HOMEWOOD, AL (WBRC) - Hayley Barber achieved a dream five years in the making as was named the winner of the Miss Alabama competition Saturday, June 11.
Barber said she was "stunned" when her name was called, saying that this the first year she felt ready for the job that comes with the title.
"I started at 17," she said. "They were asking me about taxes and things I wasn't experiencing. Now at 22, I'm working a job and I know what it's like. I think just growing with age and trying to make myself better each year."
Barber, a 22 year-old from Pelham represented Shelby County in the pageant at Samford University's Wright Center.
She was crowned by outgoing Miss Alabama 2015 Meg McGuffin after competing on the stage for the last five years..
Competition finalists included fourth runner-up Jessica Proctor. Briana Kinsey was named third runner up, second runner-up was Cassidy Jacks and Callie Walker was named first runner-up.
The pageant, which had a "Brand New Day" theme, was emceed by Miss Alabama 2011 Courtney Porter and featured music sung by fellow former Miss Alabama Jamie Langley.
Miss America 1995 Heather Whitestone, also and alumni of the program, received a standing ovation for her sign language performance set to music.
The top 12 contestants participated in the talent, swimsuit, evening wear and on-stage question portions of the competition.
Each of the semi-finalist answered current event-based questions dealing with student loan debt, immigration and trans issues and other hot topics from 105 WERC radio personalities.
Meg McGuffin ended her reign with a final walk across the stage as Miss Alabama right before the winner was announced.
During her year, McGuffin placed fourth runner-up at Miss America.
Barber will begin her duties as the new Miss Alabama immediately.
She said that she's mostly looking forward to meeting the people of Alabama.
"I want to make them feel special," she said. "I want to stay for the last child to sign autographs. I want to be the girl who takes the time to meet each and every person who wants to meet me."
Barber will also start preparing to compete on the national stage at the Miss America competition in Atlantic City in September.