Miss Virginia Nicole Johnson, a 24-year-old diabetic who wears an insulin pump on her hip, was crowned Miss America 1999 on Saturday.
Johnson, a graduate of the University of South Florida who recently completed work for a master's degree in journalism, sang "That's Life" for her talent offering.She plans to spotlight diabetes awareness during the 20,000-mile-a-month national speaking tour she will make as Miss America. She gasped when her name was announced and looked up at the ceiling before she accepted a crystal scepter and was crowned by outgoing Miss America Kate Shindle.
Miss North Carolina Kelli Bradshaw was first runner-up and Miss Florida Lissette Gonzalez was second runner-up. Rounding out the top five were Miss Missouri Deborah McDonald and Miss Kentucky Chera-Lyn Cook.
Johnson, of Roanoke, Va., works as a writer and producer for 700 Club promotions and wants to be a national news anchor and national diabetes spokeswoman.
One potential controversy was eliminated early in the evening: Miss Ohio Cheya Watkins, who was the focus of a pageant investigation into reports that she lied about her academic record, did not make the top 10. She claimed to be a freshman at University of Cincinnati, but officials there said they have no record of her. She would have been stripped of any title or money if pageant organizers found reason to disqualify her, said Leonard Horn, chief executive of the Miss America Organization.