Last month, Marie Claire published an article about how Miss America is no longer just a beauty pageant, but now attracts women with serious political ambitions. I cannot find it anywhere online (why, Marie Claire, why?), so you’ll have to take my vague word for it. In the mean time, the 2013 pageant took place this weekend in Las Vegas, and America, we have a new Miss! Her name is Mallory Hagan, and she’s a beautiful blond tap-dancer from Brooklyn. Here are five things that will surprise and impress you about the new Miss America.
1. She’s the first Miss New York to become Miss America in 29 years. The last Miss New York to become Miss America was Vanessa Williams. Now a successful actress, Williams had to give up her 1984 crown after nude photos she had posed for surfaced. The last Miss New York to keep her Miss America crown was the awesomely named Tawny Little, who won in 1976.
2. She’s up on current events. When Miss California was asked about euthanasia in a pre-pageant interview, she replied, “That’s a vaccine, right?” Dear, sweet, simple Miss California. But Hagan knows her current events, deftly answering a question about the NR A’s recent plan to post armed guards in public schools to prevent mass shootings. “I don’t think the proper way to fight violence is with violence,” Hagan said. “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.”
3. She’s originally from Alabama. Hagan’s hometown is Opelika, Alabama, and she attended Auburn University in her home state before deciding to move to New York in 2008. “I moved to NY in October 2008 with less than a grand in my pocket, a BIG suitcase &…a lot of hope,” she says. She’s currently a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and she lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
4. She has her eye on the corner office. Hagan plans to graduate with a degree in advertising and marketing, and she says her goal is to enter the field of cosmetic and fragrance marketing. She says her long-term ambition is to become global marketing director for a cosmetics company.
5. She’s a tap-dancer. Hagan spent the talent portion of the competition tap-dancing in a sequined leather outfit to James Brown’s “Get Up Off of That Thing.” Because now matter how sophisticated and 21st-century Miss America tries to make itself, it’s always just a little bit weird. Photo: Miss America