‘I am living the American dream’: Miss America 2022, Emma Broyles, on being proud of our nation

Miss America 2022 Emma Broyles moments after being crowned on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. Broyles is the first Miss Alaska to win the national title

Miss America 2022 Emma Broyles moments after being crowned on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. Broyles is the first Miss Alaska to win the national title. (Photo courtesy of Jenn Cady)

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, thought she was a long shot for the crown when she competed in the national pageant this week. But then she made the top ten and then the top five.

“It just kept going. It kept going and before I knew it, they were putting a crown on my head and I was just so overwhelmed with emotion,” Broyles said the day after she was crowned. “Being the first Miss Alaska to be crowned Miss America means so much.”

The Associated Press reported that Broyles emerged as the winner 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.

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.

“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.”

The message resonated with people nationwide.

“My heart was just so warmed this morning when I woke up to hundreds of messages and comments from people saying ‘I am also neurodivergent,’” Broyles said on Friday.

 

Broyles said being crowned Miss America is “an incredible dream come true,” according to a statement announcing her win from the organization.

Not only is Broyles the first Miss Alaska to win the Miss America pageant, but pageant officials believe she’s also the first Korean American to win the title.

“As a Korean American, I am so grateful for the opportunity to compete alongside so many brilliant, talented women,” she said in a statement posted on Instagram. “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.”

Broyles said growing up, she didn’t see Korean women in beauty pageants. Now that she’s Miss America, she said she hopes to be an inspiration to younger girls who look like her.

“Nothing means more than knowing that there’s people out there that genuinely felt seen,” she said.

Broyles 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, a talent she showcased when she sang “Let Me Be Your Star” from the NBC musical program Smash.

Broyles said she planned on go to school to be a physician’s assistant since she wasn’t sure she’d be able to afford medical school. But that was before she won roughly $104,000 in scholarships from the Miss America pageant.

“It’s seriously going to change the trajectory of my life, and I have no idea what’s going to happen,” Broyles said. “But you know, my life motto as I said in the competition yesterday is YOLO. You only live once. I am excited to see what happens. I think that things always just kind of fall into place and things always happen for a reason.”

Broyles said she hopes she can continue to highlight the humility and resilience of the citizens of her home state as she wears her new crown and title over the next year.

Source: Tegan Hanlon and Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media

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