Photo by Heather Middleton
By Curt Yeomans
Jonesboro resident, Cindy Day, did not expect to win this year's Ms. Georgia Senior America beauty pageant.
Day, 62, had very little beauty pageant experience, except for competing in another pageant for senior citizens last year (where she was one of the top 8, but did not earn a runner-up, or winner's spot). The other remotely related experience she had was some department store modeling in Augusta, as a 16-year-old, she said.
It was not even the grandmother of five's idea to enter the beauty pageant this year, said Day. It was her husband, Wayne, who worked behind the scenes to get their friends to convince her to put in her name.
But, Cindy Day entered the pageant, which was held on Sept. 12, at the Dorsey Benson Senior Center, in Sandy Springs -- and she won.
"I couldn't believe it," she said. "They were calling out the first, second, third runners-up, and my name was not being called, and I thought 'Well, I've milked this for all it was worth. I can't even get a runner-up spot, and then they called my name.
"I was in shock," said Day. "It was just unbelievable."
The newly-crowned queen will now represent Georgia at the Ms. Senior America pageant, which will be held from Oct. 3, to Oct. 7 at Harrah's Resort & Casino, in Atlantic City, N.J. The Ms. Senior America program is for women over the age of 60, according to the pageant program's web site, www.senioramerica.org/.
The new Ms. Georgia Senior America's husband, Wayne Day, said he thought his wife should enter the state pageant because he feels she looks like she belongs in a beauty pageant. "I thought Cindy has always been a beautiful woman," he said. "I just think she looks like a beauty queen, myself."
But, Cindy Day said she did not just walk away from the Ms. Georgia Senior America pageant with the crown and the state-wide beauty queen title. She said she also earned the award for having the best talent performance at the state pageant. The trophy for the recognition sits next to her Ms. Georgia Senior America trophy, and an appreciation trophy from the pageant, in her living room.
Ms. Georgia Senior America said that during the talent portion of the pageant, she decided to represent her hometown, and brought a Jonesboro-esque flair to the event, by performing "Tara's Theme" (the main theme from "Gone With the Wind") on a piano. She said she will likely perform the song again at the national pageant.
"I had prepared a Gershwin medley," Cindy Day said. "But, everyone keeps telling me to be unique, and show Georgia on the map, so I think I'll stick with the Jonesboro theme and perform 'Tara's Theme.' "
She said she chose to play the piano for her talent display because she has spent years working in the music field. Among the degrees she has earned, are an associate's degree in music, from Georgia State University, and an associates degree in business from Clayton State University, said Day.
Cindy Day said she also spent several years working as a music teacher at various Christian private schools in the area. Although she is now retired, she said she still gives private piano lessons at her home. "I'm not a novice, by any means, when it comes to playing the piano," she said.
In addition to playing the piano, some of Cindy Day's other hobbies include crafts-making, calligraphy, cooking, singing, working in her garden, walking, and painting realist, nature settings.
She said she even earned an art scholarship to Michigan State University in the 1960's, but quit the art program after a semester, after deciding modern art was not her thing. She said she stayed at the school one more semester before leaving all together.
The new Ms. Georgia Senior America, and her husband, said religion plays a major role in their lives. She said she teaches leadership classes at First Baptist Church of Jonesboro, volunteers at the church's Recreation Outreach Center (ROC), and is involved in the church's Women of Purpose ladies group.
Cindy Day said her faith helped her get through the Ms. Georgia Senior America pageant, and helped her win her title. "I told some people there that I prayed that morning that whoever won would serve God in a mighty way by glorifying him, and represent Georgia in a great way," she said.