A 23-year-old beauty from Brooklyn, New York, has won the title of Miss America – eclipsing 13,000 contestants including the pageant’s first autistic contestant and a woman with Tourettes.
Mallory Hagan won the beauty pageant on Saturday night after tap dancing to James Brown’s ‘Get Up Off of That Thing’ in Las Vegas and answering the question about whether armed guards belong in grade schools by saying we should not fight violence with violence.
She added: “I think the proper way is to educate people on guns and the ways we can use them properly. We can lock them up, we can have gun safety classes, we can have a longer waiting period.”
Hagan defeated Miss South Carolina Ali Rogers, who won the second place, and Miss Oklahoma Alicia Clifton, who finished third.
“Sandy may have swept away our shores, but never our spirit. I’m Miss New York, Mallory Hagan,” the beauty said when introducing herself to the nation on the show on Saturday night.
Swarmed by hugs and smiles from dozens of other contestants, Miss America 2013 balanced an armful of roses below her silver crown, one she will keep for one year while additionally awarded with a $50,000 college scholarship, reports The Daily Mail.
The former Fashion Institute of Technology student, whose platform was stopping child sexual abuse, revealed that she intends to use money to obtain a degree in cosmetics and fragrance marketing according to her bio.
But first Hagan is expected to spend her reign on a nationwide speaking tour and raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network, the organization’s official charity.
The beauty was crowned Miss Brooklyn three years ago.
“I moved to NY in October 2008 with less than a grand in my pocket, a BIG suitcase &…a lot of hope,” says Hagan, who hails from Opelika, Ala.
She attended Auburn University before deciding to pursue her dreams in New York in 2008. During her reign as Miss New York, the 23-year-old focused on Child Sexual Abuse Awareness and Prevention.
“Hagan has chosen to honor the women in her family who have been victims of sexual abuse by sharing their personal stories and encouraging others to take a stand,” reads her Miss New York profile. In a recent interview, Hagan described her love of Brooklyn, her home since 2008.
“I love the diversity in Brooklyn, that you can be in a Hasidic neighborhood one day, a Russian one the next day, and a Latino one after that,” Hagan, who has lived in Bed-Stuy, Sunset Park and Williamsburg, told reporters.
As the show came to its conclusion, Miss America 2012 Maura Kaeppeler pinned the shining crown onto Hagan’s hair as the new Miss America mouthed, “Oh, my God. Thank you.”
The winner ended the three decade long dry spell for New York contestants. Vanessa Williams was the last Miss New York to win the crown in 1984, but she had to resign after racy photos surfaced.