Ellen Elizabeth “Elle” Smith, 22, of Germantown, Kentucky, United States has been crowned Miss Kentucky USA 2021. She bested 45 other candidates.
The Miss Kentucky USA 2021 coronation night took place at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset, Kentucky on May 22, 2021. It is the 67th edition of the beauty pageant that selects Kentucky’s official Miss USA candidate.
Runner-up to Smith was Veronica Chisholm of Owentown. Rebecca Cook of Capital City, India Marks of Churchill Downs and Kristen Bach of Walton were the respective second, third and fourth runners-up.
Miss Kentucky USA 2020 first runner-up Michaela Arnold of East Louisville competed again and finished in the Top 17. Miss Kentucky USA 2020 third runner-up Lizzy Neutz of Bluegrass also competed again but was unplaced.
The Miss Kentucky USA winners from 2015 to 2020 are from Louisville, Kentucky. Smith is the first ever winner from Germantown.
On November 29, 2021, Smith will represent Kentucky in the 70th edition of Miss USA. The coronation night will take place at the Paradise Cove Theater of River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA.
If Smith wins Miss USA 2021, she will be the second woman from Kentucky to win the title. The first one is Tara Conner, 35, of Russell Springs, Kentucky, who was crowned Miss USA 2006 on April 21, 2006.
Representing Kentucky in Miss USA, Maria Montgomery was fourth runner-up in 2009 and Katie George finished in the Top 11 in 2015. The state’s representatives from 2016 to 2020 were unplaced.
In 2019, Smith worked as a college associate in Fox News‘s bureau in Washington, D.C., USA. She also worked as a videography intern in Arkansas, USA and studied in Florence, Italy for a semester.
In May 2020, Smith graduated from the University of Kentucky’s School of Journalism and Media in Lexington, Kentucky with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in political science. She was the vice president of the university’s National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) chapter.
In October 2020, Smith started working as a reporter at WHAS11 News, an ABC-affiliated television station licensed to Louisville. She specializes in Southern Indiana.