The pageant contestant spoke about her profession as a nurse on The Ellen DeGeneres Show
Johnson appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres show on Wednesday and defended her Sunday performance – on the same day that The View‘s Joy Behar apologized for the controversial comments she made earlier this week that were perceived to be mocking the monologue.
Despite the fact that “a lot of people” advised her against doing the monologue, Johnson said, “I am a nurse and that’s my talent – taking care of people, caring about other people, and so I wanted to give the nurses that don’t have that voice that voice and that recognition of just somebody going up there and being a little bit different and unique.”
“I talked about a patient that I took care of that has Alzheimer’s and I know that that hits home for a lot of people and it’s not something that’s really easy for people to talk about,” continued Johnson, who was the second runner-up in this year’s Miss America competition. “And I just thought, you know, I want to go up there and I want to be authentic and I want to be Kelley, and if I’m ever going to win Miss America or win Miss Colorado I want to do it being myself, and I’m a nurse.”
On Monday, The View co-host Behar questioned why Johnson wore a stethoscope during her speech.
After facing serious backlash on social media for the comments, including the creation of the hashtag #NursesUnite, Behar, 72, apologized on Wednesday’s broadcast for not knowing “what the hell” she was talking about, saying she was “just not paying attention” and didn’t realize Johnson was a nurse, thinking perhaps the pageant contestant was in costume.
Following her apology, the American Nurses Association issued a statement on Wednesday addressing Behar’s “disturbing” decision to use “her national platform and influence to mock Miss America contestant Kelley Johnson.”
“We are pleased that Behar apologized on the show this morning, and think this is a great opportunity for those in the media to highlight the important, lifesaving role of nurses and to show them the respect they deserve,” concluded ANA president Pamela F. Cipriano.
Johnson didn’t directly address the controversy with DeGeneres on Wednesday, but the Miss Colorado crown-holder said she was happy to “have everyone be standing up for our profession and giving them the voice that they deserve.”
“They work so hard and they are lifesavers and that’s all the message I wanted to give,” she said. “It’s about them, it’s not about me.”