10 celebrities you did not know competed in beauty pageants

In their hometown or on a global scale, some iconic celebrities got their start in the pageant world before being Hollywood stars

By Ingrid Mateos


Gal Gadot (Instagram)

Halle Berry


Berry took part in several beauty contests in the 1980s and was crowned Miss Teen All American in 1985. In 1986 she was Miss Ohio and competed for Miss USA. Her interview was scored the highest among judges unfortunately she did not win the crown.

Priyanka Chopra


She started as Miss India and in In 2000, Priyanka Chopra was eighteen years old when she was crowned as the most beautiful woman in the world at the Miss World pageant held at London. An aspiring engineer, Priyanka decided to be a part of the Indian film industry and played prominent roles in several Bollywood films.  In 2015, she landed Quantico on ABC and has appeared in movies like Baywatch and Isn't It Romantic.

Eva Longoria


Longoria took part in several beauty contests in the 1980s and was crowned Miss Teen All American and Miss Ohio USA in 1985 and 1986, respectively. In 1998 he was crowned Miss Corpus Christi. She is best known for her role as the spoiled yet lovable Gabrielle Solis in Desperate Housewives

Michelle Pfeiffer

"Hey, we all gotta start somewhere," the actress joked. Pfeiffer was 19 years old when she won the Miss Orange County pageant in 1978 and later, went on to participate in the Miss California contest.  Michelle has starred in movies like Batman Begins, Dangerous Liaisons, and What Lies Beneath.

Oprah Winfrey


The talk show queen was crown Miss Black Tennessee and Miss Black America at the age of 17. The Miss Black America pageant is essentially the same as the Miss America pageant, but specifically for African-American women. Following her title victory, she was hired by a local radio station to do part-time news.

Gal Gadot


After serving in the Israeli army, she was in the Miss Israel competition and won the title in 2004. Later went on to represent her country at the 2004 Miss Universe beauty pageant. "It kind of happened to me, they offered for me to participate in the pageant. I went for the experience and then I won and I was overwhelmed, and then I had to do the Miss Universe pageant,"



In 2004, Rihanna won her high school's beauty pageant, earning the title of Miss Combermere after performing Mariah Carey's ballad "Hero." "I kind of laughed at these stupid pageants. But my friends at school dared me to do it, and my military training came in handy for learning to balance books on my head for the catwalk. … I had big dreams."

Sharon Stone


Stone participated in Miss Pennsylvania as Miss Crawford County and won, later she competed for Miss Pennsylvania. On the suggestion of one of the pageant judges, she left her school to pursue a career in modeling and moved to New York.

Selena Gomez


Selena participated in the child beauty pageant scene. She won several prizes and look how cute she looks. Right now she is a talented singer.

Demi Lovato


The singer was competing in the Texas State Cinderella Miniature Miss contest but sadly she does not have fond memories of this.  "My body-image awareness started way before [the pageants], but I do attribute a little of my insecurities to being onstage and judged for my beauty."

Honorable mention: Matthew McConaughey

In a throwback Instagram post in early 2021, the actor revealed that "for 43 years I was Little Mr. Texas...until I wasn't."

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