During the most watched Miss USA® competition in six years, Shandi Finnessey was crowned Miss USA® 2004 in the famed Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, CA before a live audience of 13 million viewers.
Shandi spent her year championing the official causes of MISS USA®, which are breast and ovarian cancer education, research, and legislation. She traveled nationally and abroad as an advocate for organizations such as the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and Gilda's Club, among others. To date, she has helped to raise over 30 million dollars for breast and ovarian cancer research. Her year as MISS USA took her all over the USA as well as to Ecuador, Korea, Thailand, Cuba, St. Maarten, and Germany.
Shandi joined forces with Wayne Newton and the USO in support of our servicemen and women. As she toured the US and abroad visiting our military troops at various bases, hospitals and celebrations, she expressed a deep appreciation for their services. With the help of the USO, Shandi was able to bring a piece of home to our men and women who serve our country.
Shandi is an honors graduate from Lindenwood University where she received a BS in Psychology, which she completed in only three and a half years. There, Finnessey conducted research on androgyny that proved significant and was published in the SEPA Journal. She began working on her Masters in Counseling but postponed her studies after becoming Miss USA.
Dedicated to helping children and people with disabilities, Shandi works to promote inclusion of individuals with mental challenges. One of her proudest achievements was publishing a children's book on this very subject titled "The Furrtails," which can be found through amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. Infinity Publishing awarded the distinguished AWMAD for Authors Who Make a Difference to her children's book. She is currently working on her second children's book titled "Suzanna the Banana."
Shandi can currently be seen on GSN, the Network for Games, co-hosting its highest rated game show, Lingo, with Chuck Woolery, as well as hosting the late night live game show Playmania. She can also be seen co-hosting The Ultimate Blackjack Tour on CBS.