A break in her runner-up streak came when she was crowned 2008 Miss Georgia Forestry and then Miss United States Forestry. However, although she had earned those titles, she was ineligible to compete in Miss Georgia, because those pageants ask their winners to dedicate the year to that crown only. “Now I see why that (Miss U.S. Forestry) was given to me, because it was my stepping stone. I wasn’t ready for Miss Georgia,” April says, “now I’m finally going, and I’m ready.”
Last November she earned the crown that would allow her to compete at Miss Georgia when she was named Miss Columbus State University. She is a senior there studying theater performance with plans of graduating in December.
Next week she will compete in various categories at Miss Georgia, such as interview, evening wear and talent. For her talent, April says she plans to sing “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. “My Dad loves that, and I grew up listening to it,” says the daughter of Lisa and Paul Hollingsworth of Whigham.
Oddly enough, this outgoing young woman, says the hardest part of preparing for Miss Georgia is the portion of the pageant that carries the least amount of value during the judging, and that is the swimsuit portion. She says, “When I go out to eat with friends, I have to be careful what I eat or I take my own food. That’s really hard when you’re a college student and all you want to eat are Ramen Noodles!”
To make sure she is in top shape for the body baring part of the pageant, April says she has been working with a personal trainer in Columbus. “She’s taught me a lot about endurance and perseverance and determination,” April explains, “I’ve always been an active person, but I wasn’t necessarily doing it the right way. She’s taught me a whole lot. She’s a good mentor, too.”
April doesn’t require a paid professional to help her prepare for the interview, instead she just runs down to the corner grocery, or talks to friends. “I think preparing for interview comes from talking to lots of people on a day to day basis, even if it’s the cashier at the grocery store. Or, I go into my professors’ offices and talk with them about things in the news,” she says.
The scholarship money April earns from pageants is what keeps her eager to compete. Money may not have been the driving force when she first entered contests at a very young age. “I tried them when I was little,” she says, “I begged my Mom. But, I never won, and I would cry and Mom would say, ‘No more!’ Then in seventh grade I begged to do the Junior Miss Whigham, and I was the first seventh grader to ever win.” April laughs when she recalls the contest that became a turning point in her pageant career, “I wore an old wedding dress. It had these huge puffy sleeves!” But the savings bond she won helped change her mother’s mind about the value of pageants. “That’s the main reason I do these (pageants), for scholarship money. And, I love to entertain. They combine both. It’s wonderful,” April says.
The pageant bug remains active in her family. April’s 14-year-old sister, Ally, is competing for titles, as well.
April’s family and the rest of her many friends and supporters will finally get to see her compete for the crown she has long desired when Miss Georgia is crowned in less than two weeks.