From activewear and evening-gown rounds to a question-and-answer session, Miss Missouri Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff dazzled the crowd and claimed the title of Miss Teen USA 2017 in Phoenix on Saturday.
Besides the crown and bragging rights, Dominguez-Heithoff won a $10,000 scholarship and $5,000 in cash.
Judges quickly narrowed the 15 semifinalists to five: Miss Oregon Vanessa Matheson; Miss Nevada Alexis Smith; Miss California Jaanu Patel; Miss Indiana Paige Robinson; and Dominguez-Heithoff.
In the end, it came down to Matheson and Dominguez-Heithoff.
Dominguez-Heithoff, 17, graduated from high school a year early and is pursuing a degree in political science and ethics at the University of Kansas. She plans to go on to law school.
The new Miss Teen USA created Community and Scholars Cooperatively, an organization that aims to make community service fun and easy for teenagers, with her peers. She also has worked with Missouri legislators to create policies that provide people with disabilities better care and resources.
“It’s important to remember that as Miss Teen USA, you are a role model,” Dominguez-Heithoff said during the question-and-answer session, dressed in a periwinkle satin gown. “I would love to be the Miss Teen USA that could accept everyone, especially for their differences.”