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Kirsten Iora Haglund (born September 14, 1988) is a public speaker, eating disorder awareness activist, commentator, and president of the Kirsten Haglund Foundation. She served as Miss America 2008.

Kirsten Haglund
Kirsten Haglund headshot.png
Born (1988-09-14) September 14, 1988 (age 30)
Alma materWalled Lake Western High School
Emory University
TitleMiss Michigan 2007
Miss America 2008
TermJanuary 26, 2008 - January 24, 2009
PredecessorLauren Nelson
SuccessorKatie Stam
Ryan Smith (m. 2012)



At age 12, Haglund moved to Pennsylvania and lived with a host family to study ballet at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet School.[1]

Haglund graduated from Walled Lake Western High School in 2006 and spent one year pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio.[2] She took time off to fulfill her duties as Miss Michigan 2007 and also prepare for and compete in the 2008 Miss America pageant.[3]

After her reign as Miss America 2008, Haglund lived in Los Angeles, California for a year, and then returned to school to finish her undergraduate degree, using the over $60,000 in scholarship she won competing in the Miss America Organization. She received a B.A. in political science from Emory University in May 2013.[2][4]


Miss MichiganEdit

Haglund's grandmother, Iora Hunt, represented Detroit, Michigan at the Miss America 1944 pageant.[5]

After winning the Miss Oakland County local title in 2006, Haglund competed in the Miss Michigan pageant and won in June 2007. She won a preliminary swimsuit award and at the conclusion of the final competition was crowned Miss Michigan.[6] For her state talent, she performed "Adele's Laughing Song" from the operetta, Die Fledermaus.

Miss America 2008Edit

Haglund represented Michigan in the Miss America 2008 pageant broadcast on TLC from the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 26, 2008.[7] She won a preliminary swimsuit award on Wednesday night, becoming her state's first preliminary swimsuit award winner since 1987. For the talent competition, she sang, "Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz.[6][7] Her platform was "Eating Disorder Awareness," as she personally suffered from anorexia for five years beginning at age twelve.[1][5]

At the conclusion of the live telecast, Haglund was crowned the 83rd Miss America.[8] She succeeded Lauren Nelson, of Lawton, Oklahoma and was Michigan's fifth Miss America.[9] At 19, Haglund was the youngest competing and the youngest Miss America winner since Kimberly Aiken took the title in 1993.[10]

Miss America roleEdit

During her first week as Miss America, Haglund appeared on Live with Regis and Kelly, ABC News Now, Inside Edition, and Fox and Friends.[11][12] She spoke at Harvard University and for the National Press Club on her platform of "Eating Disorder Awareness," and lobbied with the Eating Disorders Coalition on Capitol Hill for Mental Health Parity, speaking at a congressional briefing on her own personal battle and recovery from anorexia nervosa.[2]

As part of her support of the Children's Miracle Network, the official platform of Miss America, Haglund served as National Goodwill Ambassador for the organization, visiting hospitals across the country, and supporting the organization's fundraising initiatives. She met with President Bush at the White House while participating in CMN's "Champions Across America" event.[13] In the last week of her reign as Miss America, as a guest of the USO, she appeared in the Inaugural Parade for President Barack Obama, and attended the Commander in Chief Inaugural Ball.


After completing her year of service as Miss America 2008, she continued to travel and speak on body-image issues and eating disorders, also began her own 501 (c) 3 non-profit foundation, the Kirsten Haglund Foundation, in 2009[14] to provide treatment scholarships for women struggling with the illness. She currently serves as a Community Relations Specialist at the Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center in Lemont, Illinois and is an ambassador for the National Eating Disorders Association.[14]

She is a frequent commentator on politics, the millennial generation, women's and celebrity issues on Hannity, Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld, Fox & Friends, and The Real Story on Fox News Channel, and Real News on The Blaze. She has also made guest appearances on panels on Huffington Post Live, HLN, The Joy Behar Show, and on Fox Business News.[15]

In other broadcasting work, she has appeared as a sideline correspondent for the 2012 and 2013 National Memorial Day Parades in Washington, D.C., televised in the DC Metro Area, conducting interviews with United States Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna and others.

She also served as a correspondent for the 6ABC telecast of the 2013 "Show Us Your Shoes" Parade, as a part of the Miss America Organization's return of the pageant to Atlantic City, New Jersey. As parade correspondent, she hosted segments alongside Lee Meriwether, Miss America 1955 and Phil Laduca, and conducted interviews with Bachelor host Chris Harrison and Good Morning America's Lara Spencer. She also appeared as a guest co-host for the hour-long 6ABC pre-pageant broadcast on September 16, 2013.

Haglund was the lead anchor of the daily, "Morning Briefing" on, an online news network.[14][16][17]

She also hosts a podcast on titled, "The Sonder Podcast," during which she interviews, "leaders in politics, faith, mental health and culture."[14]

Personal lifeEdit

Haglund married in July 2012.[18] On Twitter in February 2018, Haglund responded to a story about a woman escaping domestic violence by writing that "This brought me to tears. I just escaped a very similar situation."[19] Haglund currently lives in Zürich, Switzerland.[14]


  1. ^ a b Khorram, Yasmin (March 16, 2012). "Miss America Kirsten Haglund opens up about her battle with anorexia". CNN.
  2. ^ a b c "Kirsten Haglund, Founder". Kirsten Haglund Foundation.
  3. ^ Associated Press (2008-01-28). "Michigan's Miss America takes time off from U. of Cincinnati".
  4. ^ Associated Press (2008-01-26). "Brother recalls Haglund playing at winning Miss America".
  5. ^ a b Clarke, Norm (2008-01-24). "Michigan pageant success is in genes". Las Vegas Review Journal.
  6. ^ a b "Farmington Hills woman wins Miss Michigan pageant". Associated Press. 2007-06-17.
  7. ^ a b Associated Press (2008-01-26). "Farmington Hills native wins Miss America".
  8. ^ "Miss Michigan Kirsten Haglund Crowned Miss America 2008". Associated Press. January 26, 2008.
  9. ^ Lewis, Shawn (2008-01-28). "A dream come true for Miss America". The Detroit News.
  10. ^ Padgett, Sonya (2008-01-27). "Miss Michigan wins crown in a song". Las Vegas Review Journal.
  11. ^ Tom, Greenwood (2008-01-28). "Miss America 'wows' TV show audience".
  12. ^ "Tune In Alert - Miss America 2008 Begins Her NYC Media Tour" (Press release). Miss America Organization. 2008-01-27. Archived from the original on 2008-03-30.
  13. ^ "Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund Meets President George W. Bush with the Children from Champions Across America". Miss America. March 18, 2008. Archived from the original on October 17, 2013.
  14. ^ a b c d e "Kirsten Haglund".
  15. ^ "About Kirsten". Kirsten Haglund. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  16. ^ "Loveline with Dr. Drew". CNN. November 13, 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  17. ^ "What is Styrk?". YouTube. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  18. ^ Hubred-Golden, Joni (July 29, 2013). "Hometown Miss America Says Title Win Was 'Baptism by Fire'". Farmington Patch. This month, Haglund celebrates the first anniversary of her marriage to Ryan Smith.
  19. ^ "This brought me..." Twitter. February 8, 2018.

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Lauren Nelson
Miss America
Succeeded by
Katie Stam
Preceded by
Angela Corsi
Miss Michigan
Succeeded by
Gina Valo