1 of 2
2 of 2
Miss South Carolina 2012, Ali Rogers, was the first-runner up in the Miss America pageant Saturday night, Jan. 12. She finished second to Miss New York, Mallory Hytes Hagan. It was state's best finish since Kimberly Aiken won the crown in 1994. Rogers earned a $25,000 scholarship from Amway.
On Monday morning after the competition, Rogers said she was feeling “well rested—almost!”
“I really couldn’t be happier with the position I’m in now,” she said. “When I got on stage for the top five, I just had this settling feeling that everything was going to work out the way it was supposed to. Now I get to go back home to my job as Miss South Carolina.”
During the first night of preliminary competition, Rogers won the Lifestyle and Fitness preliminary. She will receive a $1,000 Amway scholarship. During the second night of competition, pageant officials honored Rogers for her fundraising efforts with the Children's Miracle Network. Out of all contestants, Rogers raised the largest amount of money for the children's charity—more than $20,000. She won a $5,000 scholarship for that effort, bringing her total winnings to $31,000 in scholarships from the Miss America Competition.
Age : 21
Occupation: Miss South Carolina 2012
Necessary Accessory: Her black-and-white “Make a Difference” bracelet
Favorite Pastime: A day at the lake with family
Little-known fact: Ali is short for Almeda, her grandmother’s name
She’s leggy, blonde, poised and beautiful, so it’s tempting to assume that Ali Rogers fits all the beauty queen stereotypes.
Give her a minute to prove otherwise.
“I. Do Not. Like. Pink,” she says of defiantly painting her toenails royal blue against the advice of her state pageant team last July.
She won that pageant, blue nails and all, being comfortable with being a little bit different.
Gowns and crowns are fine for a time, but at heart, Rogers is a blue-jeans and-T-shirt-loving girl who grew up in rural Laurens County, keeping pace with big brother Dean and a passel of boy cousins, riding four-wheelers, fishing, camping, playing softball and watching Clemson football.
“I was actually surprised when I won swimsuit, because in my mind, all [the judges] could see was my softball scars,” she admits.
As she prepares for the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas on Jan. 12, Rogers is focused on showing the judges the real girl behind the title, the one who is not the least bit “pageanty,” who promotes her platform—making a difference for children with disabilities—by asserting that the way to win is to be yourself.
The Clemson communications major, daughter of Laurens Electric Cooperative members Alex and Adair Rogers, has steadfastly refused interview coaches, trusting her ability to express her own point of view. And she likes standing out from the crowd.
“There were 47 other contestants, all incredible role models, that would love to have the crown and title,” she says of the Miss South Carolina pageant. “But I wanted the job.”
That’s the real girl to look for in Las Vegas.