Christina McCauley and Emily Cook, both of Marietta, were the two previous Miss Georgia winners.
Lackey, 21, was crowned Miss Georgia on June 18 in Columbus. She beat out 39 other contestants. The 2008 Walton High School graduate won a $15,000 scholarship and will represent Georgia at the 2012 Miss America pageant next January in Las Vegas.
Though she has become a roving ambassador for her home state, the Cobb native admitted that she wasn’t so popular back in high school. Becoming prom queen or head cheerleader was unthinkable, said Lackey, who says she kept mostly to herself.
“I wasn’t the typical girl that went out all of the time with her friends from school,” recalled Lackey. “I think because I was so busy in the dance world and so goal-oriented, I didn’t really have much of a social life. Which to me was OK because I enjoyed what my life was.”
Lackey is the daughter of Doug and Sherri Lackey. She has two younger brothers, Barron and Dylan.
An avid dancer, dance has been a passion of Lackey’s since age 3, when she began ballet lessons. In high school, she took dance lessons after school at The Roswell Dance Theatre.
Her pageant platform issue is PASSION: Performing Artists Serving Society in Our Neighborhoods, a dance outreach program she created to help performing artists give back to their communities. It also promotes arts education.
“The arts — that’s my life,” Lackey said. “I couldn’t imagine representing any other platform.”
At the Miss Georgia pageant, Lackey performed ballet en pointe. She also wowed the judges in what she described as an old Hollywood-style, black lace over nude evening gown with ruffles.
The road to Miss America has been a four-year goal for Lackey, who said she knew she wanted to strive for the state crown after hearing former Miss Georgia Amanda Kozak give a farewell speech in 2007.
“That’s when I was like, ‘Holy smokes, I want that job,’” remembered Lackey.
Lackey is the first former Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen to become Miss Georgia. In 2007, she won Outstanding Teen, after winning Cobb’s Outstanding Teen competition in two consecutive years. In 2010, she was crowned Miss Cherokee Rose. She was first runner-up at Miss Cobb County. Earlier this year, she won Miss Heart of Lakes, which qualified her to compete a second time for Miss Georgia.
“I love all of the different people I meet,” she said in explaining her love of pageants.
Lackey is a rising senior at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she majors in contemporary dance. However, she will take one year hiatus to fulfill her Miss Georgia duties. Her career goals include becoming a professional dancer and choreographer, and perhaps earning a MBA.
“I’ve known her since she was in the Outstanding Teen program,” said Chuck Fallis, Cobb pageant spokesman. “I think she has a great shot a being Miss America.”
The enormity of winning Miss Georgia didn’t quite hit Lackey, like when she recently received her first letter in the mail from the Miss America pageant, congratulating her on her win. She has already begun preparing for the national title. Later this month, she’ll travel to Orlando to support Georgia’s contestant in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant.
Julia Martin of Marietta, is Georgia’s Outstanding Teen 2011. She attends North Cobb Christian School.