Newly crowned Miss Missouri, Erin O'Flaherty, is the first openly gay Miss America contestant

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Newly Crowned Miss Missouri Is First Openly Gay Miss America Contestant

Newly crowned Miss Missouri, Erin O'Flaherty, is breaking ground as the first-ever openly gay Miss America contestant.

O'Flaherty, 23, was crowned as the Show Me State's representative to the national pageant on Saturday, and is the first openly gay woman to hold the title, said Ann Jolly, chairman of the board of the Miss Missouri Scholarship Organization.

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In an interview with the Associated Press, O'Flaherty said that she came out at 18, competed openly and knew that there was a possibility that she could be making history with her win.

"I'm on cloud nine really just to be Miss Missouri," she told the AP. "I don't know that I intended to be the first, but I am. So I'm very excited about it."

O'Flaherty sent her first official tweet from the Miss Missouri Twitter account on Wednesday, writing, "Hey there! Erin here, officially signing in as Miss MO 2016. So excited to serve this amazing state."

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The clothing store owner, whose pageant platform is suicide prevention, also told the AP that she hopes to reach out to the LGBT community during her time as Miss Missouri, but added that it won't be the only focus of her reign.

RELATED: Check out the most famous Miss America winners ever:

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Famous Miss America winners

Lee Ann Meriwether won Miss America 1955 in Atlantic City, N.J.

(Photo credit: AP)

Meriwether went on to play Catwoman in the original film version of 'Batman' in 1966.

(Photo credit: 20th Century Fox/Getty)

Mary Ann Mobley, right, won Miss America 1959 in Atlantic City, N.J.

(Photo credit: AP)   

Mobley went on to star in multiple films with Elvis Presley. She died in 2014 at 77.

(Photo credit: Max B. Miller/Fotos International/Getty Images)

Gretchen Carlson won Miss America 1988 in Atlantic City, N.J.

(Photo credit: Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images)

Carlson is now the host of 'Fox & Friends' on Fox News.

(Photo credit: Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

Debbye Turner won Miss America 1989 in Atlantic City, N.J.

(Photo credit: AP)

Turner later joined CBS News as a feature correspondent and a fill-in anchor.

(Photo credit: Elizabeth Burks/WireImage)

Vanessa Williams won Miss America 1984 in Atlantic City, N.J.

She later resigned after Penthouse magazine published sexually explicit photographs of her taken several years earlier.

(Photo credit: AP)

Williams is probably the most successful Miss America winner ever. She launched a career as an entertainer, earning multiple Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award nominations.

(Photo: Stuart Ramson/Invision for Staples/AP Images)

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"My focus of my year isn't going to be that I'm gay," O'Flaherty explained. "It's certainly a big part of who I am, and I will be promoting it and raising awareness for the LGBT community. But also there will be many appearances that I do that have nothing to do with that."

O'Flaherty believes she will also be the first openly gay woman to compete in this fall's Miss America pageant, which is scheduled for Sept. 11 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

"I'm hoping that I can strike a really nice balance of staying true to the values of Miss Missouri and also being able to exercise my personal views," she said.

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