Miss Arkansas nabs crown and title at Miss America pageant

by Garry Watts September 21, 2016, 1:25

From left, Savvy Shields, Hannah Brewer, Rachel Wyatt and Caroline Carothers appear onstage during the 2017 Miss America Competition at Boardwalk Hall Arena, Sept. 11, 2016, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Last month, she revealed via Instagram that #EatBetterLiveBetter is her Miss America platform.

Miss Arkansas Savvy Shields has claimed the title of 2017's Miss America.

Skidmore, who is 21, is from Calico Rock and is a senior at the University of Arkansas majoring in broadcast journalism.

The winners were chosen by a panel of celebrity judges that included singer Ciara, Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas, actress Sara Foster and entrepreneur Mark Cuban, among others.

In 2014, the Miss America pageant accidentally showed a wardrobe malfunction on stage as co-host Chris Harrison walked in front of Miss Nebraska Megan Swanson.

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Missouri's Erin O'Flaherty, who in June became the first openly lesbian contestant in the history of the almost century-old pageant, failed to make the first cut of 15 selected from 52 entrants from the 50 US states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

She did not make the top 15. Miss America will keep it in play for the foreseeable future.

Decried by feminists for what some see as an outdated emphasis on physical beauty, but defended by proponents for awarding scholarships and promoting achievement in the arts and professions, the pageant has struggled to remain relevant.

Then came the talent competition, which also featured a contemporary dance to a Carrie Underwood song by Miss South Carolina and baton twirling by Miss Texas.

She was forced to surrender her crown when it emerged that she had posed nude for Penthouse magazine. The Miss America Organization also provides young women with a vehicle to further their personal and professional goals and instills within them a spirit of community service through a variety of nationwide community-based programs.

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