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Miss Virginia wins 2010 Miss America crown

Associated Press | 2/3/2010, 3:08 a.m.
Miss Virginia Caressa Cameron reacts as she is named a semi-finalist during the 2010 Miss America Pageant Saturday Jan. 30, 2010, at The Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. She went on to receive the Miss America crown.

Each judge ranked their five favorites in order, and their ballots were used to pick Cameron as the winner. She was crowned by Miss America 2009 Katie Stam of Seymour, Ind.

Cameron won her state’s title on her fourth try, and said she saw pageantry as a way to raise money and awareness for her platform issue, AIDS awareness.

She said the issue is personal for her because her uncle died of AIDS and her family fostered a young girl who lived with the disease.

She was recognized by Congress in 2007 for her work to bring instant-result HIV testing to her home state.

During the Miss Virginia pageant last year, Cameron was asked her opinion about gay marriage, the same issue Miss California Carrie Prejean was asked about during the Miss USA pageant two months earlier.

Cameron said she believed marriage should be between a man and woman because of her religious beliefs, but she didn’t think there should be laws against gay marriage.

The crowning of a Miss America began in 1921 as a publicity stunt to persuade tourists on Atlantic City’s Boardwalk to stick around after Labor Day.

The bathing revue blossomed in the age of television into an American pop icon before fading in later years and losing it place on network TV in 2004. It moved to the Las Vegas Strip in 2006 in an attempt to reinvent itself and has found a home on cable television.

(Associated Press)