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September 11, 2017 11:01 AM

 

Cara Mund made Miss America history Sunday night as the first contestant from North Dakota to take home the crown in 97 years of the competition.

The 23-year-old from Bismarck wowed the judges with her jazz performance to Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” and her responses to tough interview questions — including one on President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord. Here’s five things to know about the big winner.

1. She’s a philanthropist

At just 14 years old, Mund started North Dakota’s annual Make-A-Wish fashion show. In the ten years since, she’s helped to raise over $78,500 for the Make-A-Wish foundation, and helped 23 Wish Kids’ lives. Her charitable prowess even drew notice from former President Barack Obama, who recognized her efforts in 2011.

2. She has political dreams — and it runs in the family

Mund hopes to become the first elected female governor of North Dakota, and she’s on her way there after interning for Senator John Hoeven of her home state. Mund also has political blood — she’s related to Victoria Claflin Woodhull, who was the first woman to run for president and the first woman to run a brokerage firm on Wall Street.

3. She’s an Ivy League grad

Mund graduated with honors from Brown University, where she was a member of the Kappa Delta sorority. And she’s already set for more class time — after her year touring the country as Miss America, Mund will start law school at the University of Notre Dame.

4. She has serious dancing chops

If it wasn’t already obvious from her routine in the talent portion, Mund is an excellent dancer, with a national dance champion title to her name. She’s also trained with the Radio City Rockettes for four summers.

5. She’s inspired by her mom

Mund says her mother is her biggest role model. “She’s been diagnosed with cancer three times,” Mund told the New York Daily News. “Despite the circumstances, she’s always told me, you can’t control the cards you’re dealt, but you can control the hand.”

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