The First State has a new Miss Delaware, and she is from New Jersey.
After a three-hour-long competition Friday, a panel of five judges crowned Chelsea Bruce the 2017 Miss Delaware. Bruce, a senior at the University of Delaware, wore a black flowing gown that sparkled as she accepted her crown, a bouquet of roses and well wishes from a long line of women who had also worn the crown before.
Bruce, who is from Manasquan, New Jersey, beat out 13 other young women for the title. As she had her photograph taken in the hallway at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes, Bruce said she was excited to represent Delaware in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City in New Jersey on Sept. 10.
If she is successful, Bruce would be the first Miss Delaware to become Miss America. In the 75 years since the Miss Delaware pageant has been taking place, no Miss Delaware has taken the crown in the Miss America pageant. For some reason, the pageant was not held between 1945 and 1949.
The evening’s masters of ceremonies, Kayla Martell, nearly won in 2011 when she was among the top 10 in the Miss America pageant. She was the third Miss Delaware to ever reach that level within the Miss America pageant.
Bruce has a few months to worry about Atlantic City. For now, she plans to take the opportunity that she has been given to promote awareness about mental health issues. Bruce, who is a political science and economics major, said she chose mental health as her platform because a family friend committed suicide. She said she believes the issue needs more attention.
She also said she plans to attend law school after she finishes her undergraduate degree at the University of Delaware. The scholarship money that she will receive, as much as $10,000, should help defray some of the costs.