There she is: Miss America 2011 — and she’s barely old enough to drive!
Miss Nebraska Teresa Scanlan waved to the crowd after beating out a bevy of 52 other beauties to be crowned Miss America 2011 during the annual Miss America Pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
At 17, Scanlan is the youngest winner ever in the pageant’s history. Teresa, who completed high school at just 16, begins her reign with a $50,000 college scholarship and opportunity to advance her pageant platform of battling eating disorders.
Teresa succeeds Virginia native Caressa Cameron, who took the crown during last year’s pageant.
Pageant rules stipulate that the winner is selected from five finalists based a final question, with judges ranking the contestants in order based on their answer.
Scanlan faced a toughies: A question about the recent Julian Assange/Wikileaks Controversy: “Our security as a country must come first,” Teresa replied with authority, before adding that she understood that questions of “personal liberties were involved.”
Of course lots of the contest is more about looking, well, hot rather than hot-button issues.
This year’s Miss America Pageant also included another first: Miss Delaware Kayla Martell, who finished the pageant in the Top 10, is believed to be the only bald contestant in the pageant’s history. Martell, 21, has suffered hair loss due to alopecia since age 10. She took to the stage wearing a blonde wig, though she typically goes free of hair extensions in her daily life.
Miss Arkansas, Alyse Eady, 22, was christened first runner-up after treating the judges — which included Olympian Johnny Weir — to a ventiriloquist act complete with two dummies! Miss Hawaii Jalee Fuselier, Miss Washington Jacquie Brown, and Miss Oklahoma Emoly West rounded out the remainder of the Top 5.