Vicksburg teenager competes in Hattiesburg pageant

Published 11:28 pm Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thirty-five women traveled to Hattiesburg this weekend to compete in the state’s 63rd Miss Hospitality pageant, and Panola County’s Chandler Llana was named the final winner Saturday night.

“I’m so honored to have won,” Llana said immediately after crowning at the Saenger Theater in downtown Hattiesburg. “My mother was a local Miss Hospitality, this pageant is in my family, and I just can’t fathom what the next year has in store for me.”

The pageant, which features contestants ages 18 through 24, is aimed at promoting Mississippi tourism, industry and economic development. Contestants are judged on their speaking ability and knowledge of the state through private and on-stage interviews, as well as presenting an original commercial about their hometown.

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

Ashtin Giambrone, the 18-year-old daughter of Mindy and Joe Giambrone, represented Vicksburg in the pageant, the first time the River City had been represented in Miss Hospitality in six years.

“I was nervous to go at first but I actually made a lot of long-lasting friendships,” Giambrone said. “The speech competition was my favorite part, and I talked about how tourism is an integral part of our city.”

Ashtin graduated from St. Aloysius High School in May and plans to attend Mississippi State University where she will major in bioengineering with an emphasis in medicine.

“In the long run this was good for her,” said Mindy Giambrone. “She’s walking away with a good experience and learned a lot about Mississippi and interviewing skills.”

Katie Ferrell, who served as Giambrone’s local director through the Vicksburg Convention Center and Visitor’s Bureau, said Giambrone was a great representative of Vicksburg during the pageant.

“This pageant is about getting out and telling people about your hometown, and there’s a lot that goes into it,” Ferrell said. “Ashtin did a great job.”

After passing on her crown, Miss Hospitality 2011 Ann Claire Reynolds of Petal said Vicksburg was one of her favorite places she saw during her reign.

“Vicksburg was on my top 5 list of places I visited,” Reynolds said. “I loved going to the Civil War battlefield, that’s a jewel in Mississippi’s history and heritage.”

Other top 10 finalists in no particular order included Bethany Crawford of Lincoln County, Whitley Tassin of Petal, Katie Kaiser of Olive Branch, Hannah Rice of Gautier, Morgan Musgrove of Laurel, Brandy Jarvis of Ocean Springs, Karlee Stewart of Webster County, Chandler Parker of Laurel and Jana Ishee of Ellisville.

The pageant is sponsored by the City of Hattiesburg and the University of Southern Mississippi. The theme this year was “Hospitality Around the World.”

As Miss Hospitality, Llana will represent the Magnolia State at Mississippi Day in New York City’s Central Park next summer, and she will spend the next year speaking at different events around the state.