Miss Mississippi 2009|Pianist takes talent; two tie in swimsuit

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 17, 2009

A first-year contestant took top honors in the talent competition, and a tie in swimwear marked the second night of preliminaries in the 52nd Miss Mississippi Pageant in Vicksburg.

If you go

Preliminary competition will continue tonight at 8 at the Vicksburg Convention Center and finish with the crowning of Miss Mississippi 2009 on Saturday night. Tickets are $30 for tonight and $50 for Saturday night. For more information, call 601-638-6746

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Miss North Central Mississippi Caitlyn Smith, 20, of Columbus, won the talent segment with her performance of Malaguen’a on the grand piano.

“I just got out there and had fun,” said the University of Alabama junior, who is studying English and Italian. “I’ve been playing since the second grade so it’s a real outlet.”

Click here to view and purchase Miss Mississippi pageant photos

Smith, who began practicing on her winning piece in March, said she almost quit playing piano, but stuck with it with the encouragement from her parents. She plays two to three times a week while at school.

Smith will receive a $300 scholarship for her talent win.

Third-year veteran Miss Hattiesburg Mary Brandon Norman, 24, of Hattiesburg, and fourth-year veteran Miss New South Anna Tadlock, 23, of Brandon, tied for swimwear at Thursday night’s second preliminary contest.

They will split the $200 scholarship award for the swimwear category.

“I found it gave me quite an adrenaline rush,” said Norman, who doesn’t credit her win to any type of dieting or fitness plan, but a lifestyle.

She does credit being a cheerleader ‘her entire life’ and her five-day exercise routine along with practicing her talent for the competition, which is dance.

A pharmacy student at the University of Mississippi, she plans to go into the final night of competition with “an open mind and an open heart.”

Norman competed as Miss University in 2008 and as Miss Hattiesburg in 2007.

Like Norman, Tadlock also exercises daily by walking and running to help her with her win.

“I worked really, really hard,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting it, but that just makes it that much greater.”

Having prepared all year for all parts of competition, Tadlock’s advice for walking in a swimsuit in front of a crowd is, “The key is to know that as long as you’re comfortable with your body and comfortable with how you look and how you present yourself, your confidence is going to project out.”

A 2008 communications and public relations graduate of Mississippi State University, she competed as Miss Houston/North Central in 2008, Miss New South in 2007 and Miss Northridge in 2006.

During Thursday’s show, the special guest who gave a 15-minute nostalgic speech was Amory native Sam Haskell, chairman and CEO of the Miss America Corporation. He was also on site to sign copies of his book, “Promises I Made My Mother,” for which all profits will be donated to the Miss Mississippi Pageant.

Haskell, who is on a 60-city book tour, called his wife, 1977 Miss Mississippi Mary Donnelly, on his cell phone on stage.

The final preliminary will be tonight and the new Miss Mississippi will be crowned Saturday night in a competition televised on Jackson’s WLBT, local cable Channel 3.


Contact Manivanh Chanprasith at mchan@vicksburgpost.com