Laura Rutledge, Host of ESPN’s NFL Live and SEC Network’s SEC Nation and Former Miss Florida, To Host Final Competition Night
Uncasville, CT. (December 6, 2022) – The Miss America Organization, the nation’s oldest women’s competition and a leading provider of scholarships for women in the United States, is proud to announce its hosts and judges for the two-night competition preliminaries and final competition night. The 2023 Miss America Competition presented by Rebel Athletic will be streamed live across all time zones at PageantsLive.com as well as on the Pageants Live app on Roku, Samsung TVs, and Apple TV.
The final night competition scheduled to take place Thursday, December 15 at 8 PM ET will be hosted by Laura Rutledge, host of ESPN’s NFL Live and SEC Network’s SEC Nation, Miss Florida 2012 and top 15 at Miss America 2013. The preliminary competitions, scheduled to take place on Monday, December 12 and Tuesday, December 13 at 7PM ET will feature co-hosts Arianna Afsar, a singer, songwriter, storyteller and Miss California 2010; and Kate Shindle, an actress, singer, dancer, activist and Miss America 1998. Judges for both the preliminary competitions and final competition include TV personality Aparna Shewakramani; former professional NBA player Trevor Booker; Trish Regan, an award-winning journalist and host of ‘The Trish Regan Show’ podcast and former Miss New Hampshire; Home Improvement actress Debbe Dunning; and Mirai Nagasu, American figure skater and two-time Winter Olympic athlete.
“During the preliminary competitions, the 51 Miss America candidates will have the unique opportunity to interact and share their personal stories, educational endeavors and future career aspirations. We are pleased to offer them access to such gifted judges, representing diverse backgrounds and professional experiences,” said Shantel Krebs, Miss America Organization Board Chair. “We are particularly thrilled to have four incredibly talented and successful Miss America Organization alumnae serving as both hosts and judges for our 2023 Miss America competition.”
The following is a comprehensive overview of the hosts and judges:
- Laura Rutledge: Laura Rutledge is the host of ESPN’s year-round weekday NFL news and information show NFL Live and SEC Network’s SEC Nation. Before joining NFL Live, Rutledge was a contributor on Get Up. She has also anchored SportsCenter and hosted red carpet coverage at The Home Depot College Football Awards, the ESPYs and the NFL Draft. Additionally, Rutledge has contributed to ESPN and SEC Network’s live-event programming for college football, basketball, gymnastics, baseball and softball. She was a mainstay in ESPN’s extensive championship coverage surrounding the College Football Playoff, NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships, and both the Women’s College World Series and College World Series. Prior to joining ESPN, Rutledge was a sports anchor for CNN’s New Day and Early Start. She also worked on HLN’s Morning Express with Robin Meade, as well as Fox Sports. Rutledge was Miss Florida 2012 and top 15 at Miss America. She has a broadcasting journalism degree from the University of Florida, where she also won the 2011 Red Barber Award for Excellence in Broadcasting at UF. Rutledge is an Ambassador for the Miracle League, an organization that builds baseball fields for children with disabilities. Rutledge and her husband Josh, a retired MLB infielder and former Alabama baseball player, reside in Connecticut. They welcomed a daughter, Reese, in October 2019
- Arianna Afsar: Ari Afsar is a singer, songwriter, and storyteller. A graduate of Ethnomusicology from UCLA, Afsar recently released her album distributed by Sony Masterworks. She is the composer of Broadway-bound Jeannette, as named by Playbill. Afsar has opened for Michelle Obama, Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, Misty Copeland, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Kwan, Ani DiFranco and Bryan Stevenson. Her credits include starring in the top 10 Netflix original movie, “Wedding Season”, co- composing a song with Pasek & Paul & Shawn Mendez in Sony’s “Lyle Lyle Crocodile”, originating Eliza in Chicago’s “Hamilton”, starring in the world premiere of “Bhangin’ It” at La Jolla Playhouse, winning Miss California 2010, placing top 10 at Miss America 2011, winning the Lyricist Award at The O’Neill NMTC 2018, and placing top 36 on American Idol. She is the co-founder of “Until We Do It” which provided 1 million masks to communities disproportionately affected by Covid-19 in 2021.
