Miss Georgia Pageant: Winners with Columbus ties rare

sokamoto@ledger-enquirer.comJune 20, 2013 

If one of the six local women win Miss Georgia, they'll join a rather small group who have taken home the crown.

The last Miss Columbus to become Miss Georgia was Mary Lou Henderson in 1946. Five women who claim Columbus as their hometown have gone on to win Miss Georgia, including Chasity Hardman in 2008.

So far, only Neva Jane Langley (as Miss Macon) won the Miss America crown in 1953.

Miss Georgia 1985, Columbus' Samantha Mohr, who was Miss University of Georgia, was the state's most anticipated contestant. A computer program predicted that she would win Miss America.

"I didn't even make the Top 10. I was robbed," she said, laughing. Mohr was backstage Tuesday during a lunch break. She will be singing the National Anthem tonight.

Mohr, now 51, will be asking the on-stage questions as contestants show off their evening wear. Each contestant will only have 15 seconds to answer, rather than the 30 seconds in the past.

Producer and director Barbara Motos said it was for two reasons.

"Usually the girls didn't use the full 30 seconds. It looked like they didn't have a lot to say. And because of the number of girls -- 81 between the teens and the misses -- 13 or 14 in each group, it becomes a very, very long segment. We thought it would keep the show moving quicker."

At Wednesday's rehearsal, only one contestant took longer than 15 seconds to answer her question, so Motos thinks the abbreviated time is working.

Mohr gives hope to first-time contestants because she won Miss Georgia on her first try.

Being Miss Georgia helped boost her self-confidence, she said.

"It really helped me connect with people," she said.

As a weather caster in San Francisco, Phoenix and Houston, later at the Weather Channel and now with CNN International, she really enjoyed going out in the community and getting to know people, she said.

Mohr is also enjoying getting to know this year's contestants, though there is one drawback.

"Some of them come up to me and say I competed with their mother or their aunt," she said with a laugh.

"I feel very comfortable here," Mohr said of Columbus. "It definitely feels like home to me."

Another reason it feels like home?

She's spending the week with her daughter, Allison Aulds, a production intern. Allison is a student at the University of Georgia, studying consumer reporting.

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