Mallory Hagan was your Miss America 2013. Hagan won Miss America as Miss New York, becoming the first of three consecutive Miss New Yorks to win Miss America. Mallory went on to crown Miss America 2014, Nina Davuluri.
Miss America Scandal
While she was a phenomenal leader and icon during her time as Miss America, her true strength showed far after her reign. Hagan was caught in the middle of an email scandal that surfaced in late 2017, in which she was the target of former CEO Sam Haskell’s comments. The emails targeted certain former titleholders, including Hagan, regarding their appearances, sexual history, businesses and reluctance to tear down another former Miss America.
Hagan publicly called for the resignation of Haskell, former President Josh Randle and the entire Board of Directors due to their complacency with Haskell’s actions. Over 11,000 people signed Hagan’s petition to remove the Board and as a result of Hagan’s bravery, the entire Miss America Organization Board of Directors resigned and a new Board was selected in its place.
Hagan went on to use her voice to run for Congress, citing her time with the Miss America Organization and its scandal as a driving force. Hagan talked about finding herself in the middle of the national Miss America scandal and how hard and painful that experience was. She called the experience transformative and was appreciative over using her voice to ignite, "a spark that fueled women – AND men – across this country to stand up, speak out, and believe that when people share their stories, positive change can occur."
Hagan currently lives in Alabama's 3rd Congressional District, where Republican Representative Mike D. Rogers has held the seat since the 2002 election. Hagan won the Democratic primary election and is going on to challenge Republican Mike Rogers in the general election in November 2018.
A lot of people are supporting Hagan’s run but Lilly Ledbetter, the face of the women's equal pay movement has publicly come forward to endorse Hagan. Ledbetter worked at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company when she found out that her male counterparts were making more money than she was for the same job. Using that experience, she spoke out and helped pass the 2009 Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, an act that makes pay equality litigation more accessible for women.
Miss America 2013's Response to Miss America 2018's Letter
On August 16, Miss America 2018 Cara Mund released a letter detailing her mistreatment during her year of service. The Miss America Organization responded with a simple post on Instagram. Since then, several State Organizations responded with disappointment in the national leadership. Hagan responded to Mund's letter with a statement on Facebook:
"Miss America: For three generations the women in my family have loved, volunteered for, and worked toward bettering the organization so many of us adore. The happenings surrounding and within the MAO as of late have troubled me deeply.
I want to start by saying that Cara is my sister. I validate her feelings, and in some ways, identify with her letter to us all. Being Miss America is challenging in a multitude of ways. The role is hard, and its flaws have been masked/hidden for some time. I don’t disagree with or doubt that. I absolutely know and believe that Cara has experienced a difficult year. I also absolutely know that many of her sisters have reached out and offered comfort, advice, and a listening ear. Several Miss Americas have rallied together to help. Some with no response. I can assure you that Cara and I have had very different experiences, but I empathize with how she may be feeling. It’s especially hard on me to watch this all unfold, as I would never want someone to experience the systematic harassment and ostracization that I endured at the hands of this entire organization— from volunteers, local directors, executive directors and Sam Haskell.
With that said, I don’t want to contribute to any further division.
In my heart of hearts I believe that the women at the helm of MAO took on an insurmountable task, and did so with pure intentions. I also firmly believe they have made some mistakes. We all make mistakes. I have made many. I also believe there have been break downs in communication. No one had a rule book for how this would go, and hindsight is always 20/20. However, I don’t believe the leaders of MAO have done anything with malice or ill intent. I absolutely do not believe they are bullies. I absolutely do not believe they deserve to BE bullied.
I am so sorry that Cara felt diminished and undervalued by some at the Miss America Organization. I hope that all of our leaders will make every effort to make this right by apologizing and ensuring that no one feels bullied or belittled while carrying out this important and influential job ever again. I hope that no young woman within this organization feels this way... ever again.
So I support Cara. I also support Gretchen. And quite frankly, I support all of my sisters in whatever endeavor they experience next. Life throws us all enough curve balls, and the last thing I want is to ever feel as though I have to be a ref in the game. We are all on the same side.
We are ALL a part of a beautiful, brilliant, evolving organization that, for all its flaws, won’t survive if we continue to cut each other down. This entire scenario has gotten completely out of hand, and it has begun to damage something we all love. For those of us who have had the honor and privilege of holding a state title, we have been in the shoes of the 51 young women who are set to walk across our iconic stage on September 9. My heart aches the most for them.
So I ask all of you: Cara, Gretchen, Regina, Board, Volunteers, Executive Directors, Local Directors and fans alike— please cease fire. Please, all of us, let’s apologize to each other. Let’s do better to ask genuine questions and seek answers, rather than relying on the claims of the internet for information. This is not a civil war. This is not black or white, or one side vs. another. This is not about any one of us. This is about a dream that is still very much alive in thousands of young women across the country (and world!). This is about an organization’s focus on community, service, outreach and scholarship. We can either collectively destroy it, or we can work together to carry the torch. I have previously suggested that the forever Miss Americas convene on September 10 for a meeting, and I stand by that call to action. I hope that, for the sake of our organization, we can place focus on the young women preparing to take on Atlantic City until then.
I stand with Miss America, the icon— past, present and future.
With much love and admiration,