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South Forsyth High School graduate competes at Miss Georgia
Miss Georgia
Miranda Moore, a South Forsyth High School graduate, will be competing in the Miss Georgia Scholarship Competition in June. Photo courtesy of Miranda Moore.

Miranda Moore graduated from South Forsyth High School in 2016 before enrolling at the University of Georgia as a STEM major. Being a “jack of all trades,” Moore immediately got involved in campus life and organizations including the Redcoat Marching Band and leadership groups.

“It was hard because I like a lot of stuff,” Moore said. “And I never want to not do or try something because I thought I didn’t have time. I always thought, ‘If you want to do it, you can make time.’”

A little over a year ago, Moore found an organization that allowed her to volunteer and serve her school, community and peers: the Miss America Organization.

“I started competing over a year ago,” Moore said. “And initially, it started out as just something fun — something I could do to get some extra scholarship money.”

Moore competed in her first pageant at UGA, entering in the Miss UGA scholarship competition “just for fun and to see what happened.” Moore placed in her very first competition, earning the title of second runner up.

“Normally, people don’t place in their first pageants,” Moore said. “So I was super shocked.”

While her peers and fellow competitors encouraged Moore to continue, she was hesitant to take up another hobby. Moore explained that she was already working and involved in many school activities.

“I was pretty happy having just done well at Miss UGA, but then I was like, ‘You know what? I’ll do another one.’ I had already bought a dress so I figured I’d give it another try, and when I did, I ended up winning,” Moore said.

Miss Georgia
Miranda Moore stands underneath the arch at the University of Georgia, posing with her cap, gown and cords of merit. Photo courtesy of Miranda Moore.

In 2020, Moore competed for the title of Miss Flint River, a title underneath the Miss America Organization in Albany. Moore explained that the title was considered “open,” which meant that any girl living in the state could apply and compete for it.

“It was such a great experience,” Moore said. “I loved being involved in the competition and meeting all the other talented, smart women.”

Moore explained that the Miss America Organization has four to five components to each of its competitions: a private interview, a question on stage, a talent portion, an evening gown portion and for teens, a fitness portion. Moore said that the fitness portion “is kind of the equivalent of what used to be a swimsuit portion.”

Moore said that her favorite portion of competition is the private interview where each candidate meets one-on-one with the judges to answer questions.

“I’m probably just like one of three people who would ever say that private interview is their favorite,” Moore said. “But I think it’s so fun. I love getting grilled and answering questions that make me think and share my opinions.”

Moore also said that she enjoyed preparing for the interviews by reading current events and taking time for self-reflection.

“The private interview also teaches you how to learn and know yourself, which I don’t think many people know how to have that skill,” Moore said. “You really have to know yourself and be comfortable to be able to walk into a room and say, ‘Hey, this is my opinion and here’s why.’”

“I love that the Miss America Organization challenges girls to share their opinions and encourages them to stand up for what they believe in,” she said.

Moore explained that she also enjoyed participating in the talent portion of the competition and showing off her piano skills, though she did admit that it made her the most nervous. She said that many women who compete have been practicing their talents for a long time whereas Moore recently took up piano a few years ago.

“They judge on showmanship, though, which I really like,” Moore said. “It gives people like me a chance to do well. People who are not inherently, overly talented but are still entertaining.”

Miss Georgia
Miranda Moore smiles before her performing her talent, contemporary piano. Moore only began teaching herself to play the piano a few years ago. Photo courtesy of Miranda Moore.

Moore also explained that the evening gown portion of the competition is where competitors can tell the audience about their Social Impact Initiative, or “platform.” Moore’s platform is called Beyond the Classroom and focuses on preparing students for success beyond the typical core academic disciplines.

“It’s all about how to define your leadership style, how to complete a college application, do well in an interview or write a resume,” Moore said. “It’s all those skills that I feel like you don’t get in high school that you need to transition from 12th grade to whatever the next phase of your life is.”

For her platform, Moore tutored through UGA and was a member of many student leadership programs, including UGA’s office of admissions where she led campus tours, spoke at panels and introduced students to university life.

“When I started doing competitions through the Miss America Organization, I found that I could kind of combine all my passions and volunteer in a more holistic way,” Moore said. “I was able to volunteer for MAO and make a difference in Athens-Clarke County or on campus at UGA. It was really fulfilling to be able to do that.”

This June, Moore will compete alongside countless other title-holding women at Miss Georgia, representing her current title, Miss Flint River.

“I can’t wait to compete again,” Moore said. “I’m a little nervous after being in quarantine for so long, but I can’t wait to meet all the women and share my platform and passions.”

To support Miranda Moore’s journey, check out @missflintriver2020 on Instagram. To learn more about Moore’s platform, Beyond the Classroom, visit www.missflintriver.com.

This year, Miss Georgia crowning will be held on Saturday, June 19 in Columbus.