Hitchcock, who had previously competed in local pageants in Florida, represented Alabama at the Miss USA 1967 pageant. She was chosen as one of the fifteen best in swimsuit and won the Miss USA title on May 22. In July she became the first Miss USA to win the Miss Universe title since Linda Bement in 1960.
After passing on her title she tried modelling in New York but became disillusioned with the city and returned to Miami where she worked for a television station. In 1972 she was one of a panel of twelve judges for the Miss Universe 1972 pageant won by Kerry Anne Wells.
Hitchcock married William Carson, the inventor of a fruit harvesting machine, in 1970. They have three children: Jonathan (born 1974), Christiane and Will and one grandchild, Zephyr. She resides in Lake Wales, Florida.