- Kate Shindle: It’s not an exaggeration to say that Kate Shindle has loved the Miss America Organization for a lifetime. Some of her earliest memories are of the years when her mom was a hostess and her dad helped with logistics for the annual pageant in Atlantic City. As a teenager, she too was a volunteer, taping off parking spaces in Convention Hall and lending a hand at the parade. At 20, she took a year off from Northwestern University for the privilege of serving as Miss America 1998, dedicating about 90% of that time to HIV/AIDS education and prevention. Although she returned to finish school and pursue work as a professional actor, that year was formative in teaching her to use her voice as an activist. Kate has appeared on Broadway in Cabaret (Sally Bowles), Legally Blonde (Vivienne, original Broadway cast), Wonderland (Mad Hatter) and Jekyll & Hyde. Her most recent national tour was Fun Home (Alison). TV/Film credits include a recurring role on The Good Fight (Rachelle Max), Capote, Law and Order: SVU, Elementary, and The Stepford Wives. She has performed in regional theaters and concert halls across the country. In 2017, she received the prestigious Sarah Siddons Award for Actor of the Year. Kate’s writing has appeared in Variety, The Daily Beast, Salon, Newsweek, and her 2014 book Being Miss America: Behind the Rhinestone Curtain, published by the University of Texas Press. In 2015, she was the youngest member ever elected President of Actors’ Equity Association, the union representing actors and stage managers working in live theatre and is now serving her third term. She is also President of Theatre Authority, and a trustee for both the Entertainment Community Fund and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. She lives in New York City.
- Aparna Shewakramani: From her polarizing portrayal on Netflix’s hit TV show Indian Matchmaking, Seasons 1 and 2, Aparna Shewakramani became an overnight ambassador for women demanding to be heard – in their love lives, workplaces and in every space they occupy. Now a “recovering attorney”, Aparna is currently the international bestselling author of “She’s Unlikeable: And Other Lies That Bring Women Down” and is in development for her own unscripted docuseries.
- Trevor Booker: Booker was a 4-year varsity letterman and one of Clemson University’s All-Time Greats. Booker’s exceptional collegiate career led him to becoming a first-round NBA draft pick for the Washington Wizards. Booker would go on to have a tremendous career in the NBA as an 8-year Veteran representing five different organizations including the Washington Wizards, Utah Jazz, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers. He is now the Vice President & Managing Partner of JB Fitzgerald Venture Capital, LLC which holds stake in several technology, real estate, cosmetic, sports and educational enterprises. He is also part owner of the Major League Soccer franchise, D.C. United. Booker is also the founder and lead owner of Combine Enterprises LLC.
- Trish Regan: Trish Regan is an award-winning financial journalist and host of the “Trish Regan Show” podcast. She is a former Miss America candidate and represented New Hampshire on the Miss America stage in 1994. Before starting her own media and podcasting company, Regan anchored top-rated shows on America’s most prominent financial news networks including CNBC, Bloomberg and Fox Business. In 2016, Trish Regan moderated two Republican Presidential debates and made history, alongside her Fox colleague as part of the first all-female panel to moderate a Presidential debate.
- Mirai Nagasu: Born and raised in California, Mirai began skating at the age of five. She was one of the youngest competitors to win a US National Title in 2003. She placed 4th at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and went on to win a Bronze Medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in the Team event, making history as the first American woman to land a triple Axel at an Olympic Games. Mirai recently graduated from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs with a B.S. in Business Administration, Magna Cum Laude, and was the first Japanese-American woman to land a spot in the EY Women Athletes Business Network (WABN) Global Mentoring Program. She also completed a certificate at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, Next Step: Transition to Business.
- Debbe Dunning: Debbe Dunning is most known for her role on the hit ABC series, Home Improvement, as Heidi Kepert. After starring in multiple television shows and series along with movies, Debbe has re-created herself by hosting and becoming an executive producer on a new show called “Debbe Dunning’s Dude Ranch Round-Up.”
For more information on the Miss America Organization and the Miss America Competition, go to missamerica.org. Tickets can be purchased at MissAmerica.org/2023-Miss-America-Competition.