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Miss Navajo and Miss America

The Miss Navajo Nation competition is no ordinary beauty pageant. But what does it have in common with other pageants? Find out how its rules and requirements differ—and intersect—with those of the famed Miss America competition.

Who’s Eligible?


  • Enrolled female members of the Navajo Nation between the ages of 18 and 25
  • Must possess a high school diploma or GED
  • Must be fluent in Navajo and English
  • Contestants must have no children
  • Cannot have ever been married


  • Females between the ages of 17 and 24
  • Must be a United States citizen
  • Must have never before competed in any National Finals of the Miss America Organization (in order to compete in the National Finals, a contestant must first win a local competition and then compete at the state level)
  • Must meet residency requirements for competing in a certain state, which can include being a high school graduate and residency in the state
  • Cannot have ever been pregnant
  • Cannot have ever been married

Duties and Responsibilities

Miss Navajo’s duties are to promote and educate Navajo culture, language and traditions. She travels internationally and locally on behalf of the Navajo people and holds a salaried position for one year with the Navajo Nation, which includes health benefits and a furnished tribal apartment. She is required to relocate to Window Rock, AZ and withdraw from college or university during the period of her reign. Miss Navajo is not allowed to cohabitate with an intimate companion, become pregnant or be seen in bars or under the influence of tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs.

After Miss America is selected, she embarks on a yearlong national speaking tour. As a national spokesperson, Miss America “travels approximately 20,000 miles a month, to a different city every other day, addressing diverse audiences, increasing awareness and promoting her chosen platform.”


Upon successful completion of her reign, Miss Navajo Nation receives an educational scholarship of $7,500 (for undergraduate students) or $15,000 (for graduate students).

Each year, the Miss America Organization makes available more than $45 million in cash and tuition scholarship assistance, even to those contestants who do not win a title. Almost all contestants “have either received, or are in the process of earning, college or postgraduate degrees and utilize Miss America scholarship grants to further their educations.”

The Competition

The pageant consists of Traditional Techniques, Public Speaking, Panel Questions, Contemporary Skills and Talent, Traditional Skills and Talent and Evening Gown competitions. The panel of judges utilizes a point system and the contestant with the greatest number of points is crowned Miss Navajo.

The preliminary portion of the competition includes Artistic Expression (Talent), Presentation and Community Achievement (Interview), Presence and Poise (Evening Wear); and Lifestyle and Fitness (Swimsuit). The final night of competition includes the Lifestyle and Fitness, Presence and Poise, Peer Respect and Leadership, Artistic Expression and Top Five Knowledge and Understanding competitions.

The scoring for the Miss America Finals Competition is weighed accordingly:

Composite Score: 30 percent (Top 10 contestants)
Lifestyle and Fitness in Swimsuit: 20 percent (Top 10)
Evening Wear: 20 percent (Top 10)
Talent: 30 percent (Top 5)
On-stage Question: Top 3
Final Ballot: Each judge ranks the final three contestants in the order he or she believes they should each finish. The outcome of the pageant is based on the point totals resulting from the final ballot.

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