OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - Thousands around the nation cheered when Miss New York was crowned Miss America 2013, at the Miss America pageant Saturday night in Las Vegas.
However, it was extremely loud in our area because Miss New York, 23-year-old Mallory Hagan, has roots right here in Opelika.
Those closest to Hagan knew that her personality and persistence would one day take her to great heights.
"She's one of those who stood out. You knew she had something special from the day you met her," explains Hagan's former kick line instructor, Tricia Skelton.
Hagan graduated from Opelika High School in 2007 and grew up perfecting the art of dance at her mother's studio, Make Your Move Performing Art Center in Opelika.
Soon after graduation, Hagan decided to move to New York with just $1,000 in her pocket to pursue her dreams and goals.
"I remember her looking at me and saying I'm about to move to New York and she did! It wasn't long after that she did move to New York and she's just blossomed ever since," says family friend, Jennifer Ambrose."
Ambrose spent the last week in Las Vegas with Hagan and her family, anxiously waiting for Saturday night's competition.
They got to spend a short time together after Hagan was crowned and it was evident that this small town girl would never forget where she came from.
"We got to see her for about 30 minutes and of she's the bubbly, happy Mallory that she is, just exciting and very humble," explains Ambrose.
The City of Opelika is excited to brag about its newest hometown hero.
Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller watched the competition on the edge of his seat until Hagan's name was called.
"Frankly, I had to pinch myself a time or two Saturday night. I said that Opelika girl is Miss America and she will always be Miss America," stated Mayor Fuller.
Needless to say Mallory Hagan, Miss America 2013, has brought out the community pride in Opelika.