Downs grew up in Pelham and graduated from Pelham High School. During high school she volunteered at Camp Smile-A-Mile and Children's Hospital. She earned a volleyball scholarship to the University of Virginia and was a member of the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society. She transferred to Samford University and was a finalist for a Rhodes scholarship. graduated magna cum laude with a degree in history.
As a pageant contestant, Downs sang a rendition of the ballad "I'm Afraid This Must Be Love". She was crowned "Miss America" by her predecessor Ericka Dunlap. As part of her year of service as Miss America, she campaigned for childhood cancer research, founding a high school volunteer program and lobbying to create Alabama's "Curing Childhood Cancer" specialty license plate. She served as an official spokesperson for the CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation.
After her year as Miss America, Downs returned to Birmingham and attended the UAB School of Medicine. In March 2008, Downs married Andrew Gunn, a high school teacher and fellow Samford alumnus. They had one son together. The couple later divorced, and in April 2018 she married attorney Abbott Jones in a ceremony at the Birmingham Museum of Art.
Shannon Camper (interim)
- Deidre Downs official website
- "Deidre Downs" (May 2, 2006) Wikipedia - accessed May 2, 2006
- "America Supports You: Miss America Breaks Bread With Soldiers", By Spc. Jonathan Montgomery, USA, American Forces Press Service
- Garrison, Greg (April 15, 2018) "Former Miss America Deidre Downs marries girlfriend at Birmingham Museum of Art." The Birmingham News