Chattanooga’s Stephanie Culberson Representing Tennessee At Miss USA

Thursday, April 1, 2004 - by Wendy King
Stephanie Culberson is at left. Click to enlarge.
Stephanie Culberson is at left. Click to enlarge.
- photo by Copyright 2004 Miss Universe LLP

Stephanie Culberson is in Los Angeles trying to get a job with a Donald Trump owned organization.

The 24-year-old Chattanooga resident isn’t a last minute candidate on the monster hit reality series “The Apprentice” starring the aforementioned Trump, but she is hoping to get hired over 50 other women for the job of Miss USA 2004.

The Lee University graduate who currently works as a healthcare representative for the local Pfizer office will attempt to become only the second Tennesseean to wear the Miss USA crown when the finals are televised from the Kodak Theatre on April 12th from 9-11pm on NBC (WRCB TV 3 locally). In 2000, Columbia’s Lynnette Cole was the first from the state to win the coveted title.

Culberson is no stranger to the national pageant spotlight. In 2001, just over a week after the events of September 11th, she was second runner-up at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City and won $36,000 in scholarships. Numerous pageant experts have already tabbed Culberson as one of the favorites to win USA due to her success in Atlantic City, which also included preliminary wins in swimsuit and poise, two of the major criteria in determining the new Miss USA.

Should Culberson emerge victorious in Los Angeles, she would represent the USA at May’s Miss Universe Pageant in Quito, Ecuador.

After relinquishing her Miss Tennessee (America) title in 2002, Culberson, who has had a 4.0 grade point average since third grade, graduated from Lee with degrees in Business and Piano Performance along with a cavalcade of honors. She was named the recipient of the prestigious F.J. Lee Award which is presented to the school’s most outstanding student, was awarded several scholarships and was the president of the Sigma Nu Sigma social service club and of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society.

She became the reigning Miss Tennessee USA in October in the annual pageant held in Clarksville succeeding Cleveland’s Beth Hood who in a strange twist also preceded Culberson as Miss Tennessee America. Hood finished at 4th runner-up at the 2003 Miss USA competition.

Culberson is the daughter of the Reverend Barry and Dottie Culberson of Knoxville.

A special Miss USA episode of the popular NBC series “Fear Factor” will air prior to the pageant telecast and although producers are trying to keep the identities of the contestants a secret, rumor has it that Culberson is one of the six ladies featured on the show.

Tune in on April 12th to find out.

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