Suzette Charles competed as Miss New Jersey in the Miss America 1984 pageant held in Atlantic City New Jersey on September 17, 1983. She finished the pageant as the first runner-up.

In July 1984 the reigning Miss America Vanessa L. Williams, was forced to resign seven weeks prior to the end of her time as Miss America (after the publication of nude photos of her in Penthouse). Suzette Charles replaced her, serving as Miss America 1984 for the remaining seven weeks. Williams was allowed to keep the bejeweled crown and scholarship money. She is officially recognized by the Miss America Organization as "Miss America 1984"; Suzette Charles is recognized as "Miss America 1984 B".

Thirty-two years later on September 13, 2015, Vanessa Williams returned to the Miss America stage when she served as head judge for Miss America 2016. The pageant began with issuing an apology to Williams for her forced resignation in 1984. Charles commented on the apology the day after the event, stating in an interview with Inside Edition that she was perplexed over it and suggested that it was given for the purpose of ratings.

Suzette Charles currently holds the record for the shortest reign as Miss America.

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