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Harrison native Ebony Mitchell talks about winning Miss Arkansas and making history

First the first time in Arkansas's pageant's 84-year history, both winners crowned are women of color.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas's Ebony Mitchell is now on her way to compete for Miss America.

Mitchell, a Harrison native, took home the Miss Arkansas crown Saturday night. 

History was made over the weekend, when a new Miss Arkansas and 'Miss Arkansas' Outstanding Teen were crowned. First the first time in the pageant's 84-year history, both, are women of color.

Mitchell spoke one-on-one with Wake Up Central's Karen Fuller about her history-making win.

She began her journey in this organization when she was just 9 years old. She began as a princess, made her way to the teen organization, where then she realized she wanted to make her dream come true of being Miss Arkansas. 

The 2022 winner is originally from Harrison, Arkansas, where she attended Harrison High School throughout her entire education. Following, she attended the University of Central Arkansas, where she graduated with undergrad degree in Business Marketing. 

She has since graduated with her Masters degree at John Brown University.

Mitchell said when she watches her crowning moment, it really sinks in.

"I kind of totally don't remember that moment," Mitchell said. "You kind of lose all sense of where you're at at the time. But it's just been incredible. I can't say thank you enough to everyone who has helped me get there."

Mitchell said the moment is a mixture of both disbelief and joy. 

"It's such a huge moment," Mitchell said. "So few women get to live that moment and you dream about it. I've watched the Miss America pageant since I can remember. The fact that I get to go there and compete and represent the best state in America is indescribable."

This history-making moment of two Black women winning both titles in the same year is reflection of representation for the small-town winner. 

"Growing up in a small town, I never really saw that representation for myself," Mitchell said. "I know there are so many people who feel that same way. It's an honor to be that representation that I needed as a young girl and for Ka'Maya to be that for other young girls is incredible."

At the end of the day, Mitchell said she believes the job always goes to the right person and it just so happened to be them this year. 

Mitchell also touched on her social impact initiative for the state of Arkansas, called "A Responsible Digital You."

"It's all about being safe online and keeping our children safe online," she said. "I had a really close friend who was a victim of an online predator when we were in Junior High. To witness her go through that was traumatic."

Going to college and learning about social media through marketing, Mitchell knew this was an area she could champion.

"I knew I could partner with people like the Attorney General's office and the Department of Education to really get the word out about my impact," she said.

Over the next few months, Mitchell will prepare for Miss America in Connecticut, which she will compete in later this year. 

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