Most beauty pageant contestants giggle amiably and say something earnest-but-ditzy when asked to introduce themselves to the audience and judges.
Not Miss Michigan Emily Sioma, who brazenly (and brilliantly) brought up her state’s ongoing water crisis – and had the entire country gasping at her audacity.
“From a state with 84 percent of the U.S. fresh water but none for its residents to drink, I am Miss Michigan, Emily Sioma,” she said during the broadcast.
LET THEM HAVE IT, MISS THING!
(Watch it below)
She later explained her decision to bring up the controversial issue with ABC News:
Sioma told ABC News that “it wasn’t a very spur of the moment decision,” having thought about making a statement about the water crisis for two days leading up to the competition.
“I had this gut feeling that if I didn’t make it into the top 15, I would never have a chance to be able to speak on national television about something that was important to me, or to make the moment meaningful,” Sioma said.
“I just really wanted to make sure people understood this isn’t just about Flint anymore. It still is about Flint but it’s about the communities across the state that are impacted by contaminated water,” Sioma said.
Although Sioma didn’t advance to the next level of the competition, she said that she’s been very pleased with the largely positive response she’s received both online and offline.
“Having this opportunity to reignite the conversation about the water crisis in Michigan… that to me is more about what Miss America is than just winning a crown,” she said.
I see a future Michigan senator in the making. And then who knows? GO EMILY!
“from the state with 84 percent of the u.s. fresh water but none for its residents to drink, i am miss michigan emily sioma” — the new #missamerica2019 pageant did not come to play pic.twitter.com/H05eifix2e
— alex rees (@maybealexislost) September 10, 2018
I am SALTY that Miss Michigan did not make it. I’m so glad she used her time on that stage to speak truth to power. #MissAmerica
— Shontal Cargill (@shontalcargill) September 10, 2018
Instead of stating her accomplishments, Miss Michigan said “we still don’t have clean water” and I have chills.
— Madyson (@madysonb73) September 10, 2018