Shandi Finnessey is an American model, beauty pageant winner, and TV personality/actress. She is known primarily for being crowned Miss USA in 2004.
Shandi Ren Finnessey was born in Florissant, Missouri on June 9, 1978. Unlike most future Miss USA winners, she was surprisingly teased a lot for her appearance while in attendance at McCluer North High School, so she transferred to the private all-girls Incarnate Word Academy her junior year to finish up her studies. This proved to be the right call, as without fellow students bullying her, she was able to focus more and eventually went on to graduate with honors from Lindenwood University with a BS in Psychology in 1999. She would have eventually gotten her Masters in Counseling as well had her newfound career as a model not taken off the way it did.
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Shandi competed in her first Miss Missouri USA pageant in 1999 (which was technically the Miss Missouri USA 2000 pageant), finishing in the respectable first runner-up position. But this didn't even remotely deter her, as she competed again the following year and took home second runner-up. While she continued to compete in other competitions after this, she didn't go back to the Miss Missouri USA pageant until 2004, when she finally took the first place crown. On top of this, the very same year saw her represent Missouri at the Miss USA pageant and win once again.
After her time as Miss USA, which she spent raising over $30 million for breast and ovarian cancer research and entertaining the troops both in the U.S. and overseas, Shandi began dedicating much of her time to helping children and people with disabilities. She even released a children's book on the subject titled "The Furrtails" which won Infinity Publishing's distinguished AWMAD Award for Authors Who Make a Difference. On top of all this, she has also expanded her horizons to television, both hosting game shows such as "Lingo" and "Playmania" on GSN and playing minor roles in SyFy Channel movies like "Sharktopus" and "Piranhaconda."