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Miss Mississippi 2014 no stranger to competitions

Published 11:08 am Monday, July 14, 2014

From a Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen to a top-13 finalist on American Idol, Miss Mississippi 2014 Jasmine Murray credits her involvement and love of pageantry for opening the doors to her future.

“I have always had pageants in my brain and in my head. I competed as a child and watched my sister compete, so I have always loved it,” said the 22-year-old Columbus native.

Murray was crowned the 81st Miss Mississippi on Saturday and will go on to compete in the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City in September.

The newest state title holder said after being crowned she is already making plans for her year of service and preparing for the national title.

“I already had my first meeting with the board today, and we got a chance to sit down and discuss just what all the job description entails and preparations for the Miss America Pageant,” she said.

Murray said she is looking forward to working with the Miss Mississippi Corporation Board promoting her platform, “13 Going on 30,”and everything else this year will bring.

This was Murray’s third attempt vying for the crown, and she said she can’t wait to compete in the Miss America Pageant.

“This is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity, and I want to do absolutely everything I can before I go to Atlantic City, so that means I can’t leave one stone unturned,” she said.

Preparations for the Miss America Pageant will be similar to those Murray used for the state pageant — “but I’ll just be making sure I bring up everything 20 notches,” she laughed.

Murray said she is preparing physically and mentally for the job of Miss America.

“I want to make sure my heart is in the right place and that my platform is ready for the national level,” she said.

Murray credits her success at winning the Miss Mississippi crown to the many years she has competed in the Miss Mississippi Organization.

She is the first Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen to win the title of Miss Mississippi.

“I started competing in the Miss America Organization when I was 13 years old, and I have grown a lot,” Murray said.

“I won the title of Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen when I was 15, and I was so fortunate to go on to compete in the Miss America’s outstanding Teen Pageant.”

Murray placed in the top 10 in the national teen pageant that was held in Orlando.

“To hold a state title when I was a teenager was phenomenal, and I think that experience is going to help me now,” she said.

Murray, who was first runner-up to Miss Mississippi in 2012 and was in the top 10 in 2013, said she did a few things different this year, which included altering her talent.

“I have typically always performed a ballad, and this year I performed “Something’s Got A Hold On Me,” she said.

“It had a beat, and this song was very entertaining, and I think it showed a different side of my personality,” she said, showcasing that I am an entertainer and I love performing. Murray said this year she also spent many hours focusing on her platform, which she feels has helped her understand more about the job of Miss Mississippi and Miss America.

“I was able to hold more “13 Going on 30” camps,” and she said she started ambassador programs for her platform that are offered in Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Alabama.

“On a whim,” while in Florida performing as part of the production of the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Pageant, Murray said she and her family traveled to Jacksonville Florida to audition for American Idol.

“I am so glad I did that and made it to the top 13 on American Idol. I never thought in a million years that would happen,” she said.

“I am so thankful for that experience; it helped me grow as a person and an artist,” she said.

Murray, who is student Mississippi State University, is studying broadcast journalism. She is Mississippi’s third African American to become Miss Mississippi. Kimberly Morgan was crowned in 2007 and Toni Seawright in 1987.

“In light of this being the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, that speaks volumes, and I am very proud of that, but I’m also everyone’s Miss Mississippi. I look forward to representing my state and representing everyone in Mississippi and the diversity and how far we have come as a state to celebrating our diversity to celebrating equality and making sure we understand the value of absolutely everyone in our state. This organization has been going on for quite some time, and it is an honor to be crowned,” Murray said.

Four Miss Mississippi winners have gone on to become Miss America: Mary Ann Mobley in 1958, Lynda Lee Mead in 1960, Cheryl Prewitt in 1980 and Susan Akin in 1986. The pageant is set for September in Atlantic City.

The first runner-up Saturday night at the Vicksburg Convention Center was Miss Mississippi State University Laura Lee Lewis; second was Miss Historic South Randi-Kathryn Harmon; third was Miss Deep South Caroline Conerly; and fourth was Miss North Central Mississippi Jessica Terrill.

Others in the top 10 were Miss Turtle Creek Jordin Johnson, Miss Dixie Carol Coker, Miss University Anna Beth Higginbotham, Miss Rankin County Morgan Burnett and Miss Delta Blues Shelby Danielle Corn.