Emma Broyles, from Anchorage, was crowned Miss America Thursday night. She’s the first Miss Alaska to win the Miss America competition in the event’s 100-year history.
Broyles, 20, is a Service High School graduate and currently in her junior year at the Honors College at Arizona State University where she’s majoring in biomedical studies and minoring in voice performance, according to the Miss America Organization.
The Associated Press reported that Broyles emerged as the winner Thursday out of 51 contestants representing the 50 states and the District of Columbia at the competition at a Connecticut casino.
Alaskans across the state celebrated the news, posting messages on social media congratulating Broyles.
The Washington Post reported that Broyles impressed the judges during interview segments, where she spoke about the importance of being vulnerable on social media and about being diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and dermatillomania, a skin picking disorder.
“One thing that I’ve really tried to do, especially as Miss Alaska, is show people that I’m real. I have flaws. I have ADHD, I have dermatillomania, which is a form of OCD,” Broyles said. “I’ve struggled with all of those things, and because of that, I am a better person.”
Broyles spoke about how many women with ADHD go undiagnosed, and how she got her diagnosis after hitting “rock bottom” during the pandemic, isolated in her dorm room, reported The Washington Post.
Contestants were also asked how they’d deal with a situation another winner had faced. Broyles was asked what she’d do if a male executive of a major Miss America sponsor made inappropriate comments and sexual advances toward her.
“I am never going to let somebody treat me like that, because women should never be treated like they are objects,” she responded, reported USA Today.
Broyles said being crowned Miss America is “an incredible dream come true,” according to a statement announcing her win from the organization.
“As a Korean-American, I am so grateful for the opportunity to compete alongside so many brilliant, talented women,” she said. “I hope to live up to the legacy, serve as a positive role model for women of all ages and make the Miss America Organization proud. It’s been an honor to represent the great state of Alaska and I look forward to making a significant impact through my social impact initiative on the national stage.”