Miss Mississippi Pageant begins as first prelim winners named
Published 10:14 am Thursday, June 25, 2015
Second-year Miss Mississippi veterans found success Wednesday in the first round of preliminary competitions at the 81st annual Miss Mississippi Pageant.
Miss University of Southern Mississippi Hannah Roberts from Mount Olive won a $300 scholarship with her violin performance of Zigeunerweisne Op. 20.
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Roberts, who has taken violin lessons for 18 years, said she has always loved the piece of music, which was written by Pablo Sarasate in 1878.
“I am so glad I could finally perform it,” she said, adding the piece was also performed by Gretchen Carlson, who was crowned Miss America in 1989.
Roberts said while in high school she practiced her instrument two to three hours every day.
In 2013, Roberts was the first runner-up to Miss Mississippi. She said she took last year off to study for the MCAT, the entrance exam for medical school.
Miss Hattiesburg Ivey Swan, a 22 year old from Hattiesburg won the swimsuit preliminary competition and a $200 scholarship. Swan wore a white two-piece swimsuit.
“I am very determined to have a great body no matter what, pageant season or not pageant season,” she said.
To prepare for the swimsuit phase of the competition, Swan said she worked out at the gym six to seven days a week but started working towards a healthy lifestyle about three years ago, before competing in pageants.
She said her workout routines have included Cross Fit and interval training and instead of counting calories, which she said could be meticulous. She prefers to drink smoothies with spinach instead.
“Some people would think that is pretty gross, but it works,” she said.
Swan’s first year to compete for the state title was in 2014.
Also during Wednesday’s competition, Jan Blackwell was recognized as the local director of the year and Tammy Folger-Sutter was recognized as the Miss Mississippi Pageant volunteer of the year. Both women received plaques for their service.
The late Annice Jernigan Wilford, Miss Mississippi 1961, who died Nov. 24, was also honored.
The late Joel Nelson and his wife Marlo were also honored during the evening. Dr. Briggs Hopson presented Marlo Nelson with a plaque for the couple’s service to the pageant. Joel Nelson had provided technical services for the Miss Mississippi Pageant for many years.
The preliminary competitions will resume at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the Vicksburg Convention Center. A composite score from the three preliminary competitions in talent swimwear, evening wear, on-stage questions and off-stage interviews will determine who will be in the top 10, which will be announced at the beginning of the final competition Saturday night, and the 2015 Miss Mississippi will be crowned.
This year’s theme for the pageant is “All that Jazz.”
Katie Stamm Irk, who was crowned Miss America in 2009, serves as the mistress of ceremony for the 2015 pageant and 2005 Miss Mississippi Kristian Dambrino and Jonathan Brannan are special guest performers. Dancers for the show include Anne Elizabeth Buys, Timothy Jones, Jay Kelly, Ted Laney, Taylor Lee and Shelby Sutton.
For more information or tickets, visit missmississippipageant.com. Voting for a favorite contestant is also available at the website and on the Miss Mississippi app. The contestant with the most online votes from fans will receive up to $2,000 in scholarships.