A 22-year-old Virginia woman who said she once thought her only talent was singing is the newest Miss America, emerging from a field of 53 contestants.
Caressa Cameron, a broadcast journalism student at Virginia Commonwealth University, now plans a second year away from college as she travels extensively to raise money for charity and carry the 89-year-old pageant's crown.
"I hope to gain inspiration, I hope to gain momentum so that when this 365 days is over, I can shoot through the moon," Cameron said.
Cameron, the first black Miss America since Ericka Dunlap in 2005, says she wants to get a master's degree and eventually become a news anchor.
Cameron, the daughter of a background researcher for the government and a contractor, said she was inspired to compete in pageants at the age of 14, when Miss Virginia 2003 Nancy Redd visited her school.
"At that time, all I knew that I could do was sing - that's all I had," she said.
Cameron said that after that visit, she decided to try out for a school musical, which snowballed into more opportunities in the arts, drama and other areas.
"More doors and more doors continued to open," she said. "It's so important that we reach our young people, because there are so many young people that are at the very same crossroads that I was at."
"We need those people to let them know that just because your circumstances are a certain way, you don't have to succumb to them," she said. "You can do something amazing, like become Miss America."