New Miss America: Miss Wisconsin

Opera-singing Laura Kaeppeler nabs 2012 crown

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 15, 2012 8:23 AM CST

(Newser) – Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler sang opera, wise-cracked, spoke candidly about being the child of a convict, and refused to get drawn into politics en route to grabbing the 2012 Miss America crown last night. Kaeppeler, when asked if beauty queens should bare their politics, responded: "Miss America represents everyone, so I think the message to political candidates is that they represent everyone as well. And so in these economic times, we need to be looking forward to what America needs, and I think Miss America needs to represent all."

Kaeppeler beat out second-place Miss Oklahoma, Betty Thompson, and third-place Miss New York, Kaitlyn Monte, for the $50,000 scholarship, reports the AP. Her platform of mentoring the children of jailed parents came from her father's 18-month stint in prison for mail fraud. "It taught us that God can turn everything into good if you let him," said Jeff Kaeppeler after the contest. His daughter, 23, in introducing herself jokingly told the Green Bay Packers quarterback, "If you're watching, Aaron Rodgers, call me."

Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler reacts after being crowned Miss America Saturday Jan. 14, 2012 at The Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler, left and Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson react as Kaeppeler is named Miss America, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012.   (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Chris Harrison and Brooke Burke Host the 2012 Miss America Pageant Saturday Jan. 14, 2012 at The Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Miss Utah Danica Olsen competes during the 2012 Miss America Pageant at The Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler celebrates with her fellow contestants after being crowned Miss America, Saturday Jan. 14, 2012.   (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson competes during the 2012 Miss America Pageant. Thomson placed second in the pageant.   (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Miss New York Kaitlin Monte competes during the 2012 Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas. Monte placed third in the pageant.   (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Miss New York, Kaitlin Monte competes during the 2012 Miss America Pageant, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012.   (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson competes during the 2012 Miss America Pageant Saturday Jan. 14, 2012.   (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler, left, Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson, and Miss New York Kaitlin Monte react as Monte is named second runner-up.   (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Miss New York Kaitlin Monte competes during the 2012 Miss America Pageant.   (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson competes during the 2012 Miss America Pageant Saturday Jan. 14, 2012.   (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler sings during the 2012 Miss America Pageant on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012.   (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler competes during the 2012 Miss America Pageant Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012, in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/Eric Jamison)
Producer Mike Fleiss is introduced as a judge during the 2012 Miss America Pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino January 14, 2012.   (Getty Images)
Journalist Lara Spencer is introduced as a judge during the 2012 Miss America Pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino January 14, 2012.   (Getty Images)
Fitness trainer Chris Powell is introduced as a judge during the 2012 Miss America Pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino January 14, 2012.   (Getty Images)
Television personality Kris Jenner is introduced as a judge during the 2012 Miss America Pageant on January 14, 2012.   (Getty Images)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
34%
5%
5%
5%
50%
2%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   MSN Living   |   PopSugar Tech   |   RealClear   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   Biography   |   Barstool Sports   |   OK!