Rebecca Pollard, Culture Editor
For those of you who don’t know, Miss America 2016 was crowned on September 17, and with her crowning, she took New York’s three-year reign over Miss America. In 2013, Mallory Hagan from Brooklyn took the crown. In 2014, the crown was given to Nina Davuluri from Syracuse, and 2015’s Miss Kira Kazantsev came from Manhattan. However bitter I am that New York lost their consecutive streak as Miss America, Miss Georgia deserves the 2016 reign.
Betty Cantrell is just 20 years old, and has only been participating in pageants for one year. Her ambition is to end up on Broadway, which if you saw the talent portion of the competition, you know that it’s a very realistic goal. She wowed the crowd with her passionate classical opera while looking absolutely stunning, making her incredible performance seemingly effortless. Her question portion of the competition was not quite as stellar though. When asked if she thought that Tom Brady had cheated in the recent scandal, and if he deserved the suspension he received, she was visibly confused and flustered. Miss Georgia managed to answer the question that she clearly knew nothing about with grace, simply stating that she would have had to have been there in person to know for sure, but that he probably did cheat if there was “any question about it.”
She seems as real as a girl can be while participating in such a rigid competition, with genuine happiness and a smile that doesn’t look too forced. Her not one, but two trip-ups during the gown portion of the contest made her seem even more real, and her confidence after the setbacks is admirable.
Although people tend to put down most pageants, Miss America is an organization that gives women fantastic opportunities. Besides the confidence and new friends that girls get from participating, they also win huge scholarships, and get to promote their platforms (which is pageant speak for the issue that they feel most strongly about fixing). For example, Miss Georgia won $50,000 with her crown, along with an entire year of travelling around the U.S. and promoting her platform, “Healthy Children, Strong America.”
The four runner-ups also won large scholarships. Their names and prizes went as follows; Fourth runner-up, Miss Alabama – $10,000. Third runner-up, Miss Louisiana – $15,000. Second runner-up, Miss Colorado – $20,000. First runner-up, Miss Mississippi – $25,000.
Even though this year’s Miss New York didn’t even make the top 15 (way to let us down Miss New York 2015), it was another spectacular pageant with many ambitious and impressive young women. The Miss America organization has been supporting women since 1921, and with their 100-year anniversary fast approaching, their reputation is only getting better with more and more support coming from the public. Congratulations to Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell! You can follow her year reign at MissAmerica.org.