Culture

Emma Broyles Makes History as the First Korean-American To Win Miss America

The 2022 champion is also the first Miss Alaska to win the title.

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Emma Broyles is making history as the first Korean-American and Miss Alaska to win Miss America.

Broyles was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. The winner’s mother is of full Korean descent, as her grandparents moved to the city from Korea 50 years ago. As the 2022 champion, she will receive $100,000 USD in scholarship and a six-figure salary to aid her duties as Miss America.

A misconception often held about the pageant is that it emphasizes looks and unrealistic beauty standards. Although that was the case back in the day, Miss America has undergone waves of feminism to encompass leadership, communication skills and talent. Every year, the winner chooses a social impact initiative for the year, and her appearances and duties will revolve around the said initiative. Broyles has chosen the Special Olympics for her brother Brendan, who has Down syndrome and competes in athletic events. Her mother is also a teacher at her alma mater Service High School, with a focus on special education.

The Miss America winner hopes to promote inclusion within a tumultuous political climate where opinions are divided. “Getting to have this platform to speak about why inclusion is important during a time like this when our country is so divided,” she said. “And to speak about why it’s important to be compassionate, why it’s important to be empathetic, why it’s important to keep an open mind and to be willing to listen to those who aren’t like you or maybe have different opinions than you, I think that this is a time where we need that more than ever.”

Broyles added that she has witnessed the impact the Special Olympics can have on families of people with intellectual disabilities and hopes to bring it forward by serving as a role model for young women. The Alaskan native is currently a junior studying biomedical sciences and voice performance at Arizona State University, with hopes to work as a dermatologist shortly after enrolling in medical school.

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