Miss Montana charmed the entire nation Saturday night.
Alexis Wineman, the first Miss America Pageant contestant with autism, was given the pageant’s America’s Choice award after garnering the most viewer votes during an online competition.
The distinction gave Wineman the chance compete in Saturday night’s live finale against the top 15 contestants for the Miss America title in Las Vegas, a Miss America press release said.
Wineman, 18, of Cut Bank beat out the other pageant contestants in an online competition where viewers voted for their favorite Miss America contestant. She was also this year’s youngest contestant.
Miss New York, Mallory Hytes Hagan, was crowned Miss America 2013.
Wineman was diagnosed with autism 11 years ago and decided to overcome its limitations on her life.
In many public appearances, Wineman has discussed her story and platform, “Normal is Just a Dryer Setting." She has appeared on Fox & Friends, CNN’s Sanjay Gupta show, ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, Good Morning America, People Magazine, E!News, Extra, and several blogger and local news reports.
A recent graduate of Cut Bank High School, Wineman plans to attend the University of Montana to pursue a degree in art therapy in the fall of 2013.