Three years ago Kirsten Haglund was so painfully thin, her parents dragged her to a doctor. On Saturday – after a long struggle with anorexia – the teen looked curvy, toned and confident as she strutted her way to the Miss America crown.
Afterward, the 19-year-old Broadway hopeful, who belted out “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for her talent, said she will devote her yearlong reign to raising eating-disorder awareness with the Childrens Miracle Network.
At the height of her illness, anorexia wreaked havoc on her body and threatened her relationships with others, the Farmington Hills, Mich., native told the Associated Press.
“I would feel fatigued walking up six stairs,” she said. “I was a completely different person. It’s not a pretty sight.”
Now, thanks to regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle, Haglund is proud of developing a healthy relationship with food – and her own body.
“You have to have curves, you can’t look like a stick-thin model,” said the new title-holder, who confirmed that before the competition, she happily ate the chocolates left on her pillow in her Las Vegas hotel suite.
“Yes, oh my gosh, yes,” the 5-foot 8-inch blonde (who doesn’t disclose her weight to avoid setting standards for scale-obsessed youths) told the AP. “I love chocolate. Chocolates are a girl’s best friend.”
While Haglund said she wasn’t about to “let myself go,” she says she doesn’t plan on skipping any meals over the year. “I’m going to enjoy my food.”