One month after she was hired in January, Mallory Hagan woke up to learn that her company was moving cross-country — and that her new job would end prematurely.
Typical American nightmare? Not if your job is Miss America. With the pageant’s move this year from Las Vegas back to its historic home of Atlantic City, N.J., the next crowning has been moved up to September, shortening her year-long reign by four months.
“It’s bittersweet,” said Hagan, a sparkly-eyed Julianne Hough-type. “But Miss America is a very, very, very tough job. In some ways, it’s like getting a snow day.”
In the meantime, she was making the most of it, dropping by the Capitol on Tuesday, with Miss America chairman and producer Sam Haskell, to talk up science and math education — the latest cause that the 93-year-old beauty contest has taken up to try to demonstrate its seriousness. An unlikely topic for a tap-dancing Fashion Institute of Technology student? So you’d think, but Hagan’s talking points were solid: As a kid, she dreamed of becoming a dentist until she realized freshman year at Auburn that she didn’t have the science skills to hack it. “I wish I’d had a mentor,” she said, “to let me know how awesome science is.”
Also working to burnish the pageant’s bona fides: a quartet of high-powered Washington women conscripted onto the Miss America board — media operatives Tammy Haddad and Kelley McCormick and lobbyists Regina Hooper and Kimberley Fritts — who have ushered Hagan and her tiara’d predecessors around town in recent years. At the Capitol, Haskell announced that Haddad, a well-connected TV news veteran, has been named president of the pageant’s development board.
So, come September — a chance to get that dentistry dream back on track? Nope: Hagan told us she’s taking her $50,000 scholarship back to FIT, where she’s switching from a marketing major to communications. Her recent time around cameras inspired her to get into TV: “I find it fascinating, and I think it’s something I’m good at.”
Of course, some former Miss Americas are now mulling political careers; does that appeal to her at all? “It doesn’t, unfortunately,” she said, smiling. “That’s not something that’s in my realm.”
Earlier: Erika Harold, Heather French Henry: Miss America alums aim for political office, 6/4/13
Miss America pageant leaves Las Vegas to return to Atlantic City, 2/14/13
Miss New York crowned Miss America, 1/13/13
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