5 questions with Hayley Henderson, Miss Columbus 2014

November 3, 2013 

You were recently crowned Miss Columbus. What does the title mean to you?

This title means so much to me. I have been competing in the Miss America system for many years with the opportunity of previously holding the titles of Miss Columbus State University and Miss Troup County. Being able to end my last year in pageants as Miss Columbus was my ultimate goal.

This is the city that has made me the woman I am today. It's the city where I was born, grew up, work and went to school. This is the city that I am passionate about, and now have the opportunity to give back to all the individuals who changed my life. I want to show others the importance of serving from the heart. Being the ambassador of Columbus is truly a blessing. I want to make Columbus proud, and I will do all I can to be there for the citizens of our town in leaving a positive legacy and impact.

Do you think pageants are still relevant in today's culture? Why or why not?

I think the Miss America system is a pageant system that is very relevant in today's culture. This system is showing women that it's not all about outer beauty. The crown that we wear has four points. These points represent style, service, scholarship and success.

We are able to compete in a system where we have scholarships to continue our education. We have to be well-rounded and understand fully what is taking place in the world around us. And, most importantly, we adopt platforms that we work with throughout our reign and understand the importance of service.

One day people might not remember that Hayley Henderson was Miss Columbus 2014, but I do hope they remember something I said, something that I did, or a feeling that I made them feel. If being relevant means changing lives for the better, then pageants are very relevant for our culture.

What's your take on the controversial swimsuit competition?

I think the biggest objective people need to realize is that the swimsuit portion of the competition is for the judges to see if we are living a healthy lifestyle. It's a competition that holds us accountable to remember to take care of our bodies. It's not a portion of the competition that is promoting girls to go on diets or to be the skinniest in the competition. It's promoting the importance of taking care of your body.

You must have energy when giving to others constantly, and in order to continue to do this you have to make sure you are healthy. Honestly, working out relieves stress for me, and overall just makes me feel better throughout the day.

Beyond pageants, what are your long-term goals?

I have always been an individual who sets realistic goals for myself. My No. 1 long-term goal is that with every decision I make I am remembering to keep God first and to be a light for Him in the actions that I make. Additionally, after receiving my master's degree I plan on looking at the opportunities of working for Chick-fil-A Corporate in Atlanta, continue being a motivational speaker and leadership coach with TRI Leadership Resources, and one day being a great wife and mother for my children.

What's the best-kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?

I truly love the town I live in. This is a town that was built on servant leadership. Coming through the Servant Leadership program at Columbus State University I have seen firsthand how the Turner family has had a vision to continue the idea of servant leadership in our community.

The best-kept secret that needs to be revealed is the resources that the Non-profit and Civic Engagement Center of the Department of Communication, located in downtown Columbus, can provide for the non-profits in our community. This center has the tools for students to discover the positive effect of service learning, and we can make a difference for others through our radio station, television studio, and create projects for non-profits who do not have the budget or funds to do so elsewhere.

Vital stats

Name: Hayley Henderson

Age: 23

Job: Marketing director for Chick-fil-A Macon Road, NPACE coordinator for the Department of Communication for Columbus State University, leadership coach for TRI Leadership Resources

Hometown: Columbus

Current home: Cataula, Ga.

Family: Parents -- Danny Henderson, car sales for Jay Auto Mall Buick/GMC; Darlene Henderson, second grade paraprofessional at Mulberry Creek Elementary

Education: Harris County High School 2008; Columbus State University Bachelor of Arts in Communication and minor in Business Administration 2012; obtaining master's degree in organizational leadership and human resource management.

Favorite book: Anything written by Nicholas Sparks, and currently "The World's Most Powerful Leadership Principle - How To Become a Servant Leader" by James C. Hunter

Favorite movie: "Where the Heart Is"

Favorite restaurant: I know I am the marketing director, but this is truly my favorite restaurant - Chick-fil-A Macon Road, Eat Mor Chikin

Favorite quote: Jeremiah 29:11 -- "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Best concert attended: Luke Bryan … enough said

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