The Miss Phenix City pageant has been around for over 60 years, and officials in charge of the pageant don't believe its representative has ever brought home the title of Miss Alabama.
Auburn University graduate student Meg McGuffin, 22, was crowned Miss Alabama Saturday night in Hoover, Ala. She will represent Phenix City and the state the second week of September at the Miss America competition in Atlantic City, N.J.
The show will be televised at 9 p.m. Sept. 13 on ABC.
Never miss a local story.
McGuffin, who is from Ozark, Ala., said Sunday afternoon she hasn't quite wrapped her brain around it all.
"Standing as one of the final two," McGuffin said, "I was so in awe of that moment. And they called my name as the new Miss Alabama. I'm so excited and so ready for this journey."
McGuffin competed as Miss Auburn University last year. She'll take the year off from graduate school, where she was studying the administration of higher education, and represent Miss Alabama as well as work with its official platform, the Children's Miracle Network.
McGuffin said she ultimately would like to pursue her Ph.D. in education leadership and work as a lobbyist for education. And through her years of competing in the Miss America organization, she's been awarded over $70,000 in scholarships.
"I will hopefully attain my Ph.D. and be student-debt free," she said.
But, of course, she's hoping that is delayed by another crown -- Miss America.
A dancer whose talent was a contemporary en pointe, McGuffin's personal platform is "Healthy Is The New Skinny." In Phenix City and Auburn, she implemented four events, including Love Your Body Week, which takes place during National Eating Order Awareness Week.
"Love Your Body Week has a much more positive connotation than hearing the phrase 'eating disorders,'" McGuffin said. Over 800 men and women pledged to be "fat-talk free," she said.
Phenix City Realtor Mike Foley was director of the Miss Phenix City pageant for about 15 years in the 1980s and '90s. He said Sunday he believes McGuffin is the first to represent the city as Miss Alabama.
"And the Miss Phenix City pageant is one of the longest -- if not the longest -- continually running Miss Alabama preliminaries," Foley said.
McGuffin said she felt the love immediately after the pageant. "Being the first Miss Phenix City as Miss Alabama is such an incredible honor for me that it was not even 10 minutes after the announcement that I felt so loved and supported from the community," McGuffin said. "Being the first is so exciting to me and I'm so proud that I was able to represent a community that embraced me and so eagerly loved me. I'm proud to be Miss Phenix City."
"She has been very active in our community this year," Foley said.
"And she has been very valuable to our community."
Over four years ago, the Miss Phenix City pageant opened its borders to allow Auburn University students to compete, because it was struggling to meet the Miss America rules that require at least five contestants for a pageant to exist. Three years ago the boundary was widened to a 2½-hour drive from Phenix City.