Miss America Mallory Hagan: 'I needed to find myself'
Hagan says she moved from Alabama to New York City as soon as she turned 18 because she "needed to find [her]self."
"I just knew that the energy of NYC was something that I really loved," she tells the AP. "I was always a little more liberal-thinking than my hometown. And I just knew that I needed to get out for a little bit, and I needed to find myself."
And find herself she did, accomplishing a goal she's had since she was a young girl.
"We're super excited, super exhilarated, super proud of her. We're not extremely surprised, either," says her father, Phil Hagan.
Upon winning, Hagan receives not just the crown, but a $50,000 college scholarship and a year as a spokesperson and role model. Hagan says her platform is child sex abuse, which was an issue Hagan's mother encouraged her to advocate for.