Miss Georgia Carly Mathis makes Top 10

Miss Georgia Carly Mathis, of Leesburg, made it to the 10 semifinalists round in Sunday's Miss America competition. (Special photo)

Miss Georgia Carly Mathis, of Leesburg, made it to the 10 semifinalists round in Sunday's Miss America competition. (Special photo)


Miss New York Nina Davuluri was crowned Miss America Sunday night. (Special photo)

LEESBURG — Having carried on the pageant legacy in her family to a new level, Carly Mathis made an impression in the Miss America competition Sunday night.

Mathis, a native to Leesburg, represented Georgia in the pageant, advancing as a Top 10 finalist Sunday.

She performed “On My Own” from “Les Miserables,” but was eliminated when the final five were named. The crown was won by Nina Davuluri of New York, who became the second consecutive contestant from the Empire State and the first contestant of Indian descent to win the competition.


Miss Georgia Carly Mathis, of Leesburg, competes in a preliminary round last week during the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J. Mathis reached the top 10 in Sunday night's competition. (Reuters)

Crystal Lee of California and Kelsey Griswold of Oklahoma were named the first and second runner-up, respectively.

In 2007, Mathis received her first win in the Miss America organization as a junior at Deerfield-Windsor School when she was crowned Miss Outstanding Teen Albany — earning herself a Darton Foundation scholarship, a savings bond, an official Outstanding Teen America plate and entry into Georgia’s Outstanding Teen pageant.

Even before this, she had her share of exposure to the pageant circle.

“I’ve always wanted to be Miss Outstanding Teen Albany. My mom was Miss Albany in 1985 and she used to be director of the Miss Albany pageant for a while so I’ve grown up around pageants,” she said in a 2007 interview with The Albany Herald.

She would go on to be crowned Miss Historic Southern Plains in 2011. When she went into the Miss Georgia pageant in June, she was Miss Atlanta. When she won Miss Georgia earlier this year, she earned a $15,000 scholarship.

With a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Georgia, she said in an interview with The Herald in June that she planned to pursue a law degree.

When she stopped into Lee County in July, she received proclamations and well-wishes from Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard, U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, Lee County Commissioner Rick Muggridge and state Rep. Ed Rynders, R-Leesburg. She also became the fourth recipient of Leesburg’s “Homegrown Award.”

Aside from the scholarship she obtained from her statewide title, she earned a $1,000 scholarship during the Miss America preliminaries after she was announced the winner from her group in the “Lifestyle and Fitness” competition. She was also named one of seven finalists for the Quality of Life Award, which was based on her platform “Heart Health & Heart Safety.”

“I feel good about how the week is going so far,” Mathis told The Herald Wednesday during the preliminaries. “The talent competition went well, and I just hope that I’m building up some points for myself.”

Attempts to reach Mathis for comments regarding Sunday’s pageant were unsuccessful Monday.