This is so great to see!!
Erin O’Flaherty is the newly crowned Miss Missouri, and she will compete in the national Miss America pageant this coming September, which is fantastic in and of itself… but there’s a twist!
The 23-year-old beauty queen is also openly gay, having come out of the closet at 18 years old — and that makes her the first out woman to represent her state as Miss Missouri AND the first to compete in Miss America!
The groundbreaking beauty — pictured on the right, above, taking the crown over from the last Miss Missouri representative — is very aware of her place in history, and she sounds SO excited about the future:
“I’m on cloud nine really just to be Miss Missouri. I don’t know that I intended to be the first, but I am. So I’m very excited about it.”
And while the clothing store owner — whose pageant platform is centered around suicide prevention — wants to make the LGBT community a big part of her reign as Miss Missouri, she’s also determined for it not to be only about that:
“My focus of my year isn’t going to be that I’m gay. It’s certainly a big part of who I am, and I will be promoting it and raising awareness for the LGBT community. But also there will be many appearances that I do that have nothing to do with that. I’m hoping that I can strike a really nice balance of staying true to the values of Miss Missouri and also being able to exercise my personal views.”
Thus far she seems pretty excited about her upcoming year as the face of Missouri (below):
We’d like to give a HUGE congrats to Miz O’Flaherty on her amazing win!
Go out and make more history, girl!!
[Image via Miss Missouri/Twitter.]