Deidre Downs

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Deidre Downs Gunn
Deidre Downs at the Jimmy Carter Work Project June, 2005
Born (1980-07-07) July 7, 1980 (age 43)
Alabama, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Virginia
Samford University
University of Alabama School of Medicine
Occupation(s)Physician in Obstetrics and Gynecology (Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility)
EmployerUAB Hospital
TitleMiss Alabama 2004
Miss America 2005
TermSeptember 18, 2004 - January 21, 2006
PredecessorEricka Dunlap
SuccessorJennifer Berry
  • Andrew Gunn (m. 2008; div.)
Abbott Jones
(m. 2018)

Deidre Downs Gunn (born July 7, 1980) is an American physician and former beauty pageant titleholder. Downs was Miss Alabama 2004 and later was crowned Miss America 2005.[1][2][3]


After graduating from Pelham High School in 1998,[4] Downs attended the University of Virginia on a volleyball scholarship.[5] While at the University of Virginia, she was an Echols Scholar[4] and a member of the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society.[6] After her freshman year of college at the University of Virginia, Downs chose to focus on her studies and aspiration to go to medical school and ultimately transferred to Samford University.[5][7] Her transfer resulted in her losing her scholarship, so she began competing in local pageants to earn scholarship money.[8] She graduated magna cum laude in 2002 from Samford University with a degree in history and a double-minor in biology and chemistry.[5][9] She was also a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship in 2002.[4]

After completing her stint as Miss America, she began medical school at the University of Alabama School of Medicine (UAB) in Birmingham.[10] She received her Doctor of Medicine in 2010 and then completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the UAB Medical Center in 2014.[9] She continued her education at the UAB Medical Center and completed her fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility in 2017.[9]


Early pageants[edit]

Downs competed in her high school's pageants and won her senior year.[5]

After her first year of college at the University of Virginia, Downs chose to focus on her studies and aspiration to go to medical school and ultimately transferred to Samford University.[5][8] This transfer resulted in her losing a volleyball scholarship, so she began competing in local pageants to earn scholarship money.[8]

She first entered the Miss Alabama pageant scene in 2000 and was named third runner-up at the 2001 and 2002 pageants[11] and first runner-up at Miss Alabama 2003 pageant.[1]

Miss Alabama 2004[edit]

She was named Miss Leeds Area 2004, making her eligible to compete at the 2005 Miss Alabama pageant.

Downs won the competition in June 2004,[1] when she received her crown from outgoing Miss Alabama titleholder, Catherine Crosby.[12] This was her 5th time competing in the Miss Alabama pageant.[5][8]

Miss America 2005[edit]

Downs was Alabama's representative at the Miss America 2005 competition held in Atlantic City, New Jersey in September 2004. Her platform was "Curing Childhood Cancer."[13]

In the preliminary competition, Downs was announced as the sole winner of the Quality of Life Award.[14] For the talent portion of the competition, she sang Linda Eder's "I'm Afraid This Must be Love."[15]

After competing in casual wear, swimsuit, evening gown, and participating in a "pop quiz", only two state titleholders remained, Downs and Miss Louisiana 2004, Jennifer Dupont.[16] She then beat out Dupont after a head-to-head talent competition[16] for the 2005 title and was crowned by Miss America 2004, Ericka Dunlap, on September 18, 2004.[13][17][18][19] Along with the title of Miss America, Downs also won a $50,000 scholarship. Downs was the third Miss Alabama titleholder to win the Miss America title.[15]

Downs later stated that she received nearly $110,000 in scholarship money[4][5] during the five years she competed in the Miss Alabama and Miss America organizations. Downs is the only titleholder to reign for part of three calendar years.[citation needed] The pageant, traditionally held in September, was delayed four months to allow the Miss America Organization to secure a TV deal. Her successor, Jennifer Berry of Oklahoma, was crowned Miss America 2006 on January 21, 2006.

