Meet your new Miss America: Miss North Dakota, Cara Mund.
In a glitzy show Sunday night, Mund beat out 50 other women in five categories: lifestyle and fitness, evening wear, talent, interview and on-stage questions.
The 23-year-old graduated from Brown University and has been accepted to law school at the University of Notre Dame.
She was previously Miss North Dakota’s Outstanding Teen, Little Miss, Miss Pre-Teen and Miss Junior Teen.
Mund credited her mother as her greatest role model.
“She’s been diagnosed with cancer three times,” she said during the competition.
“Despite the circumstances, she’s always told me, you can’t control the cards you’re dealt, but you can control the hand.”
She also said she looks up to Emma Watson for her work as an advocate for women’s rights in the United Nations.
In the talent portion, Mund performed a jazz dance to Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.”
Asked her top item on her bucket list, Mund said she wanted to make it to the top ten in the competition, which only three women from North Dakota had done before.
“It proves no matter where you come from, if you can dream it, you can do it,” she said.
She was also asked about her opinion on the United States withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.
“I do believe it’s a bad decision. Once we reject that, we take ourselves out of the negotiation table and that’s something that we really need to keep in mind,” Mund said.
“There is evidence that climate change is existing. So whether you believe it or not, we need to be at that table, and I just think it’s a bad decision on behalf of the United States.”
For winning the competition, Mund receives a $50,000 scholarship, a six-figure salary during her reign and an appearance contract with Dick Clark Productions.
Savvy Shields, who won last year’s competition as Miss Arkansas, was on hand to share her experience.
“I’m a different person than a year ago. I’m forever changed and forever grateful. Words can’t explain the experiences that have touched my heart this year. I met the most courageous kids, and my team spent overseas made me beyond thankful for those serving. Thank you for all you do,” she said before handing over her crown.
“I would not be standing here before you without the many people that have made this dream possible. To my mom, dad, brother, and best friend, thank you, and I’m beyond grateful for this year of service, and will remember it for the rest of my life.”