Miss Georgia Carly Mathis said Sunday that it a "strange feeling" knowing the Miss America Pageant next month in Atlantic City, N.J., will be her last time competing. Her pageant career is nearing an end.
"I have worked so hard to reach this point, and it will all be over in a few weeks. I have put in a lot of preparation for this. I am ready to go and give it everything I've got," she said.
Mathis was at a party in her honor at the Cunningham Center on the campus of Columbus State University. It was attended by about approximately 75 family members and supporters.
Recalling her victory here in June when she arrived as Miss Atlanta and left as Miss Georgia, the 22-year-old woman from Leesburg, Ga., recalled that at that time, she was just "relieved" to win. She was first runner-up the year before.
At the Sunday party, she performed the song "On My Own" that she will sing in the competition. It was not what she sang here in June.
"I love 'Les Miserables,' and I want to do a song with real passion," she said.
She also modeled for the audience the different gowns she will wear in Atlantic City. Each drew loud applause.
Mathis is a graduate of the University of Georgia's Grady School of Journalism, where she majored in digital and broadcast news. She plans to attend law school using her scholarship money.
Mathis told the audience that her family has a history of heart disease and that is why promoting heart health and safety is her platform.
She said she has been ill recently and was happy she felt well enough to make it to the Columbus event.
"You don't understand how much this means to me," Mathis said. "I appreciate your support."
While she will be keeping a strict diet until Sept. 15, the final night of the Miss America pageant, she laughed and said she hopes her supporters watching the pageant will "eat a lot of food for me."