SHE DIDN'T CLAIM MISS AMERICA'S CROWN, but Miss South Carolina, Ali Rogers, sure made the competition exciting.
Favored to win by Las Vegas oddsmakers, Rogers was a contender right up until the climactic moment that Miss New York, Mallory Hagan, was named Miss America 2013 on Jan. 12. Rogers is the first S.C. contestant to reach first runner-up status in the national pageant since 1990.
“I was saying, ‘Holy cow, holy cow, holy cow’” while waiting on stage beside Hagan for the final announcement, Rogers said.
“I didn’t feel my heart beating or my hands shaking until we came out on stage for the top five,” she said. “I realized I could actually win this thing and be swept off my feet, taken to New York and not see my family again until Easter.”
Now Rogers says she is excited about “coming home, jumping right back into my full-time job as Miss South Carolina” after what she calls “a little 10-day vacation.”
The thrills came early during pageant week in Las Vegas, as Rogers won the Tuesday swimsuit preliminary (her trademark blue polish on her toes). On Wednesday, she was honored as top fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, the pageant’s charity. During the live pageant broadcast, viewers learned that Rogers placed second in online public voting for favorite contestant video. In the talent competition, she played an energetic piano rendition of The Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back.”
Rogers finished the competition with $31,000 in scholarships—$25,000 as runner-up, $1,000 for her preliminary win and $5,000 for her fundraising efforts. She’ll return to her studies at Clemson in August, after crowning the next Miss South Carolina in July.
A native of Laurens County and the daughter of Alex and Adair Rogers, members of Laurens Electric Cooperative, she was one of the co-op’s delegates to the 2009 Washington Youth Tour.
View more photos from the pageant.