Chain, Nix, Ratcliffe win preliminary titles in Miss Mississippi Outstanding Teen Competition

Published 10:53 pm Saturday, April 22, 2023

The second and final round of the Miss Mississippi Outstanding Teen preliminary competitions came to a close Saturday night with a second tie in the evening wear competition and a veteran taking talent.

Miss Turtle Creek Anna Kate Ratcliffe and Miss Hattiesburg Ellie Chain tied in the evening wear/onstage question phase of the competition and Miss Metro Jackson Nataleigh Nix won talent.

Ratcliffe, who is in her second year of competition, said winning in the evening wear phase was a full-circle wardrobe moment. Her social impact initiative, Our Military Kids, benefits children of service members — and her competition wardrobe reflects her own patriotism, she said.

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“My wardrobe for the competition is red, white and blue in honor of the sacrifice our military families make for our country,” Ratcliffe said. “My dad is in the Army National Guard, so I benefited from the program when he was deployed.”

Chain, who won earlier in the day for talent during the first preliminary round, said her light pink evening gown was a far cry from her personality off the stage.

Her social impact initiative, Hunting for the Hungry, advocates for wild game hunters to donate portions of their trophies to food-insecure Mississippians.

“My entire wardrobe is pink, and I never wear pink,” Chain said. “I wanted it to symbolize that I like to step out of my comfort zone and take risks. My social impact is hunting, which is very, very different from the color pink.”

Nix, a third-year contestant who won earlier in the day for evening wear/onstage question, donned a sparkling red tulle ballgown to sing “Never Enough,” from the movie-musical “The Greatest Showman.”

With its soaring high notes and steady ballad tempo, Nix said her voice teacher helped to instill the confidence needed to pull off such a powerful song.

“I remember hearing it when I was little and wanting to sing it, but I knew I was nowhere near ready, vocally, to sing it,” Nix said. “Whenever my voice teacher and I were picking out songs (for the competition), she sent that song to me, and I said, ‘I think I’m ready now.'”

The MMOT Competition continues Sunday. The top 10 contestants will be named at the beginning of the event, and they will re-compete in all phases of the onstage competition. One competitor will then be crowned the 2023 MMOT.

Sunday’s competition will begin at 2 p.m. at the Ardis T. Williams Auditorium. Tickets are $40 and are available at the door. For more information, call 601-638-6746.