Miss Michigan creates splash with comment on state's water

Neal Rubin
The Detroit News
Miss Michigan Emily Sioma

Miss Michigan may not have made the top 15 at the Miss America pageant Sunday night, but she made some friends in Flint.

In the first competition to dispense with the swimsuit parade, Emily Sioma of Grass Lake reinforced that this was a new, more modern event. At the beginning of the telecast from Atlantic City, New Jersey, in the portion where contestants typically give their names, states and universities, she offered a commentary instead:

“From a state with 84% of the U.S. fresh water, but none for its residents to drink, I’m Miss Michigan Emily Sioma.”

Miss New York, Nia Franklin, ultimately won the crown, with Connecticut, Louisiana, Florida and Massachusetts rounding out the top five.

Sioma, a University of Michigan graduate who majored in women's studies, was a contender, though, for Miss Internet.

Among the raves:

"If I were a #MissAmerica2019 judge, my top five (in no particular order): #MissMichigan for that opening ..." — Brian Herrera

"@MissAmericaMI ... You deserve every crown there is and I know you did your state proud. I cheer for you!!! You are my miss America #MissMichigan"

"Miss Michigan brings up the Flint water crisis. Props girl. #missamerica2019" — Jennifer Mendelsohn

"#MissMichigan just said: 'From a state with 84% of the US fresh water but none for its residents to drink...' Clearly this is not your mother’s Miss America pageant." — Jim DeFede

"DAMN. #MissMichigan with the mic drop in the #MissAmerica2019 intros!" — Casey

"Props to #MissMichigan for dropping some important knowledge." — Kelly Ann Collins

On her Twitter account, @MissAmericaMI, Sioma identifies herself as "Sexual Assault Survivor/Dog Mom/Activist/I Believe You."

Writing on her official Miss America biography page, she says the pageant organization  has "empowered me to no longer feel as though I must apologize for being the strong, bold, empowered woman that I am. It is through this organization that we can show women that they deserve to be celebrated for everything that they are."

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The page says she chose her platform, "I Believe You," to embolden "survivors of sexual violence, like herself."

Outside the pageant world, it says, she enjoys thrift shopping, sewing, playing with her Aussie, Violet — and now, possibly reshaping a segment of the event for years to come.


Twitter: @nealrubin_dn