Shandi Finnessey

MISS USA, PERFORMERShandi Finnessey Pictures

“When I’m 90, I will still be Miss USA 2004.”
—Shandi Finnessey

Shandi Finnessey is a tall, strikingly beautiful woman who receives attention no matter where she goes. The accomplished musician, author, academician, and model put a number of promising careers on hold while competing in pageants, but the hard work definitely paid off. In April of 2004, the St. Louis girl
was seen around the world winning the title of Miss USA. She has since parlayed that honor into a job as co-host of a game show seen across the country.

Location of Florissant in MissouriTHE EARLY YEARS

Shandi Finnessey was born on June 9, 1978, in St. Louis and grew up in the suburb of Florissant. The six-foot-tall blonde bombshell graduated from Incarnate Word Academy in 1996 and began her college studies at Lindenwood University in St. Charles. As a college student, she gained attention for her stellar academic performance and her skills playing piano and violin. In addition to her success at school, she made waves in the modeling industry and in pageants across the Show Me State.


While finishing up her degree in psychology in only three and a half years, Shandi was perfecting her stage presence for the Miss Missouri Pageant. In 2002, just hours before her birthday, she was crowned Miss Missouri, which meant she had to put her studies on hold to compete for the title of Miss America. In September of 2002, she took the stage in Atlantic City, winning the preliminary eveningwear competition but coming up just short of winning Miss America.


She still had one year of eligibility to compete in the Miss USA Pageant, so she headed back to the stage in Poplar Bluff, winning Miss Missouri USA 2004 and earning another shot at a national pageant title. On April 12, 2004, in Los Angeles, Shandi was crowned Miss USA, which earned her a chance to compete for the Miss Universe title. She was in contention for the crown until the very end, finishing as First Runner-Up. Shandi continued her motivational speaking and charitable work after passing the crown to the next Miss USA.

Since her success on the pageant circuit, Shandi has made a name for herself on televisions game shows and reality shows. She was a co-host on the shows Playmania and Lingo on the Game Show Network. She followed those performances with a memorable appearance on “Dancing With the Stars.” She was the local favorite but was the second person voted off the show in the 2007 season. The amazing resume continues to expand, but it seems the native Missourian has seemingly already conquered the world, all before turning thirty.


*Shandi authored the book The Furrtails in 2002.

*She appeared in one episode of Donald Trump’s hit show, The Apprentice 3.

*She was the grand marshal of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2004.


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