Indiana State University Newsroom

ISU senior Tiarra Taylor finishes preliminary competition at Miss America pageant

December 17, 2019

Indiana State University student Tiarra Taylor gave an emotional performance of the song “You Will Be Found” on Monday night in the Talent competition at the Miss America pageant in Connecticut.

“She thought her voice sounded a little raspy, but I said it brought tears to everyone’s eyes, especially those of us who know how hard she’s practiced,” said Freda Luers, ISU’s director of campus life, who’s at the event and spoke with Taylor. “You could feel the emotion building in the audience as she was singing. I think they were moved.”

Preliminary competition was Sunday and Monday. Taylor and the other contestants will be live on NBC from 8-10 p.m. Thursday for the finals.

Taylor, from New Albany, Ind., won the Miss Indiana pageant in May and was a full-time student during the fall semester while preparing for Miss America and fulfilling obligations for Miss Indiana. Taylor is a first-generation college student who will graduate with a Communication degree after the spring semester.

“I wouldn’t be half the woman I am if not for Indiana State University,” Taylor said in October before serving as grand marshal of ISU’s Homecoming Parade.

During Sunday night’s preliminaries, Taylor did the On Stage Question and the Social Impact Pitch required of all contestants.

For the On Stage Question, the judges asked what she would want her superpower to be and why. During earlier private interviews, Taylor told them she was a fan of superheroes in Marvel and DC comics.

She told the judges she would be Flash, who has supernatural speed.

“It would be really nice to wake up in the morning and not worry about being late for class,” Taylor said.

Taylor’s Social Impact Pitch was titled, “What disadvantaged youth need most.” She described a heartbreaking scene while volunteering at a youth center in her hometown.

“At the end of the day, the director spoke to me, revealing that many of the children I had spent the day with did not know where they would be going home that night,” Taylor told the crowd.

She talked about disadvantaged youths lacking quality education and after school care, and the guidance to become successful.

“This May, I will be walking across the stage as the very first one in my family to receive a college degree,” Taylor said. “As a minority youth who grew up in a low-income home, I am so proud to say I defied the odds. As Miss America, I will use my voice while visiting schools, hospitals and community organizations to share my story of perseverance and success.”

After Sunday night’s competition Luers posted a brief video of Taylor.

“I just want to stop and say thank you to all my friends and family back home who are supporting me,” Taylor said. “This week has been so much fun.”


Taylor singing at Miss America 1 (low res)

Taylor singing at Miss America 2 (low res)

Taylor introducing herself at Miss America (low res)

Taylor at ISU Homecoming Parade, Oct 2019

Taylor winning Miss Indiana, May 2019


Media contact:

Media contact: Mark Alesia, director of university communication

(O) 812-237-3837

(C) 812-229-8020

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