UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) — For the first time in the pageant’s history, a black woman was crowned Miss Massachusetts.

Gabriela Taveras recently won the title over 27 other contestants at the 79th annual Miss Massachusetts Pageant.

The 23-year-old says the win is “a victory for all the trials and tribulations and setbacks” she’s had.

Taveras who calls herself the “comeback queen” experienced a challenging childhood — losing a friend to gun violence and was sexually abused, all before she was 13 years old.

The Lawrence native said, “I don’t think you can pick a more public platform for the movement than the Miss America competition.”

She added, “I have an opportunity to help people who’ve experienced trauma.”

Taveras graduated from Emmanuel College in 2017.

She plans to use any scholarship money she receives to pay off student loans and assist her in obtaining a masters degree.

She will represent Massachusetts in the 2019 Miss America competition in September.