A young woman from Damascus who claimed the state crown earlier this year will look to take the national stage by storm during the Miss America Pageant.
Abigail Hayes, a Clackamas County resident who was named Miss Oregon 2021, will be part of the 100th anniversary of the Miss America Pageant later this month. The 20-year-old, whose local title is Miss Emerald Valley, was crowned June 19 at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center.
Hayes is using her platform to help bridge gaps between generations through mentoring, regardless of someone's color or background. She wants to inspire people to eat and live healthier, support children heading into foster care, and emphasize volunteering within one's community.
She is the youngest of four and grew up on a family hobby farm. Hayes is an avid athlete who was captain of her varsity volleyball team for two years. She still coaches students from elementary through high school. Pageants are in her blood — her mother was Miss Portland.
Hayes will graduate from Liberty University next year with a strategic communications major, and wants to earn a Juris Doctor Degree with an emphasis in family law. She is currently studying for the LSAT.
She was crowned locally last summer. The Oregon competition began in 1947 as the Miss Oregon Pageant, before being rebranded as the Miss Oregon Scholarship Pageant. Contestants range in age from 17 to 24, and must win local competitions before qualifying for the state pageant.
In 2001, Katie Harman was the only Miss Oregon to go on to win the Miss America crown. Harman grew up in Gresham and graduated from Centennial High School.
Hayes leaves for the national competition next week. In total 51 young women will vie for the title of Miss America during a weeklong competition that runs from Sunday, Dec. 12, with the first evening for prelims, to Thursday, Dec. 16, for the final night of competition.
The Miss America Finals will take place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. It begins at 5 p.m. and will be streamed live on Peacock, NBC's streaming service.
Miss Oregon 2021
Talent: Piano and vocals, "If I Ain't Got You" written by Alicia Keys
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