Emily Suttle, Miss Franklin, was crowned Miss Tennessee USA Saturday at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. McKinley Farese, Miss Memphis, was crowned Miss Tennessee Teen USA.
The new title-holders and the runners-up received numerous prizes and scholarships.
Both Miss Tennessee USA and Miss Tennessee Teen USA will have the opportunity to represent Tennessee at the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants in 2022.
Rounding out the top five finalists among the 32 contestants in the Miss Tennessee pageant were first runner up Miss Knoxville Emma Conn, second runner up Miss Heart of Nashville Regan Ringler, third runner up Miss Greenfield Macy Garner, and fourth runner up Miss Downtown Nashville Elise Stein.
The outgoing Miss Tennessee USA, Elizabeth Graham Pistole, is a Nashville fitness instructor at two local barre studios. She is also continuing her education by pursuing a master’s degree in marketing with a concentration in social media strategies online at the University of Alabama.
Pistole was driven to pursue a master’s degree so that she could have the knowledge to grow and develop her nonprofit, The Dancing Divas and Dudes. The Dancing Divas and Dudes is a dance team for individuals with special needs and was inspired by her sister, Natalie, who has Down Syndrome. Pistole started Divas and Dudes at 14 years old and has grown it by over 600% over the past seven years. Pistole knows the difficulties and obstacles that accompany enacting change. This has driven her to want to utilize her year as Miss Tennessee USA to be a resource and inspiration to young adults who want to make a difference.
Other finalists among the 28 contestants in the Miss Tennessee Teen competition included first runner up Miss Music City Natalie Anderson, second runner up Miss Marble City Blye Allen, third runner up Miss Franklin Kendall Raye Kuczen, and fourth runner up Miss McMinnville Grace Sparkman.
Outgoing Miss Tennessee Teen USA Annie Zhao is a high school senior and the first Asian titleholder in Tennessee USA system history. Annie wants to become a leader in medicine as an OBGYN and advance healthcare for women and children through a more mature lens of womanhood. Incredibly fascinated by science, she has interviewed, shadowed, and assisted doctors and scientists since middle school! On her voyage to becoming a healthcare professional, she has won several science competitions, conducted environmental health research with the University of Memphis, and edited genes through CRISPR-CAS9 with the University of Tennessee.
Annie is also passionate in community service, music, and journalism. She enjoys helping her community and spreading joy in any way she can. Whether that is through direct volunteering or creating music on her violin, she has devoted over 400 hours to the people around her. You can catch her playing in symphonies, leading music groups, or practicing a variety of repertoire in her free time.
As a strong advocate for childhood literacy and racial injustice, Annie has committed to impacting as many people around her as possible. Having struggled with literacy as a child, she is determined to mitigate the obstacles she had experienced for others. Annie has instructed English to students in and outside of the US since she was 14. Advancing from learning basic English out of TV shows and books as a child to making the highest possible scores on testing or winning at every Model United Nations conference she has attended, Annie has grown to become an English and public speaking enthusiast. One of her most important events was the deliverance of the Stop Asian Hate speech regarding racism to hundreds of Tennesseans. She hopes her message representing AAPI youth made a difference in changing hearts and minds.
Judging the 2022 event were Season XV American Idol Trent Harmon, Head of Programming and Development for Reach TV Networks Holly Firfer, U.S. Government Senior Special Agent for Homeland Security Derrick LeBlanc, CEO of Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment Britney Ruby Miller, and former Miss Texas Scholarship Organization Director Gregg McCoy.
The Miss Tennessee USA pageants, under the direction of Greenwood Productions, Inc., are affiliated with the Miss Universe organization and have been hosted in Clarksville since 1999. Information about all delegates can be found at www.misstennesseeusa.com.