London – An Ivy League graduate and national dance champion from North Dakota was crowned Miss America on Sunday, becoming the first contestant from the state to win the nearly 100-year-old contest.
According to Reuters, Cara Mund, a graduate of Brown University, who has been accepted to Notre Dame’s law school, trained for several summers with the world-famous Rockettes.
Mund, 23, was one of 51 contestants in the pageant, representing the 50 United States and the capital Washington.
Mund, who adopted the Make-a-Wish foundation which benefits children with life-threatening conditions as her platform for the competition, performed a jazz dance to “The Way You Make Me Feel” for the contest’s talent portion, wearing a black mini-dress with a matching hat.
In the question-and-answer segment, Mund weighed in on the United States’ recent withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, saying she thought it was a bad decision.
The first runner-up was Miss Missouri, Jennifer Davis, who competed on a platform of diversity.
The pageant was broadcast live on ABC from Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The contest returned to the seaside gambling resort a few years ago after nearly a decade in Las Vegas. It was dropped by ABC in 2004 following a steep ratings decline, but returned after years on cable.
Judges scored contestants, who ranged from teenagers to the cut-off age of 24, based on talent, the live question segment, a personal interview and appearances in gowns and swimsuits. Many of the entrants drew on music or dance for the talent portion.