Miss Nebraska, Teresa Scanlan, was crowned Miss America on Saturday, making her the youngest ever winner at 17 on the 90th anniversary of the pageant.
Miss Arkansas, Alyse Eady, won $25,000, as the first runner-up, while Miss Hawaii, Jalee Fuselier, won $20,000 for third place. Along with the title of Miss America 2011, Teresa won a $50,000 scholarship sponsored by Artistry exclusively by Amway to continue her education.
Scanlan's victory, on Saturday, came largely based on her strong performance in the talent round. She performed 'White Water Chopsticks' on the piano. Her opinion on the Wikileaks may have also given her some browny points. In her opinion, security should come before public access to government information.
“You know when it came to that situation, it was actually based on espionage, and when it comes to the security of our nation, we have to focus on security first and then people’s right to know, because it’s so important that everybody who’s in our borders is safe and so we can’t let things like that happen, and they must be handled properly,” she said.
In her bio for the pageant she has written that she planned to study American politics at Patrick Henry College in Virginia after her reign as Miss America. She also hopes to attend law school and enter politics eventually. Scanlan, is a high school graduate from the western Nebraska town of Gering, and was homeschooled till junior year of high school. She is the middle one of seven children.
Miss Nebraska claims her focus during her run as Miss America will be on eating disorders.
She has been participating in pageants since she turned 13 and has won a host of beauty contests. Her hobbies include making clothes out of duct tape.
This year's panel of seven judges included: Joy Beyhar of TV's The View; Debbye Turner Bell, Miss America 1990 and now a veterinary doctor; Marc Cherry, the creator of Desperate Housewives; Tony Dolovani of Dancing with the Stars; actress Marilu Henner; Taryn Rose, a shoe designer and orthopedic surgeon; and country singer Mark Wills.
Two contestants were voted into the Top 15 by their fellow contestants, namely Miss Kentucky Djuan Trent and Miss Oregon Stephenie Steers. The pageant was held at the Planet Hollywood casino-resort in Las Vegas.
Miss America Teresa Scanlan enjoys the youngest ever tag since the minimum age rules were implemented in 1938, before which the record was held by Marion Bergeron, who was crowned in 1933 when she was just 15.