Newly-crowned Miss Mississippi now readies for Miss America push

Published 9:34 am Monday, June 27, 2016

Dreams do come true, just ask 2016 Miss Mississippi Laura Lee Lewis. The 23-year-old Brookhaven native was all smiles and full of energy Sunday after winning the crown and state title Saturday night at the 59th annual Miss Mississippi Pageant, which was held at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

Lewis competed in the Miss Mississippi Pageant three previous years and came close to winning. She was named second runner-up to Miss Mississippi in 2013, first runner-up in 2014 and second runner-up again in 2015, but this year, she said she came back more determined than ever to win, and she did.

“I told myself I was going to give 200 percent this year and that 200 percent was going to be fully Laura Lee Lewis,” she said. “I was going to do what I wanted to do, I was going to be who I was – in the past sometimes I would let myself be what I thought they wanted me to be — Miss Mississippi or Miss America. But this year I said what we need this year is someone who is a 100 percent themselves, and that is what I did.”

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Lewis said she plans to take this same strategy to the Miss America Pageant, which will be held in Atlantic City in September.

“I plan to keep the mindset that this organization wants a real relatable young woman who can make an impact on her nation, who can represent the organization, who can make a difference in the lives of young boys and young girls — people in general, and I hope I can stay on that path, and I hope I can be the one to bring the fifth Miss America crown home to Mississippi,” Lewis said.

Like the Miss Mississippi Pageant, each contestant competing in the Miss America Pageant will be judged in talent, swimwear, evening gown, on-stage question, and off-stage interviews, and Lewis said she feels strongest when performing.

“When I get on the stage and you hand me a microphone, it is a lot different for me than it is with other people that are singers or performers. Before all that I went through (with my corrective surgery) music was my outlet. It was a place where I could be anyone I wanted to be on stage in that moment, and I could use the gift God has given me to inspire people. So when I am on stage for talent, you can tell I that I am truly changed every time I sing, and I am truly moved.”

Lewis laughed when she said she would probably focus a good bit of her time in preparation for the on-stage question.

“I don’t want to end up on YouTube and be the next YouTube sensation of a terrible pageant on-stage question! You know I think that is a fear a lot of contestants share,” she said.

Before winning the title of Miss Mississippi Saturday night, Lewis said she was not the only one who had experienced the ups and downs brought on from competing in the pageant.

“I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive and encouraging family. They were just as upset as I was the past three years when the crown wasn’t placed on my head. They were going through the same pain, through the same feelings that I was going through, but last night was just an encouraging moment for all of us because we’ve all worked so hard for this goal. I am very close to my family, and I love them so much. I wouldn’t be sitting here in this chair with this beautiful crown and sash on had it not been for them and last night was just a moment of relief and success — true and utter happiness.”

The total in-kind scholarships offered by the Miss Mississippi Scholarship program for 2016 is $1,819,742 and cash scholarships is $115,500.


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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