Mallory Hytes Hagan, the 23-year-old beauty from Brooklyn, New York has been crowned Miss America 2013 and will compete at the Miss Universe pageant to be held later this year.
Hagen was successful in beating out 52 other young and beautiful contestants as she tap danced her way to the finale. “I can’t believe this is happening,” she said with tears in her eyes, after the last year's winner, Laura Kaeppeler, placed the crown on her head.
Hagan ran on a platform of child sexual abuse prevention and won $50,000 scholarship prize after successfully competing in both the bikini competition, in which she wore a black swim suit, and the evening gown competition, where she donned a white one-shoulder dress.
During the interview session, Miss New York was asked if she believes putting security guards in schools is the right way to stop more tragedies like Newtown shootings from taking place. Hagen confidently replied that “I actually don’t think the proper way to fight violence is with violence,” and stressed the importance of educating the public on proper gun use.
She impressed the judges with her tap dance at James Brown’s “Get up off that thing” during the talent competition and said she wanted to become a cosmetics executive some time down the road. For now, Hagen will be spending the whole next year touring the country and speaking to groups for raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network, an official charity of the Miss America Organization.
During the entire show, there were some big moments such as a dance number on “What makes you beautiful”, a "not impressed" face by gold medal winning judge McKayla Maroney and host, Brooke Burke Charvet giving out her new fitness DVD.
In the three-day preliminary competition, the contestants were divided into three groups and each competed in a different category in the preliminary rounds. The results of each competition were added up into the final score. Preliminary rounds and the talent competition together counted for 30 percent, while the swim suit and the evening gown portion made up 20 points.
Second runner-up was Miss South Carolina, Ali Rogers, while the third runner-up was Miss Oklahoma, Alicia Clifton.
Telling about her experience as Miss America, last year’s winner, Laura Kaeppeler, said her last year had been nothing less than a roller-coaster ride.
“It is an extremely unusual year in that you are one day Laura from Wisconsin, and the next minute you are Miss America, and you are thrown into this crazy year of travel, appearances and nonstop schedule,” Kaeppeler said. “It really pushes you to the limit in what you think you are capable of."