Mallory Hagan, of Brooklyn, N.Y., who was crowned the new Miss America in Las Vegas, said the experience has been a whirlwind that has left her amazed and humbled.
Hagan, 23, is the first New Yorker to win Miss America since actress-singer Vanessa Williams was crowned in 1984. She beat out Miss South Carolina who placed second and Miss Oklahoma who finished third in the competition Saturday night.
"I was shocked, amazed, humbled," Hagan explained on "Good Morning America" today. "So grateful, I can't even explain it. It's just so many years in the making. To finally have had that moment was incredible."
The newly-crowned Hagan has been involved in the Miss America organization for 10 years. She started as a teen in the Miss Alabama's Outstanding Teen Program, was the first runner up in Miss New York 2010 and 2011, and has now won the coveted Miss America title. But despite her latest and greatest accomplishment, Hagan has barely had time to celebrate.
"The first hours were headed straight to meet all of you take a few photos and right into the press conference. And from there I had just a few minutes to celebrate with my friends and family … It's just been a whirlwind of 36 hours really," said Hagan.
She is looking forward to her responsibilities as Miss America this year focusing on her platform issue, child sexual abuse awareness and prevention. During her reign, she wants to raise awareness that sexual abuse doesn't just affect the child in their youth, but affects them for the rest of their lives.
"My platform is 'Stop It Now!' child sexual abuse. I've been working with a couple of organizations, national and local here in New York City," said Hagan. "That's the wonderful thing about the Miss America organization. It's so education oriented."
When asked what Hagan is most looking forward to as Miss America, the answer was simple.
"I'm really looking forward to traveling," Hagan said. "I know I'm going to get a chance to go to Canada, and probably overseas so I'm really looking forward to those opportunities. I haven't traveled a whole lot outside of the US, outside of my one trip to Africa this summer, so I'm really looking forward to getting to travel."
And as for her future plans post Miss America, Hagan hopes to go back to school to finish her degree, as well as use the $50,000 she receives for winning the title to enroll in grad school to eventually work in the cosmetics and fragrance industry.