Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson Explains Her Miss America Nurse Monologue to Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres and Miss Colorado
Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson explained to Ellen DeGeneres on Thursday's show why she chose to do a monologue about being a nurse Michael Rozman/Warner Bros

It was a moment that had some viewers scratching their heads as they watched the Miss America pageant on Sunday. Why did Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson choose to deliver a monologue in her nurse's uniform during the talent portion of the show?

"I am a nurse and that's my talent, taking care of people and caring about other people," Johnson, 22, told Ellen DeGeneres when she appeared on the comedian's daytime talk show on Thursday, Sept. 17. "I wanted to give the nurses that don't have that voice, that voice and that recognition of somebody going up there and just being a little bit different and unique."

Johnson, who had said during the pageant that DeGeneres should be on the $10 bill, admitted that a lot of people told her not to do the monologue. During her talent performance, Johnson had a stethoscope slung around her neck and talked about an Alzheimer's disease patient named Joe, who she said reminded her of why she became a nurse in the first place.

She told DeGeneres, 57, that she doesn't regret her choice. "It was just so much fun to perform that and see it trend on Twitter and Facebook, especially being able to bring all those nurses together and have everybody standing up for our profession and giving them the voice that they deserve," said Johnson, who was the second runner-up to the winner, Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell. "They work so hard and they are lifesavers and that was all the message I wanted to give. It's about them, not about me."

The day after the pageant aired, The View co-hosts Michelle Collins and Joy Behar made some controversial comments about Johnson's speech, leading to a backlash on social media as the hashtag #NursesUnite trended and nurses called for an apology. The pair clarified their comments on the show on Wednesday.

"I was just not paying attention," Behar said. "I didn't know she was a nurse. I'm used to seeing them in gowns and bathing suits. It's not like I was trying to be funny. It was just stupid and inattentive on my part."

Collins insisted that they were talking about the talent competition and "it got misconstrued." "We love nurses," she said. "We adore you. We respect you."

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