Miss Mississippi performs well at Miss America

Published 11:03 am Monday, September 12, 2016

Miss Mississippi Laura Lee Lewis was named fourth runner-up and winner of a $10,000 scholarship last night during the 2017 Miss America Pageant, which was held in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.

“Laura Lee was so deserving of fourth runner up. We are extremely proud of her efforts,” the executive director of the Miss Mississippi Pageant David Blackledge said following the competition.

Lewis was one of 52 women who were vying for the title during the annual event with Miss Arkansas Savvy Shields crowned the winner.

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Rounding out the top five were third runner-up Miss Washington Alicia Cooper, second runner-up Miss New York Camille Sims and first runner-up Miss South Carolina Rachel Wyatt.

During the past week, all 52 contestants took part in interview, evening gown, onstage question, talent and “lifestyle and fitness,” preliminary competitions, and at the beginning of Sunday’s live show, which was hosted by Chris Harrison and Sage Steele, the top 15 competitors were announced.

Blackledge, who was at the Miss America Pageant competition this week, said Lewis had been consistent all week during the preliminary competitions.

Vicksburg native Katherine Bailess, Debby Bryant Berge, Rob Bowman, Jennifer Caudle, Nicole Lapin, Deanna Siller and David Zinczenko, who served as judges for the preliminary rounds, chose the top fourteen contestants, and Miss Kentucky Laura Jones was named as the America’s Choice award finalist.

Celebrity judges, who served during Sunday night’s final round of competition included Grammy-winning artist Ciara, businessman and star of the ABC series “Shark Tank” Mark Cuban, Olympic gold medal winner Gabby Douglas, VH1 comedy series star Sara Foster, Disney Channel series star Laura Marano and country singer Cole Swindell.

All top 15 contestants, which also included  Miss California Jessa Carmack; Miss Louisiana Justine Ker; Miss Maryland Hannah Brewer; Miss Massachusetts Alissa Musto; Miss Oklahoma Sarah Klein; Miss Tennessee Grace Burgess; Miss Texas Caroline Carothers; Miss Iowa Kelly Koch and Miss Idaho Kylee Solberg competed in the swimsuit competition.

Afterwards the field was narrowed to 12 for the eveningwear competition.

The top 10 then competed in the talent portion of the competition, which accounted for 30 percent of the final score.

Lewis sang her rendition of Barbara’s Streisand’s, “A Piece of Sky.”

“Her talent was incredible,” Blackledge said.

From the top 10, seven competed in the on-stage question segment of the competition.

The top four were then announced and Shields crowned the winner by reining 2016 Miss America Betty Cantrell.

Following the Miss America Pageant competition, Lewis will return home to Mississippi and finish out her reign.

“Laura Lee will continue to be another outstanding Miss Mississippi. We are very fortunate to have her represent all of our great state,” Blackledge 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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