Heather Whitesone was not the first deaf contestant in the Miss America
pageant; she was the only one to win the Pageant – in 1995.
During the Pageant week impression was that she spoke orally and knew no
sign language. But when two sign language reporters came to interview her,
she quickly joined in the conversation in ASL.
Yet after she won the Pageant, she told a TV interviewer that she knows no
Also angering the Deaf Community was her pro-CI views, including
getting herself implanted.
These are part of the reasons why the Deaf Community never fully embraced
her as their own.