Miss Mississippi: Three contestants earn preliminary wins on opening night
Excitement was in the air at the Vicksburg Convention Center as the first round of the 2019 preliminary competitions for Miss Mississippi got underway.
This year, due to changes in the competition, candidates do not compete in swimwear. Therefore, preliminary winners are chosen from the talent phase of the competition and for their evening wear and social impact statement.
Preliminary winners Wednesday were Miss Dixie Molly May and Miss Northeast Mississippi Lexie Harper, who tied for talent, and Miss Riverbend Mary Margaret Hyer, who won the evening wear and social impact statement phase of the competition.
Singing “I am Here” from “The Color Purple,” May said after hearing her name called as a preliminary winner in talent was “overwhelmed and blessed.”
As a competitor for the fifth time, May said, “Hard work pays off. This is my final year and to win in talent my last year feels like a bookend to this 7 1/2-year journey.”
Ironically, May said she heard the song, “I am Here” for the first time one week after the 2018 Miss Mississippi Competition.
“The song meant so much to me, and I wanted to sing it,” May said. “I got so much out of it and I hoped the crowd would love it as much as I do. I couldn’t keep it to myself, I had to share it.”
Harper, who is competing for the first time in the Miss Mississippi Competition, performed a jazz dance routine to “Feeling Good.”
“This was just an unreal experience. I totally wasn’t expecting it, but I did work so hard for this,” Harper said after Wednesday’s preliminary win.
Harper added it was also an honor to share the preliminary win with May.
“She has been so encouraging to me and I am so glad I got my name called with her,” she said.
Dancing since she was 2-years-old, Harper said she chose to dance to “Feeling Good” because it is an upbeat song.
“I picked this song because sometimes you have a bad day and it stinks,” She said. “But, you get to make the choice the next day on how you will feel, and this song just talks about how you will have a new day and just how you are feeling good.”
As for Hyer, this is her third year competing, and she said it had been the evening wear phase of the competition she had been “most stressed” about.
“I broke my foot 23 days ago, so to be validated in this way is so phenomenal,” she said.
Although getting on heels might have made Hyer a bit tense, sharing her social impact statement, “Advocate, Celebrate, Donate: Decreasing the Donor Organ Deficit,” was not.
The 23-year-old Hattiesburg native shared how her mother donated a kidney to her grandmother.
“And it has been my message ever since, to share how important this issue is,” she said.
Preliminary competitions will continue Friday evening. The finale will be Saturday at 8 p.m. During the finale, the top 10 will be named, with those candidates competing again in the areas of evening wear, on-stage interview and talent. After that, the 2019 Miss Mississippi will be announced and crowned.
The finale will also air live on WLBT and streamed live at missmisslive.com.
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