Anchorage’s Emma Broyles, representing the state of Alaska, was crowned Miss America at an event Thursday marking the competition’s 100th anniversary.
Broyles, 20, claimed the centennial crown and a $100,000 college scholarship for her victory in the competition, held this year at a Connecticut casino.
Broyles, who attended Service High School, is the first Miss Alaska to win a Miss America competition.
She is a junior honors student at Arizona State University, where she is majoring in biomedical sciences. She won the Miss Alaska title in June.
Her social impact initiative revolves around the Special Olympics, which she describes as having a positive impact on the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and their families, including her own. Her brother, who has Down syndrome, became a Special Olympics athlete more than 12 years ago.
During the talent portion of the competition, Broyles — who also studies voice performance at Arizona State — sang “Let Me Be Your Star,” a song from the Broadway-centered television show “Smash.”
Onstage, she responded with candor to a question about navigating social media while maintaining transparency, according to NJ.com.
“I am real, I have flaws, I have ADHD, I have dermatillomania (chronic skin-picking),” said Broyles, who aspires to be a dermatologist. She said that women like her who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are often never diagnosed.
In the competition’s final round, she was asked what she would do if a male representative of a major sponsor made inappropriate comments or sexual advances toward her.
“I know in my heart that as a woman, I am never going to let somebody treat me like (that), because women should never be treated like objects,” Broyles said, according to USA Today. “Women can be angry! We cannot be content with things that are happening.”
What began as a 1921 Atlantic City beauty pageant has evolved away from the emphasis on looks alone — contestants are no longer judged on physical appearance — with a new focus on leadership, talent and communication skills.
The Miss America finale that historically has been featured in a primetime television broadcast was available only to stream this year via NBC’s Peacock service.