We’ve seen some questionable pageant videos go viral in the past decade (Miss Teen South Carolina’s confusing answer to the infamous “maps” question is perhaps the most memorable). But after last night’s Miss America competition on September 9th, Miss Michigan might be on her way to the most-viewed pageant moment ever. And it’s for an important—and badass—reason.
Instead of using her introductory moment to highlight her personal achievements—as is usually the custom—Miss Michigan, aka Emily Sioma, took the opportunity to remind the world that Flint, Michigan is still facing a water crisis. In case you need a refresher, in 2014, the city of Flint changed its water source in an attempt to cut costs—and exposed its residents to high levels of toxins and lead in the process. Now, four years later, the water is still unsafe to drink.
People on Twitter were living for Sioma’s activism and willingness to use her platform to highlight a critical issue.
Sioma didn’t end up winning the crown—Miss New York Nia Franklin took home the title—but Miss Michigan definitely stole the show during the opening interviews.
The Miss America Organization has been through the ringer since last year’s live show. In December 2017, two executives resigned after emails were leaked in which they exchanged sexist words about contestants. Since their resignation, former Miss America winner and #MeToo advocate Gretchen Carlson took over as chair. And although there was no swimsuit round at this year’s competition (a decision that made other board members pack up and leave), the show seemingly went off without a hitch.
If this is just a small taste of what we can expect from Miss America 2.0 in the future, we’re on board and already setting our DVRs for next year.