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Newly-crowned Miss Maryland USA is first Asian American and transgender woman to win pageant

Miss Maryland USA talks about being first Asian American, transgender female
Miss Maryland USA talks about being first Asian American, transgender female 02:12

BALTIMORE -- The newly-crowned Miss Maryland USA made history on June 1 by becoming the first Asian American to win the crown in the annual pageant and the first transgender woman to attain the title of Miss Maryland.  

Competing in her first pageant, 31-year-old Montgomery County-raised Bailey Anne Kennedy now holds the crown and represents Maryland in the Miss USA pageant. 

Transgender women have been able to compete in the pageants since 2013 but a rule was eliminated this year that forbade anybody from entering the competition if they were older than 28. 

Kennedy says the last two weeks have been a whirlwind and did not think she would make it past the top 18, let alone the top 15. 

"As an Asian, we have been raised to be humble and be grateful for every opportunity," Kennedy said. "So at that time, I was crying, thinking that 'Oh my god, I am doing something big for the community.'"  

Kennedy grew up watching the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants so the events hold a special place in her heart, but she says winning the title is an honor that supersedes her as an individual. 

"To be the first Miss Maryland USA that is representing all of these aspects of what it means to be beautifully confident, it means everything to me," Kennedy said. "I do not take it lightly, it is such an honor." 

Kennedy's desires to win were fueled by the thought of representing her communities to the best of her ability.

While, she says she put a lot of pressure on herself, now that she holds the title, she just wants to give the spotlight to her communities.  

"I hope that I can be a beautiful contribution to society so that we are no longer looking at the LGBTQIA+  community in a negative light," Kennedy said. "Minority girls are going to be able to see me and see themself and be able to see their reflection through my journey as well."  

Kennedy will compete in the Miss USA Pageant in August and hopes to advance, making it to the Miss Universe Pageant.  

She's also a military wife and plans to use her platform to advocate for military spouses.

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