Miss New York crowned Miss America

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

NY Miss America
Kira Kazantsev wants lawmakers to defend women’s rights in the military.

Live from Atlantic City, the Miss America pageant crowned Miss New York as its new queen earlier this week. Beautiful 23-year-old Kira Kazantsev accepted the tiara, marking the third year in a row that New York won the fierce competition.

Ever wondered what the differences are between Miss America and Miss USA? Well, the two beauty pageants definitely have characteristics that uniquely set them apart. For instance, Miss America is a not-for-profit organization focused on charity, while Miss USA is more about making moola, with some minor charity on the side.

Also, Miss America has a talent competition while Miss USA does not, and it’s much more focused on educational scholarships. Plus, Miss America gals get a shot at the Miss Universe competition!

So, how did Kazantsev land her win? Well, she sang Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” for the talent segment of the competition, while keeping time with a plastic red cup on the floor. She also promoted women’s rights in the military, asking lawmakers to protect them from mistreatment. Now, she’ll spend the next year representing the organization, and has earned a $50,000 scholarship.

Images courtesy of ABC and Miss America Organization Facebook.