Miss America 1951 Yolanda Betbeze refused to model swimsuits for pageant sponsor Catalina. The company later aligned with the Miss Universe Pageant. - Press of Atlantic City: Miss America Atlantic City

Miss America 1951 Yolanda Betbeze refused to model swimsuits for pageant sponsor Catalina. The company later aligned with the Miss Universe Pageant.

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Posted: Friday, April 26, 2013 9:45 am

Miss America 1951 Yolanda Betbeze was the kind of strong-willed, self-possessed women that pageant officials love to point to as a model Miss America - 30 or 40 years after the fact.

Betbeze caused pageant officials untold headaches when she refused to model bathing suits for Catalina, a major Miss America sponsor.

Catalina's nose was put so far out of joint by Betbeze's stand that the company withdrew its support and founded the rival Miss Universe Pageant. Betbeze continued to make waves after passing on her crown with high-profile activities in the civil rights movement.

Betbeze, by the way, is also unusual among Miss Americas in that she actually refused to sign a movie contract.

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