From Grass Lake to Atlantic City, competing for Miss America, Miss Michigan made a splash on the big stage.
Emily Sioma caused a ripple effect when she appeared on stage at the Miss America Pageant. While most contestants were sharing personal details about themselves, like where they are from and what school they went to, Sioma had a different approach.
"From the state with 84 percent of the US's fresh water, but none for its residents to drink, I am Miss Michigan, Emily Sioma," she said on stage.
It was a big moment, almost shocking to some that the contestant would take an activist approach. But the native of Grass Lake and the University of Michigan Alum said she is an activist at heart, and she was "humbled" by the response from her hometown, state, and the rest of the country.
"Its really surreal because you come from a small place and feel like a small fish in a big pond but all of a sudden you realize your voice has the power to make an impact on such a large scale," Sioma said.
She was right, her moment on Miss America's stage quickly went viral. Sioma then was featured MSNBC, BBC, Time Magazine, People Magazine and more. Sioma told FOX 47 that she had a feeling she wasn't going to make it to the top 15, so she wanted to make the most out of her time in the spotlight.
"Just knowing that you have eight seconds to make an impact, to make a difference, I challenge people to think about how can they make the biggest impact on people's lives by leveraging the opportunities that they have," she said.
When asked why she felt the need to shed light on that particular subject, she said that as a Michigander, you need to say it like it is. She said she was referring to the Flint Water Crisis, in addition to the increasing amount of P-FAS contaminations being found across that state.
"I choose to speak about the water crisis that's going on in so many different parts of the state because I wear the banner of Michigan across my chest. I'm not just representing the amazing parts of Michigan, but I am representing the hardships that we are facing. It was a call to action," she said.
Although Miss Michigan didn't make the top 15, she said the feedback from her moment has been overwhelmingly positive, and she hasn't slept much since.
So what's next? Sioma is in the works with starting a water bottle drive, in addition to spreading awareness about her personal platform of supporting survivors of sexual violence.