First open gay Miss America

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Smiling as she sits in a float at St. Louis’ annual pride parade, Erin O’Flaherty gleams with a crown atop her head, a prize she clinched after being crowned Miss Missouri last month.

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For O’Flaherty, being a part of the event had personal significance, as she is the first openly gay Miss America contestant in the pageant’s 95-year history.
 
Her experience in the run-up to this September’s Miss America pageant, she said, has been an atmosphere that is nothing short of inclusive.
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“The Miss America organization has done a great job of wrapping their arms around me,” O’Flaherty says Ashleigh Banfield. “Everyone who I’ve come into contact with has been nothing but supportive.”
 
She added that she has never encountered any problems with fellow contestants, and that everyone has become lifelong friends, “bonding through the process.”
 
O’Flaherty has previously voiced concern over the lack of LGBT representation in the public sphere, and her personal platform issue for this year’s competition will be suicide prevention, an issue both inside and outside her community.
 
While competing in the pageant, O’Flaherty said, she wants to use the national stage to foster a greater conversation about suicide.
 
Working with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Trevor Project, O’Flaherty said she hopes to be a trailblazer for ending the stigma that often surrounds suicide and mental illness.
 
“I lost someone to suicide when I was 13,” O’Flaherty told Banfield. “It changed my life. I hope that by sharing my story I can inspire others to speak out on their experiences, because suicide is a subject that is often taboo.”

Bricks

Nigeria's Oko Emmanuel Ekpo popularly known as Emma Bricks Oko is without doubt one of the country's best, versatile young broadcasters in the broadcasting industry today. The multi talented and award winning media personality is the most creative man among his peers in the industry. He has established a strong and authoritative voice in a career that has traversed both Radio & TV studios, diverse beats as Reporter/Editor and Newscaster. He has also ventured into the BUSSINESS of content creation as Creative writer, besides being very successful as a PR executive, promoter, producer, actor and event/artistes manager. Emma Bricks Oko was born on the 15th of June in Yala local government of Cross River State Nigeria. He gained fame and recognition in the media through his first TV programme "Nigerian Roads" in the late 2000s and was nominated for the 2011 NBC awards. He has bagged different awards and ambassadorial recognition which include: -Most outspoken Journalist, 2008 by (Department of Mass Communication, Fed. Poly, Bida) -Media Cancer Ambassador, 2012 by (Fed. ministry of health) -Nigerian Goodwill Ambassador, 2014 by (Nigerian Goodwill Ambassador Agency). After working with different broadcasting firms within the nation's capital which include the following, Independent Television, (ITV), Dasamal Television Network (DTN), love FM and Energy TV, he has registered brickswrites.com.ng, a blogging network which will help him to get to the heterogeneous audience as the world has gone digital in broadcasting.

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