Come 9 p.m. Sunday, Miss America fans across the Peach State will be hoping to hear Miss Georgia’s name called.
Annie Jorgensen is the first Miss Georgia to compete since the “Miss America 2.0” changes were implemented, eliminating swimsuit and adding more public speaking elements to the competition.
Despite Miss America’s nearly 100-year history as a pageant, new board chairwoman Gretchen Carlson has insisted that it’s now a competition and no longer a pageant.
So what can we expect from this year’s competition? And who is our Miss Georgia? Here’s what you need to know before the big show.
Annie Jorgensen, 22, is a recent graduate of the University of Georgia. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Grady School of Journalism this May and won the Miss University of Georgia pageant in 2016.
Jorgensen has lived in Athens for the past four years and is originally from Mequon, Wisconsin. Her talent is a jazz dance to a cover of Frank Sinatra’s “That’s Life” from the TV show “Smash.”
She’s ‘got this’
Every Miss America titleholder has to have a platform — rebranded as a “social impact initiative” in “Miss America 2.0” verbiage. Jorgensen’s is called “Patch of Confidence: #IGotThis.” The initiative is largely dedicated to instilling confidence in children and young adults. Jorgensen has partnered with the Girl Scouts of America to add an “I Got This” patch that can be earned through completing a workbook.
Through her work with #IGotThis, Jorgensen has earned a finalist spot for the Quality of Life award at Miss America. The award recognizes the contestants who have done significant service work related to their platform. The winner and two runners-up receive special scholarships.
She’s a pageant pro
Miss America isn’t her first national pageant — er, competition. Jorgensen’s first state title was Miss Wisconsin’s Outstanding Teen 2011, competing at Miss America’s Outstanding Teen that year. That pageant is considered the “little sister” to Miss America; Miss Georgia and Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen are held during the same week and run by the same organization. Jorgensen also won the title of Miss High School America 2013.
What to expect
Miss America has pivoted toward a focus on talent and public speaking in its new iteration. The evening wear portion, previously focused on the gown and runway walk, now includes a “social impact statement” in which contestants make a short prepared statement about their platform.
Talent stays the same, but the on-stage question portion is being tweaked to reflect what the private interview — conducted days before the final night of competition — looks like. And, of course, no swimsuit.
How to watch
Miss America begins at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 9. You can watch on WSB-TV (Channel 2).