Hinton was the first African-American woman to win the pageant since Chelsi Smith held the title in 1995, and was the first titleholder from Washington, DC since 1964. She wore a traditional white evening gown during the competition.
There was also controversy over the choice of swimsuits for the swimsuit competition: only six delegates chose an all-red one-piece while the rest wore a two-piece option. The New York Post reported that one contestant, Tarah Marie Peters of California, had points deducted by one judge because of her choice of a one-piece suit, thus eliminating her from the top five. She was the only one of the top twelve who wore the one-piece option.
This pageant featured the first two Triple Crown winners: women who have held state titles for Miss Teen USA, Miss USA and Miss America. The two women were Kelly Lloyd (2nd runner-up), who was Miss Indiana Teen USA 1993, 1st runner-up at Miss Teen USA 1993, Miss Indiana 1999 and Miss Indiana USA 2002 and Allison Alderson, Miss Tennessee Teen USA 1994, Miss Tennessee 1999 and Miss Tennessee USA 2002.
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Delegates who had previously held a Miss Teen USA state title were:
Delegates who had previously held a Miss America state title or would later win one were: