A few days before she won the title as the next Miss America, 17-year-old Teresa Scanlan told CBN News that being in beauty pageants has strengthened her faith in Christ.
The Nebraska teen and former home-schooler was crowned the next Miss America Saturday at the Las Vegas' Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.
"I've just realized you see God's hand working, and over and over you see His perfect timing and His plan," she told CBN News. "For me, it's been so calming to know that everything's in His control."
Scanlan, who bested 52 other American beauties to capture the coveted crown, plans to study law with an eye toward a political career after her one-year reign.
She said the $50,000 scholarship will help pay her tuition at Patrick Henry College and law school.
"I want to be there making sure that I stand up for what's right, stand up for integrity and honesty," she told reporters after being crowned.
"At this point, attorneys and politicians are looked down on and have terrible reputations for being greedy and power hungry," Scanlan continued. "And I really think it's important for people who have their heart and mind in the right place to get into those positions."
Scanlan was home schooled through 10th grade, then went to public high school.
She has six siblings and said her parents encouraged her to enter pageants as a way to pay for her education.