Miss Georgia relinquishes crown after 12 hours

Monday, June 29, 2009

Former Miss Georgia 2009 titleholder Kristina Higgins.
Image: Miss Capital City Scholarship Pageant.

Kristina Higgins, who won the title of Miss Georgia 2009 Saturday evening at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts in downtown Columbus, gave up the crown almost as quickly as she received it. On Sunday morning, Emily Cook, the first runner-up, received word that she would be the new Miss Georgia 2009, and would compete for the title of Miss America next January in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Higgins, 24, having previously won the title of Miss Capital City, beat out 34 other pageant hopefuls to take the crown, only to relinquish it privately the next morning. In a rather confusing twist, Higgins had competed twice before in the Miss Georgia pageant, placing second just last year.

Emily Cook, the newly crowned Miss Georgia 2009.
Image: Miss Cobb County Pageant.

In a prepared statement via the Miss Georgia Scholarship Pageant, Higgins said, "Due to my current job responsibilities as a middle school teacher and the responsibilities and time commitment as Miss Georgia, I have decided to not fulfill the duties of Miss Georgia 2009. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been chosen as Miss Georgia and fully support the system and wish Emily Cook the best of luck." Higgins is a 2008 graduate from Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, receiving her degree in special education.

Cook, 22, won the title of Miss Cobb County before eventually placing second in Saturday's competition, and now takes over duties for Higgins effective immediately. A 2005 graduate of Kennesaw Mountain High School, Cook graduated this May with a degree in music from the University of Miami, and will be pursuing a law degree this year at the University of Georgia in Athens.

Cook was scheduled to make her first televised appearance as Miss Georgia 2009 on Sunday evening, during WTVM's six o'clock news.