Miss Alaska, Emma Broyles, wins Miss America

Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 6:45 PM AKST|Updated: Dec. 16, 2021 at 7:42 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Miss Alaska Emma Broyles was crowned Miss America on Thursday, becoming the first ever Alaskan to win the title.

Broyles attends Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University, as a biomedical sciences major with a minor in voice performance, according to the Miss America organization.

“The last 12 hours have been such a crazy whirlwind and I’m just so fortunate that Alaska is able to get the recognition that it deserves. I think that this is going to be a really cool thing for our community back home and for our state,” Broyles told Alaska’s News Source. “They said, ‘Miss’, and they had a little bit of a pause for dramatic effect, and then I heard Alaska, and oh my gosh. I just cried tears of joy which, anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not really a happy crier. I have never cried tears of joy before but I was bawling like a baby.

“I didn’t know what to do, where to go, I just kind of knelt down and let (2020 Miss America) Camille (Schrier) do her thing and my legs were shaking, my arms were shaking, my heart was racing,” she continued. “It was just such an incredible moment and in that moment I just felt so proud that I had represented Alaska, and the fact that I get to bring this title home and do so many cool things as Miss America back home in Anchorage is such a special feeling for me, really.”

Broyles is a Service High School graduate who was born and raised in Anchorage and had already received $3,770 in scholarships. According to the Associated Press, she receives a $100,000 college scholarship with her title in the 100th Miss America pageant. Historically, the finale of the competition is featured on primetime television, but this year was streamed on NBC’s Peacock streaming service, according to the Associated Press.

Broyles was crowned Miss Alaska in June, according to the state scholarship organization. The honors college at Arizona State celebrated her win with a profile on its website. According to that profile, Broyles began her involvement with the Miss America program at age 15. She was also crowned Miss Alaska’s Outstanding Teen in 2017.

Broyles, whose social impact initiative is building community through the Special Olympics, has been volunteering with that organization for more than a decade, since her brother became a Special Olympics athlete, according to the profile by the Barrett Honors College. During her time at Service, Broyles said she was the Partners Club President as Service High School was recognized as one of the top 30 schools in the nation for inclusion.

“As Miss America, I’m really looking forward to being able to impact communities all over the nation and hopefully inspire people to be more open-minded and be more empathetic,” Broyles said. “People with intellectual disabilities ... can have the tools and can be equipped to be incredible and to embrace every aspect of them and to also make a difference in their communities, and so having the support of Special Olympics Alaska meant the world to me and I’m so excited to be able to partner with Special Olympics North America now to kind of bring Miss America organization and Special Olympics together, because these are two organizations that have very similar values.”

Broyles said she answered questions about Alaska for other contestants, discussing the midnight sun and the winter darkness. Broyles said she loves skiing and fishing and is looking forward to returning to her home state. Broyles said that she and her family took three flights to travel to the Miss America competition, and had to reschedule their return trip after Broyles won Miss America late Thursday night.

“I’m excited to make Alaska proud,” Broyles said. “The reason I am who I am is because of the fact that I was born and raised in Anchorage, and both of my parents were also born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. So I think it’s a pretty neat thing to be able to be a part of a community that means so much to me and to represent that community as Miss America and now to come back and do so many cool things as Miss America within my community.

“I love Alaska so much and I am so honored that I am able to be Miss America and represent Alaska,” she said.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy also extended his congratulations to Broyles on social media following the announcement.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with additional information.

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