Many people might not know but the girl playing the role of Jill Riley in one of television’s biggest hit “Baywatch” is actually the winner of Miss Universe 1980, Shawn Weatherly of the USA.
The actress won the Miss USA 1980 title representing the state of South Carolina. She is the second woman from South Carolina to win the Miss USA title.
What is amazing about her win is the fact that the only other Miss USA winner from South Carolina, Miriam Stevenson, also won at Miss Universe in 1954. That’s basically 2/2 for South Carolina, making it one of the most successful states in beauty pageants.
After winning the title, Shawn embarked on a career on television becoming part of the first season of “Baywatch” and the reality show “Oceanquest”, which had Weatherly swimming with sharks. She also played a small part on a “Dukes of Hazzard” episode and in various other shows.
Weatherly then played the main role in the 1986 comedy film “Police Academy 3: Back in Training”. In 2014, she was in the horror comedy film, “Love in the Time of Monsters”.
When she competed at Miss Universe 1980, Shawn Weatherly led in all rounds of the competition. In fact, Shawn Weatherly got the highest scores by a large margin from the preliminaries up to the finals night. Her closest rivals were Miss Scotland Linda Gallagher, who was first runner-up and Shawn’s roommate, and top favorite among fans Denyse Nottle of New Zealand.
Shawn Weatherly was the fifth Miss Universe from the United States. After her victory in 1980, no Miss USA would become Miss Universe until Chelsi Smith in 1995.