Miss America on gun control, Joe Biden, weight gain and what it’s like to meet Beyonce

Taylor Bigler Entertainment Editor
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Here she is, Miss America, Mallory Hytes Hagan.

The 23-year-old Alabama native-turned New Yorker spoke to The Daily Caller this week ahead of her upcoming appearance at the Memorial Day parade in Washington, D.C. about what it’s like to be Miss America, Beyoncé, gun control, what Joe Biden called to tell her, and media criticism about her (barely) less-than-pageant perfect bikini body.

On the past five months as Miss America: Oh my gosh, they’ve been great. They’ve been a little crazy, not gonna lie, but they’ve been great. It’s been so much travel and opportunities to meet some incredible people, and the last time I was in D.C. I was at the White House Corespondents’ Dinner, so I’ve just been given so many opportunities to meet so many very important people, and so many famous people, and so much travel. And I work with Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, which has taken me all over as well, so it’s been an incredible opportunity so far. It’s crazy to think that because we’re moving the pageant to September, that I’m halfway done.

Mallory’s favorite part about being Miss America: My favorite part about it has been probably the opportunity to really promote my personal platform, which deals with child sexual abuse. I’ve gotten to do so many things; I attended the child sexual abuse summit in Rochester, N.Y. I recorded a public service announcement for the state of New York with District Attorney Hines in Brooklyn. I had an opportunity to raise over $150,000 for a child advocacy center in Alabama. I just got to do so much to raise awareness for that very difficult and taboo subject, not that I wouldn’t have been able to do that otherwise, but being Miss America certainly gives me that platform. And I met Beyoncé.

On meeting Beyoncé: I had a miniature freak out moment — no, I held it in quite nicely. She was very nice. She used to frequent the restaurant I worked at [in New York City], so it was nice that instead of pouring water at her table, I got to shake her hand. That was pretty cool.

How she reacted to media scrutiny on a (very slight) weight gain: Well, I’m a glass-half-full kinda girl so my initial reaction was, “Cool, someone cares that I’m on a beach in a swimsuit!” It’s interesting because people see you in that aspect, in your swimsuit on stage and then for a majority of Miss Americas, they’re never photographed in a swimsuit again, post that situation. It’s actually in our contract; we’re not models, we’re not meant to be, you know, so it’s very interesting, we’ve been in a unique position this year that, you know, I’ve been caught twice now — me with a swimsuit on. You know, I’m a human, and there’s no way at all period I was going to maintain where I was during the swimsuit competition — especially not traveling to a different city every 48 hours, roughly 20,000 miles a month. It’s just not feasible. But I’m glad that anyone even cares what Miss America’s doing. I think that’s awesome.

On the controversial Miss America interview question on gun control: I definitely stand by what I said. I wish I had said it a little more eloquently, but I just really don’t think that adding firearms to society is going to solve any problems. We have to look at mental health issues, we have to look at the way that people are obtaining them, you know, are they going through the correct process? You know, you have to have a learner’s permit for six months before you can drive a car, yet you can walk into any gun show and buy a gun without a background check and without the proper safety classes. I just think there’s different ways we can go about obtaining firearms. I don’t think we should take them away from people, by any means, but it should be more difficult to get them.

And what Joe Biden said when he called to congratulate her on her win: It was the week after the pageant. He called to congratulate me, first and foremost, and then to say that he was appreciative, obviously, because that’s the thing that he feels very closely with. He was appreciative of my stance [on gun control], and said that if I ever wanted to work with him, that he was happy to. So that was a really cool moment.

She’s not following the IRS story, but she is following the Jodi Arias trial: Unfortunately my time allotted for television and news sources is slim. I have been following the Jodi Arias case, and that’s terrifying. Also been following the three [Cleveland] women who were just released from being captured. Obviously that’s very close to my personal platform, which is child abuse and things of that nature. So those two things have been on my radar quite a bit. To be very honest, this past month I’ve had two days off. So I’m probably not as up to date as I should be.

On her crazy schedule: Well, like I said, this past month I’ve had two days off. I’ve literally been in a different city every 48 hours if not less. So I spend just about every other day traveling. It’s very intense, usually it starts early in the morning. I usually have a full jam-packed day, whether it’s an event in the morning, event in the afternoon, or it’s something that goes all day long. I work with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, so I spend a lot of time traveling the country and doing their benefits and fundraisers. I work with our sponsors, so I do a lot of events with them as well. I just spent this past weekend promoting our new swimwear line, Miss America by Catalina, been in and out of stores, that kind of thing. I also spend a lot of time working on my personal platform. So when you combine all those things together, in addition to our STEM initiative, it’s quite a job. No two days are alike, that’s for sure.

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

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