The 92nd Miss America annual show was held at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip after a week of preliminary competitions and months of preparations for the title holders from all fifty states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
23-year-old Mallory Hagan from Brooklyn, New York, has won the title of Miss America – beating out 13,000 other contestants. She won the beauty pageant last Saturday (12th January) after tap dancing to James Brown’s ‘Get Up Off of That Thing’ in Las Vegas and answering a question about whether armed guards belong in grade schools by saying: “the nation should not fight violence with violence”.
Miss South Carolina Ali Rogers, placed second, and Miss Oklahoma Alicia Clifton, finished third.
One of her main prizes is a USD 50,000 college scholarship. She hopes that the scholarship money will go towards her education in obtaining a degree in cosmetics and fragrance marketing.
However, her year of reign as Miss America will be spent as a spokesperson for the Children’s Miracle Network. She will go on a nationwide tour raising money for the organization’s official charity.
Ms Mallory Hagan defeated other competitors who made headlines for their own stories.
Miss District of Columbia, a close runner up on Saturday, plans to undergo a preventive double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer, which killed her mother and grandmother.
Miss Montana, 18-year-old Alexis Wineman, was the pageant’s first autistic contestant who managed to advance to the semi-finals.
Miss Iowa, Mariah Cary, who’s also 18, has Tourette’s syndrome. She was diagnosed at the age of eight. Today she tours her state spreading awareness of the condition.
Miss Maine, Molly Bouchard, has lost more than 50 pounds before winning her state crown.
And lastly Miss Puerto Rico, who after twisting her ankle and fainting during the competition, had to add a pair of crutches to her red swimsuit. She introduced herself to the audience by saying: “I’m here to make the crutches look good”.