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Lynnette Cole: Wikis


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Lynnette Cole (born February 9, 1978), won the title Miss Tennessee USA in 2000. She went on to become the first woman from that state to win the Miss USA pageant, which was held in Branson, Missouri on February 4, 2000.

Cole hails from Columbia, Tennessee and was twenty-one years old when she won the national crown.

Family Background

Cole is of Puerto-Rican Heritage. At ten months old, she was living in foster care with her older brother when they were adopted by Gail and Larry Cole, who had to move interstate to get around a law prohibiting adoption of children from a different race. Her adoptive parents had previously been foster parents to a succession of over 100 children.


Cole's first major pageant win came in 1995 when she won the title Miss Tennessee Teen USA. She was a top 6 finalist at the Miss Teen USA pageant in that year, and also won the Miss Photogenic award. She finished 4th overall.

After winning Miss Tennessee USA and Miss USA 2000, Cole went on to compete at the Miss Universe pageant, held in Nicosia, Cyprus later that year. Her performance was strong enough to secure her a spot among the 5 finalists, and brought the U.S. back into the semifinals (after Kimberly Pressler had failed to advance the year before, breaking a streak of consecutive placements that had been going on since 1977). She also placed 5th overall, like her Miss Teen USA placement. She became the first woman to place in the top 5 at all three pageants and her record was not surpassed until 2006 by Tara Conner.

As Miss USA, Cole was a representative of the Miss Universe Organization. Her "sister" 2000 titleholders were Lara Dutta (Miss Universe, of India) and Jillian Parry (Miss Teen USA, of Pennsylvania)

After the Crown

Since winning Miss USA, Cole has become a successful television host for NBC, CMT, ESPN, MTV, VH-1 and made many appearances on As the World Turns. Along with her hosting career, she has also appeared in numerous print advertising campaigns and commercials.

Cole married Michael O'Nan of Tampa, and is now in the import/export business. Directs a local preliminary for Miss Tennessee USA.

Preceded by
Allison Alderson
Miss Tennessee Teen USA
Succeeded by
Adrienne Parker
Preceded by
Morgan Tandy High
Miss Tennessee USA
Succeeded by
Lisa Tollett
Preceded by
Kimberly Pressler
Miss USA
Succeeded by
Kandace Krueger


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