Miss Colorado Nurse Kelley Johnson Wins $10K More Thanks to Ellen Degeneres

We admit that our predictions aren't always flawless. But every once in a while, we get one right.

Earlier this week, we argued that Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson had won the Miss America pageant even though she finished as second runner-up thanks to the attention she'd received for her monologue about nursing (she's a registered nurse) as delivered during the talent competition and her suggestion that talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres's face be put on the $10 bill.

Afterward, Johnson earned even more positive PR when The View hosts Michelle Collins and Joy Behair mocked her monologue, inciting a Twitter backlash under the hashtag #nursesunite. And the subsequent non-apology apology aired on the next episode of the show only fueled the fire.

The latest payoff for Johnson was also one we (and pretty much everyone else, frankly) saw coming: an appearance on the Ellen show.

During her sit-down yesterday, Johnson talked about her $10 bill suggestion, delivered during the final stages of the contest. "I didn't think I would make it that far," she said. "I was just so blessed by that. And then backstage they said, 'You might have a chance to be on Ellen DeGeneres.' And I started crying! I was like, 'Oh my gosh, she might notice!'"

She did — and she was also impressed by the monologue. "A lot of people told me not to do it," Johnson conceded. "But I'm a nurse, and that's my talent — taking care of people.... I wanted to give the nurses who don't have that voice that voice and that recognition."

Johnson noted that her earnings from her second-runner-up finish allowed her to pay off all her student loans — but now she's thinking about going to graduate school. And lo and behold, DeGeneres presented her with $10,000 toward that goal — hopefully with actual money rather than the $10 bill Ellen mock-ups used as props during the segment.

Look below to see two videos — the first featuring DeGeneres amusingly previewing Johnson's upcoming appearance, the second showcasing the two of them on set together.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >