A native of Louisville, Elle Smith was crowned Miss Kentucky USA on 22 May 2020 and Miss USA 2021 on 30 November 2020. In December 2021 she placed in the top 10 at Miss Universe 2021, held in the beach resort of Eilat in Israel. Before winning Miss USA, Elle was a news reporter for a station in Louisville. She was the first Miss USA whose state pageant was their first major pageant competition since Olivia Culpo in 2012.
Elle is a 2020 journalism graduate of the University of Kentucky where she was vice-president of the National Association of Black Journalists. She is no stranger to the limelight, having worked as a full-time reporter for WHAS, the ABC affiliate in Louisville, Kentucky, a position which has adequately prepared her for the prestigious platform of Miss USA. Understanding her role as a journalist to be such an essential part of our society, she took on the challenge each day as an opportunity to connect with her community and share new perspectives. Being raised surrounded by all forms of arts, with her father a photographer and her mother a classically trained pianist, Elle sees herself as a true creative person, currently zoning in on her passion for photography, videography and modeling! Inspired by her late grandmother, Elle has taken up the mantle to advocate for cervical cancer awareness and prevention in her current reign.
Within hours of being crowned Miss USA, Elle was on a plane to Israel to compete at Miss Universe! Her national costume was a depiction of the Emmy statuette.
The on-stage moments, the tension of the final two and the glory of the crowning, here are Elle’s Miss Kentucky USA pageant photos and crowning video.
Lights, camera, action! Professional photoshoots are one of the perks that comes from winning a title.
All beautiful things must come to an end, no matter how bittersweet. See Elle’s tribute walk at Miss Kentucky USA and her Miss USA farewell, as well as other photos from both events.