Black Excellence: Bayleigh Dayton Becomes First African-American Miss Missouri USA

Photo by @missmousa/Instagram
The 23-year-old flight attendant and print model took home the crown this weekend after finishing as first runner-up last year. 

Bayleigh Dayton is riding high today as the 23-year-old Baylor University graduate has just taken home the title of Miss Missouri USA. 

The flight attendant and print model earned the crown after battling it out in previous pageants. In 2013, Dayton landed in the top 16. And, last year, she was awarded Miss Congeniality and finished as first runner-up. 

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Dayton told the Kansas City Star, "Last year when I entered, I knew that my road to pageantry wasn’t finished. When I made top five last year I knew that I could do this. The insecurities weren’t there. It was easier for me to focus this year."

Dayton will advance to the Miss USA pageant next year. If she wins there, she'll then move on to the Miss Universe pageant.

Until then, she's using her platform to make a difference.

"It’s awesome to be able to put a face with a title. I’m obviously the first African-American titleholder in this position. Now girls have someone to look up to and can have an actual role model."

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