Erin O’Flaherty made history on June 18 when she become the first EVER openly gay Miss Missouri! And now, as the pageant queen moves on to this year’s Miss America competition, she will serve as that contest’s first openly lesbian contestant TOO. What an accomplishment!
This is so exciting! The state of Missouri crowned its first openly gay Miss Missouri on June 18 when Erin O’Flaherty, 23, was awarded with the pageant’s top honor. Even better, she will now represent the show-me state at the Miss America pageant in September! There’s no question Erin is thrilled about representing her state in the prestigious competition — and just wait until you hear what her touching platform is!
Going into the Miss Missouri pageant, Erin, who came out as gay when she was 18 years old, knew she’d be making history if she won. But at the same time, that wasn’t her sole reason for entering the competition. “I’m on cloud nine really just to be Miss Missouri,” Erin revealed in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “I don’t know that I intended to be the first, but I am. So I’m very excited about it.”
And we don’t blame her! Erin sent her first official tweet from the Miss Missouri Twitter account on June 22, writing, “Hey there! Erin here, officially signing in as Miss MO 2016. So excited to serve this amazing state.”
Hey there! Erin here, officially signing in as Miss MO 2016. So excited to serve this amazing state 💕 pic.twitter.com/MRlYYYLqsC
— Miss Missouri (@MissAmericaMO) June 23, 2016
Erin, who’s originally from South Carolina, has chosen suicide prevention as her platform. And while she does hope to reach out to the gay community, she has also stated that that will not be her sole focus of her Miss Missouri reign. “My focus of my year isn’t going to be that I’m gay,” she explained.
“It’s certainly a big part of who I am, and I will be promoting it and raising awareness for the LGBT community. But also there will be many appearances that I do that have nothing to do with that. And so I’m hoping that I can strike a really nice balance of staying true to the values of Miss Missouri and also being able to exercise my personal views.”
Erin, who also owns a clothing store in suburban St. Louis, will also be the first openly gay woman to compete in the Miss America scholarship pageant, which is scheduled for Sept. 11 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. We cannot wait to watch her in action come fall!
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — do you think Erin has a chance of winning Miss America come September? Why or why not?