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Miss Georgia Carly Mathis urges Kiwanians to 'make a difference in someone's life'

Mathis says life has slowed a bit since her Top 10 finish at last year's Miss America Pageant

Miss Georgia, Carly Mathis of Leesburg, says life has gotten a little slower since her Top 10 finish at the Miss America Pageant in September. She spoke to the Dougherty County Kiwanis Club Monday and urged the members to “make a difference in somebody’s life.” (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

Miss Georgia, Carly Mathis of Leesburg, says life has gotten a little slower since her Top 10 finish at the Miss America Pageant in September. She spoke to the Dougherty County Kiwanis Club Monday and urged the members to “make a difference in somebody’s life.” (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

ALBANY — As her reign as Miss Georgia passes the halfway mark and following a Top 10 finish in the Miss America Pageant, Carly Mathis of Lee County says life has slowed a little, giving her time to reflect. She shared some of those reflections Monday with the Dougherty County Kiwanis Club.

“At an early age, I always knew I wanted to be Miss Georgia,” Mathis, who has competed in pageants since she was 13, said. “I’ve got five more months as Miss Georgia, and I hope the new Miss Georgia is from here.

The road to the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City took her five years

In 2008, she was crowned Miss Albany’s Outstanding Teen. In 2011, it was Miss Historic Southern Plains and a slot as one of the top 12 finalists for the 2011 Miss Georgia pageant. In 2012, she picked up Miss Georgia Cotton and finished as the first runner-up, and heading into the Miss Georgia 2013 pageant she carried with her the title of Miss Atlanta.

Heading to Atlantic City, Mathis’ goal was to just make the first cut to 15.

“The Miss America competition was the best time of my life,” Mathis, who eventually finished in the Top 10, said. “All I wanted to do was make the first cut. On the final day of competition we really didn’t have time to think much because things moved so fast. We only had a minute and a half to change clothes. It was crazy.”

Now Mathis looks forward to her future. She has already graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in broadcast journalism and wants to get a law degree in the hopes of one day combining the two and serving as a legal correspondent.

She also has more time to devote to one of her favorite causes as an advocate for the American Heart Association.

“I was overweight as a child and I remember going to the doctor and him telling my cholesterol was over 200, he said ‘I don’t know when you will die, but I can tell you what you will probably die from,’” Mathis said. “That scared me because my family has a history of heart disease.”

So she pushes heart awareness whenever she gets the chance.

“In the South, we see a lot of heart-related illnesses and death, things that ultimately can be prevented with the right combination of diet and exercise combined with routine medical screenings,” Mathis said. “It’s my hope that we can cut those numbers and really make a difference in people’s lives and improve their lives through education.”

She also urged the Kiwanians to make a difference in the lives of others.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from, you can make a difference,” Mathis said. “Each one of you can inspire someone else. Make a difference in someone’s life.”