Miss Mississippi’s dreams fairly new

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 8, 2002

Miss Mississippi 2002 Jennifer Adcock pets Princess, dog of John Wayne and Becky Jabour, as she talks with Dr. Briggs Hopson, president and chairman of the Miss Mississippi Corporation, at the Jabour home Sunday.(The Vicksburg Post/Melanie Duncan)

[07/08/02]Jennifer Adcock said Sunday she didn’t grow up wanting to be Miss Mississippi, but she accepts the role gladly and will work to meet its demands.

The 21-year-old brunette said the first pageant she entered was a high school beauty review as an 11th-grader at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg.

“I never saw myself in a pageant by any means,” she said. “The first time I had to walk out on stage in an evening gown and heels, I thought I was literally going to die,” she said. “I thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest I was so nervous.”

She later competed to be Mississippi’s 1998 Junior Miss because she simply wanted to showcase her talent, which is playing the piano, she said.

“It snowballed from there, and I ended up here at Miss Mississippi,” said the three-time contestant in the state pageant. “It’s unreal and very worthwhile and that’s why I keep coming.”

In this year’s pageant, which concluded Saturday night at the Vicksburg Convention Center, Adcock competed as Miss West Central. She was Miss Hattiesburg in 2000 and Miss Southern in 2001. On both previous trips, she placed in the Top 5.

“It really is amazing to me because if you had looked at me several years ago, I’m not sure anyone would have guessed I would have been Miss Mississippi,” she said.

“I wouldn’t have done as good a job two years ago as Miss Mississippi and as I hope I’m able to do now because I’ve learned so much.”

During her reign, Adcock plans to stir support for her platform the importance of early childhood development.

In the traditional Sunday interview with the state’s press, Adcock said she had spoken with former Miss Mississippi Becky Pruett, a friend and classmate, about her reign to get an idea of what would be in store if she won this year.

“I’m sure there’s so much more than she could ever tell me that I’ll have to find out on my own,” Adcock said. “I have some big shoes to fill.”

For the next two and one-half months, Adcock’s energy will turn toward a national crown. On Sept. 29, she will compete with 49 other women in the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J.

“We feel like she’s going to do really well in Atlantic City,” said Miss Mississippi Pageant Corporation executive director David Blackledge. “She’s ready.”

“I feel very confident with the people here in Vicksburg who will be helping me get ready,” Adcock said. “When you think of it as 76 days, it sounds rushed, but I’ll have plenty of time to work hard and feel very confident and prepared.”

While preparing for the pageant, she will live with Jane Giffin in Vicksburg. She will soon begin making decisions on wardrobe and talent regarding the competition.

Adcock’s parents, Jesse and Janet Adcock of Hattiesburg, have always encouraged her to set goals and achieve them. As a first-grader, Adcock wanted to begin taking piano lessons, but her mother, who also plays the piano, thought her daughter was too young.

When her mother finally allowed her to begin, she told Adcock that she would be “basically signing a contract that you will take piano through your high school graduation,” Adcock said.

“I agreed that day that I would stick with it through high school, so it was never a question whether I was going to continue.”

“You have to persevere,” her mother said. “You can’t give up. We wanted her to learn that.”

Adcock was a preliminary talent winner in the 2001 competition. She played Chopin’s “Revolutionary Etude,” which she played again this year. She also won the swimsuit preliminary three years in a row.

A rising college senior, her post-graduate plans were changed by winning the state crown, she said. “The scholarship money is definitely more than enough to pay for two semesters of school, so I’ll definitely look into graduate work,” said Adcock, a speech communication major at USM. She received $16,200 in cash scholarships during the pageant.

“I’ll take it one day at a time and see where it takes me,” she said.