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Kirsten Haglund grew up in Farmington Hills, Michigan, with dreams of performing and maybe one day, changing the world. She didn’t know how, but she was driven from a young age to make an impact, be it on stage, in front of the camera, or through service to others. She channeled an intense desire for creative, emotional expression at first through dance; from age 3 she trained classically in ballet, as well as jazz and tap. She had similar interests in acting and voice, pursuing them actively in her performance studies throughout childhood. Whether in a musical theatre production, straight play, Nutcracker or other ballet, Kirsten was fueled by a passion for the arts in all forms.

As her love for acting blossomed, Kirsten developed a fondness for the connection and communication it afforded with people and audiences-at-large. Service opportunities through the National Honor Society in high school, and the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) Women’s Center, increased her awareness of the human condition and artistic expression. As a BFA Musical Theatre candidate, she continued to train with faculty while performing at one of the leading institutions for Performing Arts in the country.

Still, Kirsten was inspired to take action and do more. She took her own battle with an eating disorder, and in an effort to de-stigmatize the illness and increase dialogue in the fashion and beauty industry, made it her “Platform” when competing in the Miss America Program. Hardly a typical ‘pageant girl,’ Kirsten won her local competition on her first try. Her authenticity, desire for scholarship, and sincere passion to educate and raise awareness for eating disorders qualified her in the judge’s eyes to compete for Miss Michigan. The youngest competitor at both the state and national levels, Kirsten in one and half short years was crowned Miss America 2008.

In a role far removed from “college student,” Kirsten embraced the hectic travel schedule, speaking tour, and numerous duties that define Miss America at the age of 19. The position gave her the chance to address national audiences about body-image and self-esteem on Entertainment Tonight, EXTRA, Fox News, CNN, interviews with the New York Times, People Magazine, and speaking engagements at Harvard University and on Capitol Hill. In addition, came the opportunity to travel, perform, and engage people from all walks of life. The unceasing student, Kirsten made her Year-of-Service one where she strived to learn and grow as an artist and as an individual with each appearance.

Completing her year of service as Miss America and filled with inspiration and ideas, Kirsten packed her bags and moved to Los Angeles to pursue her lifelong dream of a career in entertainment. She is managed by Dolphin Entertainment and represented by the Osbrink Agency; eager to begin work in television and film. Continuing her advocacy work, she has created the Kirsten Haglund Foundation to raise money for eating disorders treatment not presently reimbursed by health insurance. It is her hope that she will be able to provide hope and support for those struggling with eating disorders. She sees her work as just beginning; looking to both the Arts and service to bring people together to do great things.