South Carolina High School Teacher Wins Miss USA Contest
Lu Parker, a high school English literature teacher representing South Carolina, was crowned Miss USA on Friday night.
Miss USA 1993 Kenya Moore of Detroit crowned Parker at the end of the two-hour program televised nationally on CBS. The 25-year-old Charleston native also won the evening gown event.
Runner-up was Patricia Southall, 23, of Chesapeake, Va., a former aide to ex-Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder. Southall won both the swimsuit and preliminary interview events.
Second runner-up was Lynn Jenkins, 25, of Gastonia, N.C., who described herself as a motivational speaker.
Jennifer Gareis of New York, Shirelle Hebert of Louisiana and Christine Friedel of Texas were eliminated when the field was narrowed from six to three.
The winner of the pageant, which includes representatives from the 50 states and the District of Columbia, receives $235,000 in cash and prizes and represents the United States in the Miss Universe pageant on May 20 in Manila.
Bob Goen, weekend host and correspondent for “Entertainment Tonight,” and Arthel Neville, host for E! Entertainment Television, were hosts of the 43rd annual pageant.
The 51 contestants participated in pre-pageant activities for more than two weeks. Ten judges rated them in the swimsuit and evening gown events and interviews.
The panel of 10 judges consisted of “American Gladiators” personality Erika Andersch, singer-songwriter Carol Connors, beauty products executive John Paul DeJoria, former Miss USA Mai Shanley-Fitzgerald, Telemundo personality Pedro Luis Garcia, Olympic gold medalist Al Joyner, talent agent Aaron Kaplan, Dallas Cowboys tailback Derrick Lassic, casting agent Meg Liberman and actress Sheryl Lee Ralph.