Downs Gunn later served as a judge for the final night of competition for the Miss America 2014 pageant in which Nina Davuluri was named Miss America.[10]

Personal life[edit]

After Downs married her college sweetheart, Andrew Gunn, in March 2008, she changed her name to Deidre Downs Gunn.[20][21] They had a son in 2010.[4][20] The couple later divorced.

Downs remarried in 2018 in a private ceremony at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Birmingham, Alabama.[15][22] Her wife, Abbott Jones, is an attorney and writer.[22][23] Downs is the first former Miss America national titleholder to enter a same-sex marriage.[24]


  1. ^ a b c "Downs wins Miss Alabama, Camper first runner-up". The Gadsden Times. June 13, 2004. ...took home the top prize after being named first runner-up in the contest last year.
  2. ^ "Miss Alabama Deidre Downs wins Miss America". USA Today. September 18, 2004.
  3. ^ "Miss Alabama". Miss America. Archived from the original on June 8, 2015. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e McDowell, Katie (May 17, 2016). "Why I Love Shelby County". Shelby County Reporter.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Miss America 2005, Deidre Downs". Pageantry Magazine.
  6. ^ Gunay, Defne (2004-10-20). "Cavalier Royalty". The Cavalier Daily. Archived from the original on 2011-06-17. Retrieved 2021-10-08.
  7. ^ "Deidre Downs: Samford's Miss America Charts Medical Future" (PDF). Samford University Seasons. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-02-17.
  8. ^ a b c d "Q+A Deidre Downs". Sports Illustrated. March 28, 2005.
  9. ^ a b c "Education and Training". Deidre Downs Gunn, M.D. Archived from the original on 2018-05-06. Retrieved 2018-05-05.
  10. ^ a b "The 2014 Miss America National Judges Panel Announced". PageantCast. August 21, 2013. Archived from the original on December 27, 2014.
  11. ^ Allen, Bob (September 21, 2004). "Miss America Member of CBF Church". Ethics Daily. ...Downs, who before this year finished as first runner up for Miss Alabama in 2003 and third runner up in 2001 and 2002.
  12. ^ "Birmingham's Deidre Downs crowned Miss Alabama 2004". Associated Press. 2004-06-13.
  13. ^ a b Johnston, Lauren (July 29, 2004). "Miss Ala. Wins Spiced-Up Pageant". CBS News.
  14. ^ "Miss Alabama 2016 Hayley Barber wins Miss America Quality of Life Award". September 7, 2016.
  15. ^ a b c Gore, Leada (April 16, 2018). "Who is Deidre Downs? Former Miss America weds girlfriend; Miss America pageant sends best wishes".
  16. ^ a b Dunn, Carl. "Making Talent Count At Miss America '05". Pageantry Magazine.
  17. ^ "Miss America 2005- Crowning: Deidre Downs, Miss Alabama". YouTube. November 22, 2012.
  18. ^ "County native is Miss America – Former Miss Shelby County crowned". Shelby County Reporter. September 21, 2004. First runner-up in the Miss Alabama pageant, Shannon Camper, will now serve as the state's winner.
  19. ^ Sinclair, Rachel (September 14, 2014). "10 years ago Deidre Downs Gunn became the last Miss Alabama to win Miss America".
  20. ^ a b Morton, Victor (April 16, 2018). "Miss America 2005 marries girlfriend in Alabama ceremony". The Washington Times.
  21. ^ Przybysz, Tracy. "America's Bride: The Exclusive Wedding of Miss America 2005, Deidre Downs" (PDF). Weddings. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-03-27. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  22. ^ a b "Former Miss America Winner Deidre Downs Gunn Marries Girlfriend in Romantic Southern Wedding". Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  23. ^ "Miss America 2005 marries same-sex partner in Alabama". NBC News. April 20, 2018.
  24. ^ Graham, Ginnie (2018-04-27). "Miss Oklahoma 1983 Trelynda Kerr has been a pioneer for LGBT in the pageant community". Tulsa World. Retrieved 2018-04-29.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by Miss America
Succeeded by
Preceded by Miss Alabama
Succeeded by