POSTED: 10:09 p.m. HST, Jan 15, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 02:33 p.m. HST, Jan 16, 2011
Miss Hawaii Jalee Fuselier placed third Saturday night at the Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas.
Fuselier won $20,000 for being named second-runner-up. The 22-year-old is an international relations student at Hawaii Pacific University. She is a native of Louisiana.
Teresa Scanlan, a 17-year-old aspiring politician from Nebraska, captured the Miss America crown after beating 52 other young women from across the United States.
Scanlan won a $50,000 scholarship and a yearlong run with the crown at the competition at the Planet Hollywood casino-resort in Las Vegas, giving the Cornhusker State its first-ever win at the pageant.
"And I never passed up a cookie on my journey here," Scanlan said.
She's the youngest Miss America since the pageant implemented age limits in 1938. Rosemary LaPlanche was runner-up in 1940 and easily won the crown in 1941 despite being one month too young to compete, according to the pageant's website.
Scanlan said age didn't matter as the pageant celebrated its 90th birthday, though she thought her age might have made her an underdog.
"We were on an even playing field," she said. "From 17 to 24, that can be a huge age range. But with these girls, they are all at the highest level imaginable."
Scanlan captured the hearts of seven judges after a night of playing the piano, walking across a Las Vegas stage in a white gown and black bikini, and saying security trumps the public's right to knowledge when it comes to government leaks.
She said she'll register to vote as an independent after turning 18 next month, and work toward her goals by going to law school and perhaps becoming a prosecutor, then judge.
"At this point, attorneys and politicians are looked down on and have terrible reputations for being greedy and power hungry and I really think it's important for people who have their heart and mind in the right place get into those powerful positions," Scanlan told the AP.
"When I talk to kids my age, I don't find very many who are interested in that, because many are just turned off to the idea," she said. "I think it's important that we get a lot more of my generation willing to step up and go into those positions."
Scanlan beat out 52 beauty queens from other U.S. states, plus Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.