Former UH Student Wins Miss USA

April 15, 2008

Whoever said beauty was only skin deep, never met Crystle Stewart, a former University of Houston student. Her beauty happens to shine both inside and out. Want proof? Stewart is a teacher, professional model, business owner, community volunteer and motivational speaker. And let’s not forget—she’s also Miss USA 2008.

Stewart was crowned Miss USA on Friday, April 11, in Las Vegas, edging out first runner-up Leah Laviano of Mississippi and Tiffany Andrade of New Jersey. Her national title came less than a year after winning Miss Texas USA 2008.

She competed in the state event as the reining Miss Fort Bend County and beat out 121 other pageant contestants from across the state of Texas. It was Stewart’s fifth attempt at the Miss Texas USA title.

Stewart, a former student in the College of Technology, runs a party-planning and motivational speaking company. She also works to affect the lives of students at the local level by helping teach autistic students at Elkins High School—her high school alma mater. Her role as Miss Texas USA 2008, however, has given her an even broader reach.

Representing the state of Texas for the past several months, Stewart has become involved with a great deal of charitable work and numerous community service initiatives geared toward adolescents. She has also joined the fight against cancer by participating in fundraisers and walkathons with organizations such as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and the American Cancer Society.

“Visiting the Galveston Burn Center was one of the many trips that really impacted my life. To see all of the young children there with physical deformities still have smiles on their faces really gives you a new perspective on life,” Stewart said in a recent interview. “Anytime I think that I’m having a hard time, I think about those kids. And, if they can go through such a tragedy and still have a positive outlook on life, there’s no reason that I shouldn’t be able to handle life’s little ups and downs.”

Recently, Stewart has developed another niche for influencing the lives of young girls through her creation of the Inside Out Program, which includes motivational speaking, self-improvement seminars and themed party planning.

As a successful print and runway model for clients that include Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s and others, Stewart recognizes the need for a little personal time; it’s just often very hard to come by.
“I love to relax. I don’t have much spare time, so when I do, I just soak it in,” she said. “Sometimes life goes by so fast, you can’t really enjoy it. When I get the chance, I try to sit back and think back over the events and the people who have touched my life.”

Whether it’s through education, helping youth fulfill their untapped potential or waltzing down runways, time and time again, Stewart has proven that she is not only a woman of beauty, but also a woman of substance. And, she is a firm believer in education, hard work and character.

Trevor Mitchell