Miss America, Emma Broyles, speaks to the 2022 conference of the ATIA in Sitka. (KCAW/Woolsey)

Although Halloween is just around the corner, the woman wearing the gold crown and sash as she mingles with the crowd at the Alaska Travel Industry Association conference in Sitka this week (October 10-13) is not in costume, but in uniform. She is the current Miss America, Emma Broyles.

Broyles is from Anchorage, and is no stranger to Sitka. She spent three summers here in high school, attending Musical Theater Camp. During this current trip to Sitka, Broyles visited five of the schools, all the while wearing the crown and sash that identify the 21-year old – unmistakably – as Miss America.

In her remarks to the ATIA conference, Broyles shared an experience that is probably universal for Alaskans, regardless of whether they’ve won a pageant, or are just standing in line at an airport Starbucks.

“In all my travels this year in the Lower 48 as Miss America, I would have to say that at least 90% of the people that I have met had said, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re from Alaska! I went on a cruise to Alaska one time,’ or they’ll say, ‘My aunt’s best friend’s sister’s son once went on a cruise to Alaska.’ And I think that just goes to show the impact that this community has on the state of Alaska and our entire country, for that matter. I’m so, so grateful that because of what you do, we’re able to share the beauty of the State of Alaska with so many people around the world.”

Broyles went on to introduce a screening of the film Alaskan Nets.

Emma Broyles was crowned Miss America in December, 2021. The title came with over $100,000 in scholarships, which she’ll spend attending medical school. As part of her duties, Broyles travels an estimated 20,000 miles per month.