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Miss America has Alexander City ties

Published 11:46am Wednesday, January 16, 2013

She might have competed for the Miss America crown as Miss New York, but Mallory Hagan has Alabama roots.

The 2007 graduate of Opelika High School was crowned Miss America Saturday night in Las Vegas.

While Hagan was raised in Opelika, her family hails from Alexander City.

“I now live in LaGrange, but Alexander City is still home,” said Maenette Hanners, Hagan’s paternal grandmother. “My parents are deceased, but they lived in Alexander City and my brother, Mike Scott still does.”

Hanners said Hagan’s passion for dance took her to New York at the age of 18.

“She wanted to pursue her dancing career,” Hanners said. “She’s been exposed to dancing all her life. Her mother and her other grandmother teach dance so it’s always been all about the dancing.”

Hagan’s lifelong love of dance served her well as she tap danced to James Brown’s “Get Up Off of That Thing” for the talent portion of the Miss America pageant.

“I’m so very proud of her,” Hanners said. “I’m so happy for her.”

Hagan’s uncle, Mike Scott, said he was particularly proud of the answer she gave to “Good Morning America” weatherman Sam Champion during the interview portion of the pageant.

Champion asked her if schools should hire armed guards in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. Shooting.

“I don’t think the proper way to fight violence is with violence,” Hagan replied. “I think the proper way is to educate people on guns and the ways we can use them properly. We can lock them up, we can have gun safety classes, we can have a longer waiting period.”

Hanners said pageants have also been a long pursued passion for Hagan as she previously competed for the Miss New York title twice.

“She has been involved in pageants her whole life,” Hanners said. “This is something she’s wanted and worked for forever.”

Hanners said she was unable to attend the Miss New York pageant this year, but was thrilled to watch her granddaughter compete for Miss America in Las Vegas.

“My health hasn’t been too good so I wasn’t able to make the (last New York) trip,” Hanners said. “But I was determined to make this one.”

Hanner’s said she is still in shock that she is the grandmother of Miss America.

“We’re still in the clouds,” Hanners said. “We haven’t come down yet. It’s been a whirlwind of excitement.”