Miss America Mallory Hagan put a lot of work into winning that crown last weekend—and she knew the journey wouldn't be complete until she had strutted her stuff in a bikini.

And she was OK with that.

Asked how it felt to have so many eyes upon her in that scantily clad state (which, of course, is expected of all the Miss America hopefuls), Hagan told E! News, "The feelings are just knowing that my life is going to change." 

"It's something that I started working for when I was 13," the 24-year-old former Miss New York said in a sit-down at the NBC Experience Store in New York's Rockefeller Center. "The Miss America organization has a teen program that feeds into the Miss program, so the teens also get scholarship money. I did that till I was 17, then I started with the Miss program."

Before she was queen of her adopted home state (she was born in Alabama), Hagan was Miss Brooklyn in 2010 and then Miss New York City the following year.

With the Miss America win adding $50,000 to her pot of scholarship gold, Hagan tells us that she's hoping to continue her education at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology, where she wants to study fashion marketing.

But she knows she's got a busy year representing the Miss America brand ahead of her first—and, for the record, her boyfriend is cool with kicking back and supporting his lady in 2013.

"He knows that this year is about me," Hagan says, "promoting the organization, promoting Children's Miracle Network and promoting education."

Sounds like a win-win situation for more than just Miss America.

Also, watch the clip for Hagan's secret to staying fit, and tune in Wednesday to E! News at 7 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. for the rest of our interview with Miss America 2013!

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