For the state pageant affiliated with Miss USA and Miss Universe, see Miss Alabama USA.
Miss Alabama is an annual beauty pageant which is used as a qualifier for the Miss America pageant. It is produced by the Miss Alabama Scholarship Program, a non-profit organization first incorporated in 1991 with offices at 2809 Crescent Avenue in Homewood. The executive director is Nan Teninbaum.
The pageant was originally sponsored by the Birmingham News, which had already been putting on a Miss Birmingham pageant since 1921. In 1936, 1946 and 1948 both contests sent representatives to the Miss America pageant. Miss Alabama became the primary qualifier in 1949, the first year it was held in the Alabama Theatre. Similarly the "Miss Mobile" and "Miss Montgomery" pageants became qualifiers for Miss Alabama between 1926 and 1941. Since 1971 all entrants must have been crowned in a preliminary local pageant. The pageant competition is currently held at Samford University's Wright Center auditorium.
Since 1921, Alabama has produced three Miss Americas, 21 top-five finalists and 46 top-15 semi-finalists. Two Miss Alabamas have been named "Miss Congeniality" at the national pageant. From 1947 until his retirement decades later all of the pageants were directed by James Hatcher. He was also selected to direct the 1960 Miss America pageant in Atlantic City.
The 2019 pageant was the first to be held without a swimsuit competition, following the Miss America organization's announcement that physical appearance would no longer be used as a basis for deciding winners. The 2020 Miss Alabama pageant, scheduled for June 3–6, was canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Miss America pageant had already been postponed for a year.
To compete in Miss Alabama, contestants must first win one of many local pageants held around Alabama. The following is a list of local pageants in the Birmingham District.
- "Miss Alabama" (October 5, 2013) Wikipedia - accessed November 8, 2013
- Harvey, Alec (September 8, 2014) "Miss Alabama through the years: Where are they now? Search our database for your favorites" The Birmingham News
- Gore, Leada (May 8, 2020) "Miss Alabama competition canceled; No pageant this year." The Birmingham News
- Miss Alabama official website