THE JOURNEY BEGINS: Miss Mississippi, Miss Mississippi Teen contestants prepare for competition
Published 10:28 pm Thursday, February 8, 2024
Orientation was held last weekend to help prepare contestants for the upcoming Miss Mississippi Competition and the Miss Mississippi Teen Competition.
The event included taking care of paperwork required by the Miss Mississippi and Miss Mississippi Teen Organizations, radio and television interviews, meeting other contestants from across the state and rehearsals for contestants’ respective productions.
The weekend also featured rehearsals and costume fittings for young girls who are participating in the Belle, Magnolia, and Petite programs.
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“The Magnolia Program is a new program that has been added this year and is another level of the Belle program,” Miss Mississippi Teen Competition Executive Director Winky Freeman said.
Created to allow young girls who have aged out of the Belle program — formerly the Magnolia Belle program — the Magnolia program is designed for girls who are 11 and 12 years of age.
Freeman said this new level provides the opportunity for girls to participate with the Miss Mississippi Organization, which begins at six years of age with the Petite program and progresses through becoming eligible for the Miss Mississippi Teen Competition.
Each Miss Mississippi contestant will have one Magnolia with whom they will work and mentor throughout the year, as well as three Belles.
As part of the orientation weekend, both the Magnolias and Belles were crowned by their respective contestant, along with Miss Mississippi Vivian O’Neal.
O’Neal, who is fresh off competing in the Miss America competition, said being on the other side of the Miss Mississippi Competition has been fun.
“There is no pressure this year,” O’Neal said.
The Hattiesburg native is just enjoying rehearsing for the production and visiting with all the 2024 Miss Mississippi contestants, she added.
The Miss Mississippi Teen Competition will be held April 19 through 21 at the Ardis T. Williams, Sr. Auditorium, formerly the Vicksburg Auditorium, and the Miss Mississippi Competition will be held June 5 through 8 at the Vicksburg Convention Center.