Miss Alaska, Emma Broyles, crowned Miss America

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Miss Alaska Emma Broyles reacts after being crowned Miss America, Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – The contestant from Alaska was crowned Miss America at an event Thursday marking the competition’s 100th anniversary.

What began as a 1921 Atlantic City beauty pageant has evolved away from the emphasis on looks alone — contestants are no longer judged on physical appearance — with a new focus on leadership, talent and communication skills.

Emma Broyles from Alaska claimed the centennial crown and a $100,000 college scholarship. She emerged as the winner out of 51 contestants representing the 50 states and the District of Columbia at the competition at a Connecticut casino.

The finale that historically has been featured in a primetime television broadcast was available only to stream this year via NBC’s Peacock service.