TODAY   |  June 18, 2013

Miss USA has tearful reunion with grandmother

The newly crowned Miss USA Erin Brady, 25, talks about being one of the older competitors, saying maturity is “an advantage,” and reunites with her grandmother who wasn’t able to attend the pageant in Las Vegas.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> and we're back now, 7:41 with the new miss usa erin brady. the 25-year-old from connecticut captured the crown on sunday night. she will represent the u.s. at november's miss universe pageant . good morning, congratulations. how are you doing.

>> i'm fantastic.

>> after this segment i'm calling my accountant and firing him. you're an accountant.

>> i am. i'm a financial accountant.

>> how did you get from being an accountant to competing in miss usa .

>> it's always been a passion and i said to myself i think it's time for a change . i competed two years in a row as miss connecticut and then it landed my spot at miss usa and here we are today.

>> i can't believe i'm going to say this but at 25, you were older than a lot of the other contestants and you competed before but only for a couple of years. some might have thought of that as a disadvantage.

>> i disagree. at maturity wise you're at a different state. i'm more comfortable with myself now than i was two or three or four years ago.

>> so maturity does help.

>> yeah.

>> you're an impressive young lady . you've been through some tough things in your life. you had to be independent from a very young age. there's some family history of alcoholism and i know you'd like to address that a little bit during your reign. what do you want people to know?

>> i want people to know that you don't have to get caught up with things like that, you can actually make a better change for yourself and you can come out on top and to not be a stereotype and not fall into the tradition that sometimes happens when you're in a family of that kind of reputation. you can rise up and become miss usa .

>> you all as part of the competition have to answer questions. i think your question was on a recent supreme court ruling on dna testing .

>> it was.

>> it's a nerve racking moment.

>> it is.

>> where were you standing when miss utah was answering her question that has gotten so much attention.

>> i was standing right behind her. i was the second girl to go right behind her and you're nervous for her because in a matter of seconds that can be you. you're going to have a similar question. you're in front of millions of people.

>> even though you're competing your heart goes out to her.

>> yeah because you developed a relationship with them.

>> let's take a look at that moment and talk about it on the other side.

>> i think we can relate this back to education and how we are continuing to try to strive to figure out how to create jobs right now. that is the biggest problem and i think, especially the men are seen as the leaders of this so we need to figure out how to create education better so we can solve this problem. thank you.

>> thank you utah. thank you sweetheart.

>> you probably want to give her a hug.

>> you do.

>> we'll give you that chance right now, marissa powell is here in the studio. we'll give her a second chance. nice to see you. how are you? it's good to see you here. have a seat, please.

>> what was going through your mind.

>> oh my gosh. so much, i can't even tell you. i was so excited and i was so nervous and i got up to this top 5 question. i was the first one and i got up the question was a little bit confusing to me and i just started speaking without really processing.

>> and you're 21 years old. it's only your third pageant at that stage, at that level and it had to be one of those moments you wish you could have dug a hole and crawled in it for a second. can i give you a second chance at the question.

>> please.

>> here was the question, in 40% of american families with children women are the primary earners yet they continue to earn less than men. what does this say about society?

>> so this is not okay. it needs to be equal pay for equal work and it's hard enough already to earn a living and it shouldn't be harder just because you're a woman.

>> that was very well done.

>> thank you.

>> marissa , thank you very much.

>> that's what i wanted to say.

>> that was perfect. before i let you both go you mentioned that your grandmother was such an inspiration to you as a young lady and she couldn't be there.

>> she couldn't be there to see me but she was screaming at the top of her lungs.

>> teresa, come on in. grandma, you haven't had a chance to see erin since she won so come in and be careful.

>> oh my god. oh my god.

>> teresa.

>> i love you, oh my god.

>> erin told me she called you and said grandma it's miss usa and you were so excited.

>> my heart is racing.

>> we wanted to bring you two together.

>> thank you so much.

>> congratulations erin .

>> marissa thank you very much for coming and what a pleasure to meet you.

>> nice to meet you too, matt.

>> it's a pleasure.