Miss Oregon Abigail Hayes aims to boost underserved youth


New Miss America will be crowned December 16

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Next week, a young woman from Damascus will compete for the title of Miss America 2022.

Abigail Hayes, who was crowned Miss Oregon America 2021 over the summer, said the competition now is all about talent and what you’re doing in your community.

Each contestant in Miss America must have a social impact initiative, and Abigail’s is underserved youth.

“I’ve always had a heart for underserved youth, and I really want to focus on changing policies for them,” Hayes told KOIN 6 News. “So, this title of Miss Oregon has really boosted that and helped me in my path, and given me more opportunity to help underserved youth.”

MIss Oregon 2021 Abigail Hayes, left, wants to help underserved youth during her year (Courtesy: Abigail Hayes)

Her reason for wanting to help underserved youth stems from a personal experience.

“I had a friend growing up that I knew had a very rough home life,” Hayes said. “She did not receive equity at her school, there were a lot of things kind of holding her back. And two years ago, my sister was eating in downtown Portland, and she saw a girl that looked familiar. It was my friend, and she was homeless and a heroin addict and pregnant — and that really just so impacted me.”

She is the youngest of four, grew up on a family hobby farm and her mother was Miss Portland 41 years ago. Hayes is an avid athlete who was captain of her varsity volleyball team for two years, and she still coaches students from elementary through high school.

Hayes will graduate from Liberty University next year with a strategic communications major, and wants to earn a Juris Doctor Degree with an emphasis in family law. She is currently studying for the LSAT.

The gathering of all the US champions is no longer called a pageant, she said, but rather a competition. There is no longer a swimsuit portion.

The 100th anniversary of the Miss America competition begins December 12. The 4-day event takes place at the Mohegan Sun Resort in Connecticut. The new Miss America will be crowned December 16.

Pamplin Media Group contributed to this report.

MIss Oregon 2021 Abigail Hayes wants to help underserved youth during her year (Courtesy: Abigail Hayes)

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