Williams talks being crowned Miss Mississippi, goals for her reign

Published 8:05 am Friday, June 14, 2024

Following the crowning of 2024 Miss Mississippi Becky Williams Saturday night at the Vicksburg Convention Center, the state’s new titleholder sat down with The Vicksburg Post to answer a few questions, which included how she feels after being named the winner, what her goals are moving forward, and how she plans to help promote the state.

Q: It’s been less than 24 hours since the crowning. Has the reality sunk in yet?

A: I don’t think it has just yet. I think I’m still lacking a little bit of sleep. I haven’t been able to dream about it. But I did get to do an amazing photo shoot this morning with my teen. That’s added some realism to it. I think getting home and getting to see the rest of my family and soaking in this time with them will make it (a) real good deal.

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Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

A: I’m from Purvis, Mississippi. I’m a proud graduate of Mississippi State University and a current graduate student. I’m also a student pilot. I love to fly. My older brother’s a pilot and so hopefully he’ll help me get my license soon. I was on the dance team at Mississippi State all four years. It was the joy of my life — getting to bring in my favorite passion into college. But looking into the future, I’m so excited to continue pursuing my graduate degree so that I can continue to make a difference in the world of education for Mississippi. I’m so proud of the Mississippi Miracle (the “Mississippi Miracle” refers to the state’s education progress since the enactment of the Literacy-Based Promotion Act) and of all of our test scores and the potential in our state is growing and I’m so excited to take charge in that.

Q: How do you see your reign as Miss Mississippi complementing/progressing your educational goals?

A: I think it’s the perfect complement actually. I do plan to get into schools and to talk to students and to be the role model that they so need in today’s world — to be the girl that they can look at and see a part of themselves. We may not look the exact same, we may not have the exact same lifestyle. But there is something that connects us, whether it’s our background, whether it’s my hair color, whether it’s the stories that we can tell. And I’m excited to be the girl that everyone sees and doesn’t think that it’s impossible to be me. It’s very possible to take this position and do what you want with it.

Q: How do you plan to advance your community service initiative “Make A Move” this year as Miss Mississippi?

A: I’m so excited to be able to take over the Miss Mississippi social media. That’s been my biggest tool as Miss Capital City, as Miss Metro Jackson, as Becky, in reaching over 40,000 individuals. And that number grows every single day. But with the Miss Mississippi social media, I’ll be doing monthly fitness challenges, I’ll be checking in and seeing how Miss Mississippi is making a move, whether it’s in my car traveling the state or whether it’s me taking fitness breaks and getting ready for Miss America and Miss America Fit. But I’m also so excited to get into classrooms and to share, “Make A Move,” to share “Boogie with Becky,” and to get students moving and learning and just continuing to grow our test scores. But I also have dreamed of having a partnership between Miss Mississippi and the Make the Move to Learn initiative through the Mississippi Department Education. I’ve tried for a few years, but I think with the power of this crown, I’ll be able to make it happen. And, especially with our partnership with the American Heart Association and Miss America Fit and Global Game Changers, all of that. I’m so excited to take advantage of those partnerships that we have and grow our relationships with them.

Q: In addition to your community service initiative, are there any other goals or achievements you would like to focus on as Miss Mississippi?

A: I do plan on recruiting more girls. This program has changed my life. I wasn’t aware that there was a teen program or else I would have taken part in it so many years ago. And so, I’m excited to partner with Brooke (Bumgarner, 2024 Miss Mississippi’s Teen) and her recruitment ideas and help her in any way she can, whether it’s me getting into colleges and getting girls in the Miss (Mississippi Competition) or helping her in middle schools, getting girls in the teen program. A little fun thing I want to do is throw the first pitch at every major university. I think that would be so fun and it kind of goes with “Make A Move,” right? Baseball is my favorite sport and it’s a great way to get men involved in this program and get to see the crown and start some conversations and see why it’s so important. But just some little fun things here and there, but definitely partnering with Brooke and making sure that we’re making the most of our time together.

Q: What motivated you to enter the competition, and what kept you coming back (this was Williams third time to compete in the Miss Mississippi Competition)?

