Mallory Hagan, the new Miss America, is a plucky Brooklynite who performed a rousing Vegas showgirl routine and took a tough stand against guns on her way to capturing 92nd Miss America title.
Hagan was irrepressible from the moment she introduced herself. “Sandy may have swept away our shores, but never our spirit. I’m Miss New York, Mallory Hagan,” she said.
Miss South Carolina, Ali Rogers, was first runner up, and Miss Oklahoma, Alicia Clifton, was second runner up. Miss Wyoming, Lexie Madden and Miss Iowa, Mariah Cary, were the other top finalists.
It was a stellar night that seemed to have as many causes represented as there were states.
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The pageant likes to encourage activism and talent to counter the beauty aspects of the competition.
In the talent competition, Hagan did a rousing tap dance to James Brown’s “Get Up Off of That Thing.” She also gave a courageous answer to her question: Should grade schools be staffed by armed guards? Hagan said fighting violence with violence was not the answer.
Many of the contestants brought with them inspiring stories about overcoming adversities. Miss District of Columbia, Allyn Rose, 24, revealed she has undergoing a radical double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer because she is genetically predisposed to the disease.
Semi-finalist Alexis Wineman, 18, Miss Montana, is autistic. “I have overcame a lot. I have overcome so many of my symptoms,” she said.
And, Mariah Cary, also 18, representing Iowa, has Tourette’s Syndrome. “I made a choice early in life, that I wanted to use my condition to empower other people, not just kids who have Tourette’s, but anyone facing adversity of any kind,” she said.
Miss Maine, Molly Bouchard, said she lost more than 50 pounds on her way to winning the state crown.
Hagen was crowned by last year’s winner Laura Kaeppeler.