For the first time in history, the daughter of a former Miss USA will grace the same stage as her mother.
Baylee Jensen was crowned Miss Utah USA 2017 on November 19th, 2016. According to The Pageant Planet, this was Jensen’s second try at the title. She competed last year and was first runner-up to Teale Murdock. Murdock did not place at the 2016 Miss USA Competition.
(Baylee Jensen’s Crowning Moment. Photo Credit: Miss Utah USA Organization)
Jensen is the daughter of Miss USA 1989 Gretchen Polhemus-Jensen. Polhemus-Jensen represented Texas and beat out 50 other contestants for the title. Like her daughter, Polhemus-Jensen tried twice for the title. She represented Bedford at the 14th Miss Texas USA Pageant. She placed second runner-up to Courtney Gibbs and took home the photogenic award. The next year, she represented Fort Worth and won the title of Miss Texas USA 1989.
(Gretchen Polhemus-Jensen and her court after the 1989 Miss USA Pageant. Photo Credit: Pinterest)
Polhemus-Jensen then competed at the 38th Miss USA Pageant. She was the last of five consecutive winners from Texas in the 1980’s. She then went on to compete for the title of Miss Universe 1989 where placed fifth in semifinal interview, fourth in swimsuit, and eighth in evening gown. She was named into the Top 5 and finished second runner-up to Angela Visser of the Netherlands.
(Gretchen Polhemus-Jensen competing during the swimsuit competition at Miss Universe 1989. Photo Credit: Miss Universe Organization)
After crowning her successor Carole Gist in 1990, she went on to star in the TV movie Bonanza: The Return. She has worked as a sports correspondent for ESPN and a news correspondent for the CBS affiliate in Salt Lake City. She is now a co-host of KTVX-TV’s “Good Things Utah”. She has five children with her ex-husband; Baylee being the oldest.
(Baylee Jensen, center, and the rest of the Top 5 before the crowing on Miss Utah USA 2016. Photo Credit: Pageant Update)
Mother-daughter duos are seen all the time in pageantry with coaches, directors, and competitors. However, it is worth mentioning again that this is a first for the pageant world. Of the Top 4 international pageants (Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss International, and Miss Earth) there has never been a mother-daughter pair to compete on the same national stage.
Jensen will get her chance to sparkle on the Miss USA stage on May 14th, 2017. The location was announced less than a week ago. The announcement did not come from the organization but from a Facebook post by Miss Kansas USA 2017 Catherine Carmichael, pictured below. The pageant will be held in Las Vegas Nevada.
(Miss Kansas USA 2017’s Facebook announcement of the location of Miss USA 2017. Photo Credit: Facebook)
With such big shoes to fill, Jensen is already not only a favorite to make it in the Top 16 but also take home the crown. Not only does Jensen have the only opportunity to have a former Miss USA as a mother, she also has the incredible team of the Miss Utah USA Organization. According to Pageant News, as of 2009, the organization has made the finals night 20 times at Miss USA. Utah took home the title in 1957 with Charlotte Sheffield after the original titleholder, Leona Gage of Maryland, was dethroned.
Do you think we may have the first Miss USA mother-daughter winners on our hands? Comment below! With the pageant so close, keep a look out for my 2017 Miss USA predictions! In the meantime, take a look at all the contestants here.
(Featured Image Photo Credit: Pageant Update)