Miss Pine Belt Vivian O’Neal crowned Miss Mississippi 2023

Published 10:59 pm Saturday, June 10, 2023

A new Miss Mississippi was crowned in Vicksburg Saturday night: Miss Pine Belt, Vivian O’Neal.

A Hattiesburg native, O’Neal won the competition in a red halter-neck evening gown with all-over beading for evening wear and performed a high-energy dance routine to “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston in the talent portion. The fifth-year competitor said her win was one of “overwhelming joy and gratitude.”

“I almost didn’t come back to compete this year,” she said. “And I think that’s just a testament to God and His plan for your life; I just give all the glory to Him and I’m so excited to start this journey.”

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O’Neal’s social impact initiative is called CapABLE. It’s a cause she said she is proud to champion as Miss Mississippi.

Through her work with CapABLE, O’Neal has expanded her mission’s reach to 20,000 people across five states. CapABLE is a registered non-profit organization with a mission to educate and empower all students.

Inspired by her brother Josiah, who has a disability, O’Neal works to help children find connections with their classmates regardless of their abilities.

“As Miss Mississippi, I plan to expand upon (the organization’s progress) to the point where it is a nationally recognized non-profit and that CapABLE is implemented into every single school district in Mississippi and beyond.”

As Miss Mississippi 2023, O’Neal receives a $10,000 scholarship provided by Ameristar Casino and Hotel and a $2,000 scholarship provided by the Miss Mississippi Corporation.

The first alternate to Miss Mississippi was Miss Leaf River Valley, Neeley Robertson. Robertson receives a $4,000 scholarship provided by David and Katherine McRae and a $4,000 scholarship provided by Chris and Jennie Simmons.

Second alternate, Miss Metro Jackson Becky Williams, receives a $3,000 scholarship provided by Casey and Rachel Ellis, Ellis Autoplex and a $3,000 scholarship provided by Sen. and Mrs. Chris McDaniel.

Third alternate, Miss University Ally Hopper, receives a $3,500 scholarship provided by Rusty’s Riverfront Grill and a $500 scholarship provided by the Miss Mississippi Corporation.

Miss Hattiesburg Angel Gail Lang, fourth alternate to Miss Mississippi, receives a $2,500 scholarship provided by Mutual Credit Union and a $500 scholarship provided by the Miss Mississippi Corporation.

This year, 11 delegates were named to the top 10; therefore, the six semifinalists, Miss All-America City Krystle Hughes, Miss Biloxi Katelyn Perry, Miss Jones County Charity Lockridge, Miss Vicksburg Morgan Nelson, Miss Southern Magnolia Kat Adcox and Miss University of Southern Mississippi Karsyn Ulmer, each received a $2,000 scholarship provided by the Miss Mississippi Corporation.

Terri Cowart Frazier contributed to this report.

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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