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5 things to know about Betty Cantrell, Miss America 2016

Published: Monday, September 14, 2015 @ 6:21 AM
Updated: Monday, September 14, 2015 @ 6:21 AM
By: Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell, 21, was crowned Miss America 2016 on Sunday night, claiming a $50,000 scholarship with the title.

Here are five things to know about the pageant winner:

1. Her first name is Baciliky, which means "royalty." According to the Miss Georgia website, Cantrell, who has Greek and German ancestry, was named after her Greek grandmother. She also sings in her Greek Orthodox church choir and is a member of a Greek dance group.

>> PHOTOS: 2016 Miss America Competition

2. She grew up on 700 acres "managed for wildlife" in Warner Robins. There, she learned skills such as "driving a full-sized John Deere tractor, plowing and seeding fields, and handling a shotgun," the Miss Georgia website reportsIn a video posted to her Twitter account, she adds, "I grew up in the country with no cable TV." She graduated from Macon's Mount de Sales Academy in 2012 and attends Mercer University, where she studies vocal performance.

>> PHOTOS: Red carpet at the 2016 Miss America Competition

3. Her dream is to perform on Broadway. She sang "Tu Tu Piccolo Iddio" from Puccini's "Madame Butterfly" in the Miss America talent competition. She's also won several awards in vocal performance, including the musical theater and classical singing categories of the 2014 and 2015 National Association of Teachers of Singing College-Level competition. The stage "is my favorite place to be. The bigger the audience, the better," she told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer in June. 

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4. Her platform is "healthy children, strong America." According to the Telegraph, her parents own a sports medicine and physical therapy center. "Child obesity is a real problem" she told the Ledger-Enquirer. "I grew up eating healthy. Others are not that fortunate."

5. She is the second Miss Georgia to win Miss America. The first Georgia winner was Neva Jane Langley Fickling of Macon, who was named Miss America 1953. "I couldn't be more happy to represent my state," Cantrell said in a video posted to her Twitter account.