10 Celebrities You Totally Forgot Used to Be Beauty Queens

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10 Celebrities You Totally Forgot Used to Be Beauty Queens
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They’re beauty and they’re grace, they’re…some of the biggest stars around. While it’s NBD these days to see a model or singer transition into acting (we’re looking at your Cara Delevingne and Rihanna), it’s not as common to see a beauty queen make the big jump. (How many Miss USAs can you name in the past five years?)

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Though the path is one less traveled, there are a handful of former pageant competitors who have traded in their tiaras for Oscars and swapped their evening gowns for red carpet dresses. These are not your typical toddlers in tiaras, these are your full-fledged actors, singers, and influential celebrities who you almost forgot used to be beauty queens. Wish for world peace and see them all, ahead.

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Eva Longoria Style
Eva Longoria

Before she strolled down Wisteria Lane as Gabrielle Solis in "Desperate Housewives," Longoria was simply strolling down the stage in her best pageant walk ever. Prior to becoming an actress, the Texas native competed in hometown beauty pageants, including a win as Miss Corpus Christi in 1998.

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Vanessa Williams
Vanessa Williams

In 1984, Williams, a former Miss New York, made history as the first African-American woman to be crowned Miss America. Infuriatingly, the crown was revoked from her shortly after when a photographer sold nude photos of her to Penthouse. But that didn't get Williams down. Since pursuing acting and singing, Williams has been nominated for one Tony, three Emmys, and 11 Grammys.

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Priyanka Chopra Hair
Priyanka Chopra

Prior to taking down terrorists as an FBI agent in "Quantico," Chopra was known as one of India's "most beautiful women," spurred by her win as Miss World in 2000. The actress has a lengthy resume in beauty pageants too, with wins and close seconds for Miss India World and Miss World Queen of Beauty — Asia & Oceania all under her belt.

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Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey

Though the media mogul is best known on screen as the long-running host of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "The Color Purple" actress actually used to be more comfortable on stage—especially in 1972 when she won the title of Miss Black Tennessee.

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Olivia Culpo Hair
Olivia Culpo

You may know Culpo now as a super popular Instagram influencer, but the Rhode Island native used to be big in pageant game. Prior to skyrocketing in Instagram followers and famously dating Nick Jonas, Culpo was known in the Ocean State as Miss Rhode Island 2012. That same year, she went on to win Miss USA and eventually Miss Universe, becoming the first American contestant to win the worldwide title in 15 years.

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Michelle Pfeiffer
Michelle Pfeiffer

She may have won the hearts of the Academy with three Oscar nominations, but back in the day, Pfeiffer was struggling to impress the judges of her local beauty pageants after placing sixth in the Miss California competition in 1978. On the bright side, she does have a win as Miss Orange County on her resume.

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Katy Perry Hair
Katy Perry

Though she never reached Miss Universe status, the singer actually had a "Toddlers and Tiara" past for a hot second when her mom put her in two "kiddie pageants" as a kid, where she placed second two times in a row. Obvi, she's still bitter about it.

"Second place is not good enough!" Perry blogged in 2009.

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Halle Berry Hair
Halle Berry

If you were around in 1986, you might have remembered the "Monster Ball" actress as Miss Ohio and eventual Miss USA runner-up. Though she never snagged the all-country title, we're sure Berry is doing just fine with an Ocscar and dozens of blockbusters under her belt.

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Gal Gadot Style
Gal Gadot

Before she started deflecting bullets with her wrists and lassoing people to tell the truth as Wonder Woman, Gadot was finding power in pageants. At 18, she was crowned Miss Israel 2004. Not too long after, she switched gears and served as a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, where she likely got her Wonder Woman-level strength from. Her Wonder Woman diplomacy on the other hand likely comes from her pageant experience.

Photo: Getty Images
Vanessa Minnillo
Vanessa Minnillo

Prior to building a family with 98 Degrees singer Nick Lachey, the actress was a huge pageant queen. In 1998, after winning the title of Miss Teen South Carolina, Minnillo became the first competitor from the Palmetto State to take home the crown of Miss Teen USA, which she snagged that same year.

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  • Eva Longoria Style
  • Vanessa Williams
  • Priyanka Chopra Hair
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Olivia Culpo Hair
  • Michelle Pfeiffer
  • Katy Perry Hair
  • Halle Berry Hair
  • Gal Gadot Style
  • Vanessa Minnillo

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