FLORENCE, S.C. — Last month, Florence native Saviah Miller accomplished something she's always wanted to do.
Miller was crowned Miss Florence on Feb. 15 after a pageant held at the Dr. Richard N. Chapman Auditorium at Francis Marion University.
"I've always wanted to represent my hometown of Florence," Miller said. "I have been involved in this organization [Miss America] since I was 15. ..."
She added that she hoped the connections to her hometown would allow her work on her social impact initiative of confidence through creativity and fund raise for the Children's Miracle Network.
Miller said her initiative was designed to help raise the confidence of children through the arts. She added that she is pursuing turning her platform into an arts-based organization.
"I host workshops and camps for kids to deal with art and all different kinds of creative outlets like dance and creative writing, singing, playing an instrument, things like that," Miller said.
The Children's Miracle Network is a national platform for the Miss America organization. All contestants are expected to raise funds for the organization.
At the Miss Florence pageant, Miller sang "Gimme Gimme," a song from the second act of the 2002 Broadway Musical "Thoroughly Modern Millie."
Miller said she had used the song for a college vocal audition and kept it in her pocket for the Miss Florence pageant.
The 2020 pageant was Miller's first time competing as a "Miss" contestant.
Contestants compete in the Miss Teen category until they reach the age of 17.
As such, Miller previously competed in the Miss Teen competitions having been crowned 2017 Miss Darlington Teen and 2019 Miss Hartsville Teen.
Miller is a senior at Trinity-Byrnes Collegiate School – she also is a dual enrollment student at Coker University – with plans to attend Pace University in New York City next fall. She said she plans to major in vocal performance and public communications.
Also crowned at the pageant were Alexandra Hamilton as Miss Florence Teen and Miss Magic City Savannah Strickland.
Miller will represent Florence at the 2020 Miss South Carolina Pageant to be held June 23-27 at the Township Auditorium in Columbia.
If selected Miss South Carolina, Miller said she would be asked to put school on hold for a year as she performs in that role.
The winner of the 2020 Miss South Carolina competition will represent the state at the 2021 Miss America pageant, which is usually held in December.
South Carolina has had two Miss Americas: Marian McKnight in 1957 and Kimberly Clarice Aiken in 1994.