Miss Alabama talks standing on Miss America stage as First Runner-Up

HUNSTVILLE, Ala. (TENNESSEE VALLEY WEEKEND) - It’s been 100 years since the Miss America organization began and during its 100th competition, Miss Alabama, Lauren Bradford, stood on stage and placed First Runner-Up.

Bradford is a Gulf Shores native who has been working almost her whole life for the title she has now, Miss Alabama. Bradford was crowned in June of 2021 and has since been filling her days with interviews, appearances, meetings with state leaders, service opportunities and much more.

In mid-December, she joined 49 other women competing for the Miss America crown in Connecticut. There, she participated in interviews, on-stage questions and even performed a punk rock version of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony on the electric violin -- in heels!

Bradford was also recognized for her efforts and initiatives involving her platform, Unplug: The Digitial Diet Plan, for the past five years.

“Ultimately, at its heart, it’s about instigating true connection, face to face, and taking a step back from our overuse of technology. The average time we spend on tech in a single day is over 12 hours. That adds up to a decade of our lives just spent on our phones. I want to spread this message of true connectivity,” Bradford says.

It’s hard work that doesn’t go unnoticed. Bradford received the coveted Quality of Life Award and a $10,000 scholarship towards her efforts. Additionally, she won the Dakota State University STEM Scholarship of $5,000 and placed second in Overall Fundraising for the Miss America Foundation, raising over $24,000. She left Connecticut with $45,200 in scholarships to further her education at Vanderbilt in the fall.

Bradford says, overall, she doesn’t see this organization just as a competition, but a professional development tool.

“I gained skills from this organization that I know will carry into my career in finance as I’m going to be a female in a male-dominated field,” said Bradford. That’s a topic she also talked about on the Miss America Stage. “I gained the confidence to be able to walk into any room and connect with the people who are sitting there, regardless of their backgrounds,” added Bradford. “It’s not about walking on stage, even though it seems like it all culminates that on the of Miss America. It’s ultimately about making an impact.”

Bradford says she has been able to impact others and be impacted by others she would have never met if it weren’t for the Miss America Organization. It’s a role she doesn’t take lightly.

“At its heart, it’s about preparing great women for the world, but also preparing the world for great women. I’m proud to be part of this organization.”

Anna Mahan

Anna Mahan

Anna Mahan joined the WAFF 48 News team in August of 2020.