June 25, 2017 4:11 PM
Miss Columbia Suzi Roberts dazzled the crowd before being crowned Miss South Carolina firstname.lastname@example.org
Running on two hours’ sleep Sunday morning, Roberts said the past year was difficult after being named first runner-up in the 2016 Miss South Carolina contest.
“Having this be my last year of competing, the pressure was enormous,” she said. “At times I thought it would break me. I thought that I couldn’t handle it. But I just had to remember my ‘why’ and I had to remember what this job means to me.”
Winning means more to Roberts than a crown, or even a bid to compete for Miss America in September. It’s an opportunity to further a passion that, she says, already has carried her this far.
“It started with one child who was close to me,” she said of her passion for child advocacy. “I felt like the system failed her, and she wasn’t protected in the way that she should have been. And that broke my heart as I saw her grow into an adult, seeing the effects of what happened to her as a child affecting her adulthood.”
The same passion that has led Roberts to the Miss South Carolina crown also has led her to becoming a guardian ad litem in Richland County and getting involved with the Children’s Trust of South Carolina.
She also is enrolled at the University of South Carolina School of Law, which she chose because of its children’s law center.
She delayed starting law school to compete in Miss South Carolina and Miss America.
“No matter how hard the training is or how focused I get training for Miss America, the service aspect – the children of this state – will always be my No. 1 priority,” she said. “That is my goal, to be a child advocate forever in the legal and legislative sense.
“I love this country and I love the rights that we have in our country,” Roberts said, “and I want to make those equal for all children from all walks of life.”