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Miss Alabama Winner Sparks Controversy, Ignites Debate On Pageant Titles, Cyberbullying And Weight: Here's The Truth

Recent controversy surrounds Sara Milliken, winner of the Miss National American Alabama title, sparking debates on pageant titles, cyberbullying, and body image. The spotlight on Milliken's weight and the misrepresentation of her title as 'Miss Alabama' have ignited national discussion.

National American Miss/ Instagram
Sara Milliken, National American Miss Alabama Photo: National American Miss/ Instagram

An Atmore woman who won a state pageant title finds herself in the spotlight, but not for the reasons she likely anticipated. Sara Milliken dedicated eight years to securing the crown of Miss National American Alabama. After three attempts, she finally achieved her goal in May 2024. However, her interview with WKRG in Mobile sparked a viral response for unexpected reasons.

Observers swiftly began to highlight a conspicuous detail: Milliken's weight, leading to widespread discussion.

One week following Milliken's appearance on WKRG, the station aired another segment, labeling it their "#1 story," addressing what they termed cyberbullying. In the coverage, they erroneously referred to her as "Miss Alabama," a title she does not hold.

“How many days in a row are you going to report something on her?” questioned Jordan Evans on Facebook. “Your credibility as a professional news agency is coming into question.”

Promptly, national media outlets followed suit, continuing to label Milliken as "Miss Alabama." However, this misrepresentation of her title has garnered significant attention, including from former Miss Alabama Amie Beth Shaver.

In conversation with a media outlet, Shaver clarified that there exists only one Miss Alabama title, reserved for the pageant affiliated with the Miss America organization. Additionally, there's Miss Alabama USA, which sends contestants to the Miss USA competition.

“Miss America now is 101 years old and then Miss USA, which goes on the Miss Universe pageant,” Shaver explained. “But this National American Miss, no one has heard of it. I don't even know what it is.”

Shaver emphasized that the rights to the "Miss Alabama" title belong to Miss America, making it inappropriate to use this title for any other pageant.

“If you are a pageant person, you're only going to participate in either Miss America or Miss USA,” Shaver added.

The National American Miss pageant offers scholarships, self-care products, and other rewards to its winners, focusing on promoting positive self-image.

Milliken addressed some of the comments regarding her weight on Instagram.

“The things some people were saying truly was disgusting,” she wrote. “I choose not to dwell on that. However, there is an important to be had and I feel that as a titleholder it would be extremely irresponsible for me not to address the ‘second part’ of this story.”

She continued, “I feel often times people resort to Cyberbullying because it doesn’t feel real. It’s just words on a screen right? It can’t possibly cause physical harm? Wrong. Victims of cyberbullying are twice more likely to engage in self harm and suicidal behaviors.”

Although she stated that she didn't experience suicidal thoughts herself, she reminded those who do to seek help by calling 988.