Kelly McCleary, CNN
Miss Kentucky Elle Smith has won the 2021 Miss USA pageant.
Smith is a 2020 graduate of University of Kentucky, the school said on Twitter. She majored in Broadcast Journalism, according to a biography posted by Louisville’s WHAS11, where she works as a reporter. While at UK, Smith served as vice-president of the school’s National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) chapter, the station said.
The NABJ congratulated Smith on her victory.
Smith will now represent the US in the Miss Universe pageant on December 12 in Eilat, Israel.
The international pageant is set to move forward despite a contestant testing positive for Covid-19, the Miss Universe organization said in a statement.
Israel has imposed travel restrictions in the wake of the Omicron coronavirus variant and is barring entry of tourists for the next two weeks.
“The Miss Universe Organization is working with Israeli officials to continue to get our contestants and staff into the country safely for the competition”, the Miss Universe group said.
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CNN’s Hadas Gold contributed to this report.