Since apparently some people can't make sense of the story, Alex was first runner-up toOlivia Jordan at Miss OK USA 2015 and thus had the opportunity to assume the state title when Olivia won Miss USA. Taking over from Olivia meant Alex lost the chance to compete in the 2016 pageant which was her last year of eligibility. Because she had not competed at Miss USA nor in a 2016 state pageant, Alex was 100% eligible for this contest - despite what a whole lot of negative nancies on Facebook might think!
Alex placed 2RU at Miss Kansas USA in 2009 and 2012 then 1RU in Oklahoma in 2014 and 2015. What's less talked about though is that she was also 2RU to Miss Kansas (America) in 2007 and 2008, 1RU in 2009 and 3RU in 2010. It's hard not to admire her perseverance and resilience.
Whilst it's actually fairly rare that a state successor is crowned for a Miss USA winner (since 2000 only Alex, Katie Blair in CA in 2011 & Ashley Litton in MO in 2004) they are able to compete again if they still meet eligibility criteria. Miss USA 1992 Shannon Marketic's successor Shanna Lyn Searles went on to win Miss California USA 1996 and compete at Miss USA. Ashley Litton competed a number of times after passing on the Miss MO USA 2004 title, including placing 1RU in 2006.
The story gets cooler, in December crowned her good friend Taylor Gorton as Miss OK USA 2016. Taylor - who was 2RU in the two years Alex was 1RU in Oklahoma - and Alex will now compete at Miss USA together! As a fluke it just so happened the winner was announced on Taylor's snapchat takeover day, so she drove down to OK City to surprise Alex with flowers and cake. Remind me again how cutthroat pageants are? ;) Nope.
On a personal note, I could be more thrilled. It's no secret I don't like gimmicks and this contest annoyed me from the start, but at the very least I'm glad an awesome person who has shown such dedication to the Miss USA pageant over many years will be the one on the stage as the 52nd contestant. There's no doubt Alex will be 100% in the game, even at such short notice. I was lucky to meet Alex at Miss USA 2012 - she's one of those people you fall in love with instantly Her good friend and also a former OK runner-up Stacey Saunders passed away unexpectedly a few months ago and I'm sure she was Alex's guardian angel in this competition.
Copying from my FB post, if Alex wasn't Alex she might not have had such a broad base of support across the pageant community. Not all contestants are so universally loved. Not all past contestants would have had an easy shot at winning this sort of contest. Yet Alex has had had such an outpouring of support from former & current contestants, titleholders & fans from all across the US which says it all in my eyes.
Fun fact: this is the second time there will be two Oklahomans at Miss USA! In the 1980s Miss Teen USA titleholders had the opportunity of competing at Miss USA. Miss Teen USA 1986 Allison Brown from Oklahoma - who bares a more than striking resemblance to Olivia Jordan - competed at Miss USA 1987.
Update: this comment from one of the unsuccessful finalists, buried among the rather painful comments on the official Miss USA facebook page announcement, basically says it all. I'm glad we've selected a winner who (a) knows what they're getting themselves in for and (b) will appreciate the experience.