Brooklyn, N.Y., resident Mallory Hytes Hagan was crowned Miss America in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Miss New York, 23, beat out Miss South Carolina Ali Rogers, who placed second, and Miss Oklahoma Alicia Clifton, who finished third. Miss Wyoming Lexie Madden and Miss Iowa Mariah Cary rounded out the top five.
Miss Montana Alexis Wineman, who has autism, was one of 16 semifinalists.
Hagan tapped danced to James Brown's "Get Up Off That Thing" for her talent and answered a question about armed guards in schools from Good Morning America's Sam Champion, who was one of the celebrity judges for the pageant this year, in the Q&A portion of the competition.
"I don't think the proper way to fight violence is with violence," she said, donning a white evening gown.
Hagan, whose platform is child sexual abuse prevention, attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and hopes to obtain a degree in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing, according to her online bio.
She won a $50,000 scholarship as well as a sash and a crown.
Hagan's win was a bit of a surprise, considering Las Vegas oddsmakers didn't have her among the top 15 favorites to don the crown at the conclusion of the two-hour competition at Las Vegas's Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.