McLeod in Top 10 at Miss Georgia pageant
By Isabela Rzeznik
After winning the title of Miss University of Georgia, Shelby McLeod of Madison took on the 68th Miss Georgia Scholarship Pageant this past weekend, June 20-23, in Columbus. McLeod competed with 33 young women from around the state for the opportunity to participate in the Miss America pageant.
McLeod was in the Top 10 – only the Top Five are ranked – with the title of Miss Georgia going to Leighton Jordan (Miss Capital City) of Suwanee. McLeod did win around $1,500 in scholarship money through her participation in the competition.
“The thing that drew me in is it encompasses so many things I was already interested in,” said McLeod of being in pageants. Since she has already been performing for most of her life, pageants were fairly easy for her to adapt to. McLeod also divulged that she enjoys being able to dress up, as well as gaining valuable interviewing skills and singing in the talent portion of the competition. After losing her uncle, John Newman, to cancer recently, she chose Relay for Life as her platform.
As for the differences between the two pageants she has competed in, McLeod explains that with Miss Georgia, the contestants are more serious. She went on to clarify that there was more of a show to go along with the competition and that staying focused was very important. For McLeod, being able to balance making friends with the other girls while staying focused and keeping enough energy to compete was essential. The schedule for the participants was packed, with full days including rehearsals and visits around Columbus. One of the visits, on Friday, was to the Children’s Miracle Network at the Medical Center, located at Columbus Regional Hospital, where the girls met with patients. “I’m still myself,” said McLeod.
McLeod’s parents, Jeff and Kay McLeod, joined her in Columbus on Wednesday for support. “I don’t consider us true pageant parents,” said her father, referring to the fact that McLeod did not begin competing until college and other parents have been in the pageant world for much longer. The two had a cheering on their daughter as well as watching the competition. Jeff McLeod was most impressed by the talent portion of the competition due to the incredible proficiency and artistic interests of the contestants. For her talent performance, McLeod sang “Unchained Melody,” a song made famous by the Righteous Brothers.
As for the future, McLeod is keeping an open mind about the future and working towards finishing her communications studies degree. She mentions that she would possibly like to work in the music industry. “We’re very proud of Shelby,” said Jeff McLeod.
Printed in the June 28, 2012 edition