Emma Broyles makes history as Miss America’s first Korean American, Alaskan winner in its 100 years

Emma Broyles makes history as Miss America’s first Korean American, Alaskan winner in its 100 years
Bryan Ke
December 20, 2021
Miss Alaska, Emma Broyles, was crowned Miss America 2022 last week, making her the first Korean American and the first Alaskan to win the title in the beauty pageant’s 100-year history.
Breaking records: Speaking to the Associated Press on Friday after the event, Broyles, 20, admitted she was stunned when they announced she was the winner at the pageant, which took place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut.

  • And then they said Alaska, and I said, ’No way. Are you sure? Do you want to check that card again?’” Broyles, a native of Anchorage, Alaska, recalled. “I could not believe it. I am so, so grateful to everybody back at home who’s been supporting me for so long, and I’m so glad that I’m able to bring home the title of Miss America to the state of Alaska for the first time in history.”
  • Although the beauty pageant is already 100 years old, Broyles is only the 94th winner of the annual show. In addition to the event’s cancellation last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Miss America discontinued its events from 1928 to 1932 as a result of financial issues and protests from both religious and women’s groups.
  • Miss Alabama, Lauren Bradford, placed second during Friday’s event, while Miss Massachusetts, Elizabeth Pierre, placed third. Broyles reportedly won $100,000 in scholarship money in addition to a six-figure salary. She bested 50 other women representing different states and the country’s capital at the event.
  • As for her future as a winner, the Miss America Organization said in a statement that Broyles will travel in the coming months and work to inspire as both an advocate and a role model for young women. She plans on moving back to Alaska to pursue her dream of becoming a dermatologist. 
The wow factor: Broyles performed “Let Me Be Your Star” from the American musical drama television series “Smash” during the talent portion of Miss America 2022.
  • During the final round of the pageant, judges asked the contestant what she would do if a major Miss America sponsor made sexual advances toward her, to which Broyles replied, “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.”
  • While being interviewed, Broyles revealed she has ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) and dermatillomania, a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which is also known as a skin picking disorder.
  • I have struggled with all of these things and because of that, I am a better person,” she said. “During COVID, it was an incredibly difficult time for me, being isolated in my college dorm for so long. It was that point when I hit rock bottom when I realized I can be so much more than that.”
Other details: Broyles’ grandparents emigrated from Korea before her mother was born around 50 years ago, she told The Associated Press, adding that her mother, who is full Korean, was born and raised in Anchorage.
  • Before being crowned Miss America, Broyles was named Miss Alaska’s Outstanding Teen in 2017 at 15, Arizona State University (ASU) News reported. She then competed in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant in Florida that same year before taking a break from beauty pageants. She returned to the circuit in June 2021 and won the Miss Alaska 2021 title.
  • Broyles volunteered with the Special Olympics when her older brother, who has a mental disability, began competing as an athlete.
  • As a sibling of an individual with an intellectual disability and Special Olympics athlete, I have witnessed the positive impact Special Olympics has on the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, their families and communities,” she said. “Special Olympics is an organization that my family and I have supported throughout my life, and I am so excited to continue to share its mission on the Miss America stage.”
  • She also told ASU News that being Miss Alaska lets her “have such a large public platform to use as a vehicle to speak out about important issues and connect with members of my community and hear their stories.” 
Featured Image via ET Canada
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