We have a winner! Miss Texas Teen Karlie Hay was crowned Miss Teen USA 2016 at the annual beauty pageant at the Venetian Theatre in Las Vegas on Saturday, July 30.
The stunning 18-year-old impressed the judges with her talent and beauty, as well as her sharp-witted responses, during the nerve-racking Q&A session, earning her the coveted title at the 2016 completion.
At one point in the evening, country singer and judge Savannah Keyes asked Hay what the soon-to-be elected U.S. president should focus on with teenagers like herself.
“Peer pressure, hands down,” the Tomball High School alum responded. “The next president needs to confront this issue and tell teens that you need to be yourself and be a leader and, of course, the next Miss Teen USA needs to be a leader.”
Hay, who was on the honor roll and varsity cheer team at her high school before graduating last month, plans to attend Texas A&M University to study business.
After taking home the title on Saturday night, Hay took to Instagram to celebrate her win. “Woke up this morning as Miss Texas Teen USA and going to sleep as Miss Teen USA. Dreams really do come true,” she captioned a photo of herself relaxing in bed with her crown and sash on.
The blonde bombshell defeated runner-up Miss North Carolina Emily Wakeman and second runner-up Miss South Carolina Marley Stokes.
Fifty-one contestants competed in Miss Teen USA 2016, stunning viewers in athletic wear and evening gowns. This year’s pageant was the first to eliminate the swimsuit category after organizers faced criticism for exploiting and sexualizing teenage women and failing to promote diverse body types.
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