From politicians to entertainment A-listers, some very familiar faces got their first experience in the limelight by participating in pageants. If you have a winning smile, a competitive spirit and a little stage presence, you may be able to follow in the footsteps of Raquel Welch, Mary Hart or even Oprah Winfrey. It doesn't matter where you come from or what your name is. Once that name is up in lights, anything is possible. The folks on this list have paid their dues, but without the exposure that short walk down the pageant runway gave them, who knows where they'd be today.
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