Oct. 24—THOMASVILLE- Chancley Stewart is the newly crowned Mrs. Georgia USA just one year after Thomasville native Rachel Owens took the crown.
Stewart, a mother of three, including 6-month-old twins, said she was inspired to compete in the pageant after speaking with Owens, who owns the daycare her twins attend.
"I had never been in pageants," Stewart said. "My cousins competed in pageants and I always went and supported them, but I never pictured myself competing."
While Stewart was excited to compete in the pageant, her main goal was to bring attention to her platform.
Stewart serves as a CASA advocate and said she wants to use her voice to speak up for foster children, utilizing the Thomasville non-profit Never Lost as her platform.
Never Lost serves as a compass for children in the foster care system, providing them with stability, protection and hope for the future during their transition, as the children are often in a constant state of movement from one home to the next.
Stewart's unyielding passion for her platform put her over the edge in the interview portion of the Mrs. Georgia USA pageant, which was conducted differently this year.
While Owens partook in a physical competition, Stewart took part in the pageant over Zoom.
During the Zoom call, an interview was conducted, before a later telephone call for additional questions.
Stewart said the interview was nerve-wracking, as she had no idea what the judges might ask.
"It was a combination of national issues questions and questions about my platform," she explained.
Following the multiple interviews, Stewart was crowned the winner. With the win, Stewart will now compete in the National Mrs. USA competition in Omaha in August.
The Nationals competition will require Stewart to showcase herself in formal wear and fitness wear, along with her ability to clearly communicate and interview.
"I'm really girly, so I'm most excited about the opportunity to compete in formal wear," Stewart said.
Before heading off to Nationals, Stewart will be partaking in many local events to better the town she continues to raise her children in.
Her first event was this past weekend at Hands on Thomas County Day, where she and her daughter Sarah generously donated their time to anyone in need.
Additionally, she will be on hand at the Top of Thomasville Dueling for a Purpose Dueling Pianos event benefitting Never Lost and the Junior Service League's Red Nose Run, raising funds for the JSL's eyeglass project.
While Stewart does not want to force her daughter to partake in any form of pageants, she does hope this inspires her to get involved in her community and give back in whatever way works best for her.
"She's my little tomboy, but I'm going to take her with me to my dress fittings and we will see if it sparks any interest," Stewart said.
Stewart also hopes to spark community interest in her journey to Mrs. USA. She encourages others to follow her journey on Facebook at Mrs. Georgia USA.
Stewart concluded by thanking her employer Cleaver Brooks and her family and friends for the unending support.