Keller, Texas
Miss USA 1987
Courtney Gibbs
Fort Worth, Texas
Miss USA 1988
Gretchen Polhemus
Fort Worth, Texas
Miss USA 1989
* Shawn Weatherly was named Miss Universe 1980.


The Miss Teen USA pageant was launched in August 1983 in Lakeland, FL. The 1984 pageant was held in Memphis, TN, the 1985 pageant in Miami, FL, the 1986 version in Daytona Beach, FL, the 1987 one in El Paso, Texas, and both the 1988 and 1989 pageants were held in San Bernardino, CA.
Ruth Zakarian
New York
Miss Teen USA 1983
Cherise Haugen
Miss Teen USA 1984
Kelly Hu
Miss Teen USA 1985
Allison Brown
Miss Teen USA 1986
Kristi Addis
Miss Teen USA 1987
Mindy Duncan
Miss Teen USA 1988
Brandi Sherwood
Miss Teen USA 1989