Miss Vicksburg excited about pageant’s start

Published 2:32 pm Monday, June 1, 2015

A last-minute decision paid off for Miss Vicksburg’s Outstanding Teen Tori Ross, and the rising Warren Central High School senior gives all the credit to God.

“I wasn’t’ actually planning to do it,” Ross said of competing in the pageant, but after she was told she was needed, she decided to compete.

missvicksburg_teen_web_01“I just went out there praying that God would make me a mirror, and whatever he wanted people to see in me they would see in me. He put me in this position, and so whatever his will is, it will be done in my life. So it wasn’t actually my plan, it was His,” she said.

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Two nights of pageantry were held at Warren Central High School earlier this year with nine crowns on the line. Ross was in attendance during the first night merely as support for one of her friends vying for a title to compete in the Miss Mississippi Pageant.

It was after the pageant was over that Ross said Tammy Wells, the director for the Miss Vicksburg’s Outstanding Teen, approached her and told her she was needed for the local teen pageant.

“I went home at 10 p.m. and said ‘Hey mom, I’m going to be in a pageant tomorrow.’ We stayed up until 2 a.m. doing paperwork, and then I had to be at the school at 8 a.m. to start the interviews. It was crazy,” Ross said.

Even though she was not planning to compete for the local title, Ross was not a novice to pageants. She said she competed in the National American Miss Pageant from the age of 6 to 10.

Ross said many of the competitive components of the National American Miss Pageant resemble competitive components of the Miss Vicksburg’s Outstanding Teen Pageant, except for the platform component. Ross has chosen to stress the importance of living a healthy lifestyle as her platform.

“The name of my platform is Happy Hearts, and I go to schools to talk about heart health and cardiovascular disease awareness,” she said. “I talk about what we can do to keep our bodies healthy, foods that are good for you, how to manage stress, how decisions they will face in junior high can affect their heart and also talk about exercise.”

Ross said she decided to take on this platform after her grandmother had a heart attack earlier in the year.

“I didn’t even know what cardio-vascular disease was,” she said, “and because I didn’t know what it was, I thought other children younger than me wouldn’t know what is was either.”

In preparation for the pageant, Ross said she has been shopping for dresses and practicing for her interviews and her talent piece for the competition.

“I practice my talent in front of any group of people that will listen to me,” she laughed. “And my mom, as well as the people I work with, have been asking me questions to prepare for the interviews.”

She also admitted she would ask herself questions in the shower.

“I just want to make sure if they catch me off guard and ask me something like ‘What is your favorite color and why?’ I will be prepared,” she said. “I have to be prepared for questions I wouldn’t normally think about.”

Scholarships are an important element of the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Pageant, Ross said, but she also values the opportunity to meet people through the pageant.

“I like making friends. I have met so many people, and they all have the kindest hearts,” Ross said. “Since I have been crowned, I have a deeper appreciation and respect for my city that I never had before. I have had the opportunity to meet the mayor and people in all of our downtown stores, and everyone is so supportive and kind, and I have such a respect for Vicksburg now.”

Ross is active in choir programs at Warren Central and at her church and plans on singing “How Great Thou Art” for the talent portion of the competition.

God would guide her decision to compete for the Miss Mississippi title, Ross said.

“If I did want to compete, I know if it was His will for my life, it would be done, and all my needs would be met, just like they were for this pageant,” Ross said.


About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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