GRASS LAKE, Mich. (WLNS) — She was crowned Miss Michigan this past weekend in Muskegon.
Emily Sioma, the new Miss Michigan title holder, is now back in her hometown of Grass Lake after her recent victory.
6 News sat down with her as she sets her sights on becoming a very different beauty queen.
Underneath the crown, sash, and trappings of tradition is a
Miss Michigan for the 21st century.
“I’ve been called edgy, I do have visible tattoos,” Sioma said.
The 24-year-old grew up in Grass Lake and graduated from the University of Michigan, majoring in women’s studies and sociology.
She won several local titles before becoming a statewide champ.
Sioma says it was a surreal feeling when she was announced the winner of Miss Michigan 2018.
“It was unbelievable. But then it was a whirlwind. The second they put that crown on your head, your life changes,” Sioma said.
While Sioma is excited to take on this role, she wants it to be about more than just ribbon cuttings and waving from cars.
“I want to magnify the voices of those who might be swept under the rug,” Sioma said.
Emily says she was sexually assaulted two times in college, and found little resources for help.
“For survivors to come forward, and find justice,” Sioma said.
Given her past experience with sexual assault and what’s going on at Michigan State University with the Larry Nassar scandal, she wants to use her title to bring attention to the needs of fellow survivors.
“I want to spend my year focusing in on specific situations, focusing in on universities across Michigan. But I also want to make sure broadly, that my focus is known to support survivors. I can talk to survivors and I can create communities, create resources,” Sioma said.
And while some have criticized pageants for being old fashioned, Sioma says young women like her are turning that around.
“We have the opportunity to change the way not only that our communities look at us as title holders, but how our communities look at women as powerful leaders in their community, as people who have a voice and as people who have passions,” Sioma said.
Sioma will be in Atlantic City Sept. 9 to represent Michigan in Miss America pageant.