Just days ago, over 8.5 million viewers watched Mallory Hytes Hagan sweep the competition in the Miss America Pageant. Knocking out 52 other contestants, Hagan stole the show and our hearts.
Representing New York, the 24-year old studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology and supporting Stop It Now, Hagan has a bright future ahead of her. She showed off her beauty in the lifestyle and fitness round and in her evening gown, but impressed America with her intelligence and poise when asked:
“In the wake of the Newtown tragedy there has been a lot of talk about gun control,” Sam Champion said, “One solution being proposed is an armed guard in every school. Do you think that would make our schools safer?”
Hagan responded, “I don’t think the proper way to fight violence is with violence. I think the proper way is to educate people on guns and the ways we can use them properly. We can lock them up, we can have gun safety classes, we can have a longer waiting period.”
Mallory began pageants around the age of 4, mostly doing the local “fair pageant” every year (because the queens got to ride in the Christmas parade!). At 13, she did the “Teen Miss Auburn Opelika” pageant, which turned out that the winner went to the first ever state pageant “Alabama’s Outstanding Teen” (a feeder to the Miss Alabama program within Miss America Org). She ended up placing 3rd runner up at this pageant, and was bitten by the pageant bug according to her mother, Mandy Moore!
I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with Mandy Moore about this experience for her, Mallory, and their family.
Does Mallory still dance regularly? At your school?
Since being crowned Miss New York in June, Mallory hasn’t had much time to take class in the city, but when she does, she loves taking classes at Broadway Dance Center. Some of her favorite teachers are Sheryl Murkami, Luam, and Shea Sullivan. In 2009, Mallory actually was on a work-study program there for a while.
I’m the owner of Make Your Move, Mallory dances with us whenever she comes home to visit! The younger kids look up to her so much- she was part of the faculty for a few years before she moved to New York, and sometimes (when we’re lucky) she will choreograph bits and pieces of routines we’re working on, and occasionally solos!
What were her overall thoughts of the pageant?
Her overall thoughts were that she was just so thankful and blessed to have finally made it to the Miss AMerica stage. She’d finally achieved a goal she had set so many years ago!
What made her decide to do a tap dance:
She’s really comfortable tapping, and loves how she can bring the crowd into her routine and let her personality shine! The preliminaries started on Tuesday and there were 8 tap dancers total this year. That’s a record high for Miss America, but Mallory felt great about her dance! Her specialty is that she is very entertaining! She was super excited when they called her name for talent — her goal was to do the dance on national tv!
[Watch Hagan’s dance here – she definitely stole the show!]
As her mother, what was the most exciting moment for you?
Gosh, i’m not sure! It was all so exciting! We have never been to Miss America pageant, we’ve never been to Vegas, the National exposure for her platform, and just being able to celebrate this wonderful accomplishment (of making it to Miss America) with over 35 of our dearest family and friends –it was all wonderful.
How did Mallory feel going into Saturday night after the week of meeting the other girls?
Well, she actually felt like she had put 110% in on every aspect of competition. She had done the very best she could do- so whatever happened she would have been fine with because she knew she had done her best!
How was the experience for you, being there?
This was not only an accomplishment for Mallory, it was for our family- everyone has played such a wonderful role in shaping and molding her into the woman she has become, we all wanted to be there to experience everything. It is definitely the most memorable, wonderful, exciting event I have experienced thus far in my life. (Besides giving birth to Miss America) ;)
What did you think of the pageant? Do you think Mallory Hagan stole the show?