She was crowned the 95th Miss America on Sunday in the annual nationally televised pageant, beating out 51 others and winning a $50,000 scholarship. But just who is Betty Cantrell, of Warner Robins, Georgia?
Here are five things to know about the Georgia peach.
1. She thinks Tom Brady “definitely cheated.”
During the Q&A portion of the pageant, judge/country singer Brett Eldredge asked Cantrell a tricky question about the NFL’s deflategate scandal: “Legalities aside, did Tom Brady cheat?” Her answer sparked almost immediate reaction online.
“Did he cheat? Um, that’s a really good question. I’m not sure,” she said after asking Eldredge to repeat the question. “I think I’d have to be there to see the ball and feel it and make sure it was deflated or not deflated. But if there was question there, then, yes. I think he cheated. If there was any question to be had, I think that he definitely cheated, and that he should have been suspended for that. That’s not fair.
After winning the competition, Cantrell told reporters that she thought she blew the question, saying, “I didn’t know what he asked me … ”
2. She’s the first Miss Georgia to win in more than six decades.
The first Miss Georgia to take the Miss America crown was Neva Jane Langley Fickling in 1953. After winning, Cantrell gushed about being the first Miss Georgia in more than 60 years to dominate the competition and take home the crown.
“I’m only the second Miss Georgia to ever win Miss America and I couldn’t be more happy to represent my state,” she told reporters.
3. Her win was almost (but not quite) overshadowed by a decades-old scandal.
The 95th annual pageant has seen many stars and stars-in-the-making, but on Sunday the competition saw a familiar face: Vanessa Williams. Williams was welcomed back into the organization with an apology on Sunday more than 30 years after the release of nude photos caused her to relinquish her 1983 Miss America title. Williams made history as the first African-American ever to be crowned Miss America but was forced to resign 10 months into her reign.
4. Her voice will give you chills.
Wearing a fabulous red gown, Cantrell delivered a pageant-stopping rendition of “Tu Tu Piccolo Iddio” from the opera Madame Butterfly and rode the emotional performance all the way to the title in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. Cantrell swayed her arms and swung her dress in the performance that caused the crowd to erupt in applause afterward.
5. She wore a crop top (yes, crop top) dress during the competition.
During the evening gown portion of the competition, Cantrell stunned in a white, two-piece dress. The white top showed off a bit of her toned stomach and the sleeves extended down to her elbows. The matching “mermaid” skirt flowed down to the ground.
“I would say that my dress may be a little sexy because it’s a two-piece that shows, like, an inch of midriff – so, breaking ground,” she said. “But I would say it’s more classy and elegant than sexy.”