New Miss America 2008

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LAS VEGAS (Jan. 26) – Miss Michigan Kirsten Haglund, a 19-year-old aspiring Broadway star, was crowned Miss America 2008 on Saturday in a live show billed as the unveiling of the 87-year-old pageant’s new, hipper look.
Haglund, of Farmington Hills, Mich., sang “Over the Rainbow” and walked a crowd-pleasing strut in a black and gold bikini to clinch the title. She beat Miss Indiana Nicole Elizabeth Rash, the first runner up, and Miss Washington Elyse Umemoto, the second runner up for the $50,000 scholarship and year of travel that comes with the crown.Haglund, who studies music at the University of Cincinnati, grew up in a pageant family. Her mother is an active volunteer, and her grandmother Iora Hunt, competed for the crown as Miss Michigan 1944. Hunt joined Haglund at a news conference.”The only words that come to my mind is that this is a dream come true, not just for me but for my family as well,” Haglund said. “I’m not just standing up here alone.”Haglund, a cheery, classic blond, wore a revealing silver sequined dress and black bikini during the evening gown and swimsuit portions of the pageant. As her platform issue, she promised to advocate for awareness of eating disorders, an illness from which she has recovered.
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