Richmond Hill High School graduate Shya Lewis will be among 100 participants competing in the Miss Georgia Pageant Nov. 17-19 in McDonough. This experience will be a first for the 19-year-old, who has never competed in a pageant before.
Lewis is currently majoring in international studies with a minor in French at Georgia Southern. Following college, she hopes to work for the United Nations. She is involved in the Conversation Partner Program at GSU, which pairs one international student with one native speaker to help the new student learn the subtleties of the English language. Lewis is also planning on studying abroad in Canada next semester through an exchange program.
To prepare, Lewis says she’s been "working out and focusing on doing well in school," but admits she’s a bit nervous.
"I think it’s going to be an interesting experience. I’m pretty excited about it."
Given her passions of human rights, women’s rights and education, Lewis initially became interested in the Miss Georgia Pageant because of what that platform could do. She plans to use the stage and interview process as outlets for speaking about these topics and spreading the word on how to make a difference.
"I am participating in the pageant as a stepping stone to go into inner cities and discuss the importance of education and morals," she said.
The competition itself consists of three phases: swimsuit/active wear, evening gown, and a four-minute interview. The scores from these phases will be added together, and the women with the highest scores will become semifinalists. These women will compete in the swimsuit/active wear and ball gown phases once more, until the pool of contestants is narrowed down to five finalists.
To pick a winner, the five remaining women will undergo an on-stage interview. The winner of the Miss Georgia Pageant will not only go on to compete in the Miss USA competition, but she will also be awarded scholarships toward her education.