It was the last time Jessica Roberts was eligible to compete for this title. The event was in his hometown. She eventually represented Columbus after having to win other local competitions the previous four years to reach the Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen pageant.
The finale would take place on Father’s Day weekend, with her parents, VJ and Oz Roberts, in the audience at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, where she grew up watching the event her father used to attend. produce.
All of this made it more painful for Jessica when she broke her toe on her left little finger while practicing her pointes ballet routine a week before the competition started.
These are also the reasons why Jessica refused to give up.
“It was obvious,” she told the Ledger-Enquirer. “I wasn’t going to sit down. I was going to do my best. “
She did so by picking up her best result, third runner-up out of 38 candidates last Friday night. This added $ 750 to the scholarship she won over the five years of the program. In total, both directly and indirectly, the amount will be used to pay to attend Wesleyan College, where she plans to major in Marketing and Advertising, and then go to law school.
“It just taught me to do my best with what I have in whatever situation I find myself in,” said Jessica, 18, a graduate of the Rainey-McCullers School of the Arts. “… Try harder whenever you have the chance, because those opportunities will disappear faster than you think.”
WORRIED BUT CONFIDENT
Oz, the Aflac historian, served on Miss Georgia’s board of directors for 25 years and as event producer for 13 years, but he ceased his involvement to avoid a conflict of interest with Jessica. in competition. VJ is a full-time actor after retiring from TSYS three years ago.
The medical advice they received indicated that Jessica would no longer be able to damage her toe if she continued to dance. It was just a question of whether she could tolerate the pain.
The ointment, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen helped her a bit, but she removed the wrap around her broken toe to dance because it inhibited her too much. So she relied more on courage and grace to persevere.
After seeing Jessica wince as she walked around, VJ almost insisted that Jessica give up.
“It broke my heart,” VJ said.
But the parents trusted their daughter’s decision.
“We didn’t tell him what to do,” Oz said. “She was confident.”
Jessica tried to keep her injury a secret during the competition, but it was obvious when she froze her toe backstage.
“I didn’t want anyone to think I couldn’t do my best,” she said.
On a scale of 1 to 10, Jessica said, the pain was an 8, but the most alarming issue was worrying about the impact of the fracture on her performance.
“The anxiety of toe dancing was worse than toe dancing,” she said. “It caused me so much stress throughout the week.”
So she lowered the intensity during the rehearsals and didn’t go all out until the preliminary competition last Thursday night.
Jessica pulled off her routine – then threw up three times in a backstage bathroom.
“I could barely get out of it,” she said. “But it was fantastic. It made me realize that I can do just about anything I need or want to do, as long as I don’t let myself be disturbed too much and I’m not too scared.
Then, in last Friday’s final, she pulled off her routine again – and didn’t throw up.
“It was the best feeling in the world,” she said.
Oz called Jessica’s performance perfect. VJ prayed while Jessica was on stage.
“When she finished her dance, we were looking at each other, in awe,” VJ said. “She couldn’t have done better. She was on it. We were just thrilled.
Jessica also received the event’s producer award for being the most cooperative nominee.
“I tell him all the time that it’s very important to be respectful and kind and that people want to be around you,” Oz said. “Having this award on top of the others says a lot to her. … It was a special Father’s Day weekend, to see her happy and see her succeed.
The unusual circumstances allowed Jessica to give him a precious gift.
“I told my dad,” she said, “he could save my third finalist plate for Father’s Day.