Was Miss SC ‘too Southern’ to become Miss America?

ztreu@greenvillenews.comApril 22, 2013 

— Sororities, self-confidence and Southern cooking were up for discussion Saturday afternoon when Ali Rogers, Miss South Carolina and the runner-up in the 2013 Miss America competition, addressed a large group of young women at Furman University.

Rogers was candid as she spoke about her personal life, the importance of self confidence, and her platform, “Making a Difference for Children with Disabilities.”

“I didn’t grow up a pageant girl, so I didn’t know that being Miss South Carolina would mean having such a full-time job,” she said.

The event was part of Furman Panhellenic Council’s #beBold month, a program running through April, dedicated to encouraging confidence in college women. Alpha Delta Pi, one of Furman’s seven sororities, co-sponsored the short talk and lengthy question and answer session with Rogers.

Rogers, herself a member of Alpha Delta Pi at Clemson University, has been traveling throughout the state for the past several months as part of her Miss South Carolina duties. Her most recent appearance was the prom Saturday night at Travelers Rest High, where she received a warm and enthusiastic reception.

“As a 21-year-old, it was really uplifting to have that kind of encouragement and self esteem boost from 16-year-olds,” she said. “It really was a fun time.”

She spoke without notes for about 15 minutes, focusing on individuality, issues women face on university campuses, and continuing to grow as a person after college.

“You may be an Alpha Delta Pi forever, but you won’t be a hot 20-year-old forever,” she said. “What’s your legacy going to be like when you leave Furman University?”

The same principle applies to her as well, Rogers said.

“I’m not gonna let Miss South Carolina be the peak of my life,” she said. “It doesn’t define who I am.”

While Rogers has dedicated herself to making a difference as Miss South Carolina, she said anyone can do the same. “You don’t need to wait to become a preacher or a teacher,” she said.

And she offered some advice on the importance of exercising caution with social media. “Be careful what you tweet, because your future boss, or your future mother-in-law, might be reading it.”

Rogers ended her speech with an explanation of why she placed second instead of first at the 2013 Miss America competition — she was told that she was too sweet, not edgy enough, and too Southern.

“Well,” she grinned, “if I have to be less sweet, more edgy, and less Southern, I think I’m happy to be back to serve South Carolina.”

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