A: What motivated me was the powerful women that (I’ve) gotten to see. I’ve had many friends become Miss Mississippi and that’s such a pleasure to say, whether it was (2019 and 2020 Miss Mississippi) Mary Margaret Hyer, (2021 Miss Mississippi) Holly Brand, (2022 Miss Mississippi) Emmie Perkins, and even (2023 Miss Mississippi) Vivian (O’Neil). I went to high school with Vivian. So, getting to see her come into this role was so special. But seeing how face to face — experiencing the changes that they saw and seeing their personal growth was such a big thing for me. I grew up with two older brothers and you know, there weren’t lots of girls in my life unless I was at the dance studio, and I was usually the oldest one. And so I didn’t have very many role models my age to look up to. And so getting to see girls live out their dream and make it happen when it seemed maybe not so possible for them is something that definitely inspired me to take part (in the Miss Mississippi Competition). The life skills that I’ve learned, the interview skills — I’ve learned the ability to get on stage and do a minute-and-a-half dance nonstop and get through it without hurting myself. Yes, just there are so many things that have changed my life and that’s why I continue to come back even when I heard that “no,” last year and the year before, I knew there was a “yes” in the future. And I’m so excited that I got to hear it last night.

Q: What would you tell women who are contemplating getting into the pageant system?

A: Do it. There is nothing you can lose from being a part of this. Again, I heard the “no.” I got “no,” twice and it was devastating because this is a dream I’ve had since I was a little girl. But every time that I failed, I learned so much more about myself and I learned even more about what it takes to make this happen. l learned even more about how to be more confident in myself, how to share my message. And there’s nothing I would change about this journey. So do it. Don’t be scared. Just do it.

Q: Getting ready for Miss America, it’s a highlight for all contestants that earn the title. Have you had time to think about what you will do to prepare?

A: You know, you think about it and you prepare for it and you get ready for this question and then you win and it’s completely different than you think it’s going to be. But I’m so excited to take advantage of our sponsorship with Bash Fitness and make sure that we’re using all the resources that they provide me with and I’m so thankful for them. We wouldn’t be the program we are without them and so whatever they have in store with me, I’m excited. I’m sure I’ll be taking lots of walks and making a move as Miss Mississippi. But when it comes to on-stage competition, you know, I’m just going to get to work. I’m so excited to represent Mississippi and to be the person that everyone can look to and see a part of themselves in at Miss America.

Q: As Miss Mississippi, you get to see the state from a whole new perspective. Is there anything that you’re most looking forward to doing, seeing, becoming involved with?

A: I’m so excited to meet more people. I’m from south Mississippi and I spend a lot of my time there unless I’m in Jackson. Obviously as Miss Capital City and you know, throughout high school dance team activities and whatnot and being in Starkville has been so incredible, but I think getting across our entire state — maybe not every county — maybe not every city but getting to see from top to bottom, east to west who the people of our state are. I’m so excited about that. I’ve been in Mississippi my whole life, and this is a state I’m so proud of. Again, our potential is there, our potential is rising. And you know, again, being that role model for the students all across our state is something I’m so excited for.

Q: I know there are probably many people who have helped you to reach this goal of becoming Miss Mississippi. Is there any one or two or three or four that you want to acknowledge?

A: I think there are a million that I could acknowledge. But first of all, my director Lexie Harper Harrison was in my shoes a few years ago. She didn’t win Miss Mississippi, but she was a contestant. She is a contestant that I’ve looked up to my entire life and she’s been one that has changed my life just from seeing her and, you know, getting to work with her for the past two years. She is the main reason that I’m here today. She set up all of my mock interviews. She’s gotten me Miss America Fit. She coordinated me with my talent choreographer and she’s there with me every single day. Whether it’s a text, a phone call, Facetime — she is my best friend, my sister, my mom, she’s everything and so Lexi for sure. Kimber Smith helped me get my confidence in my makeup skills, my hair skills, my walking and so I wouldn’t have gotten that evening preliminary (win) without her. And then obviously my mom and dad you know, they support every dream I have ever had since I was a little girl. And so there I wouldn’t be here without them. So the biggest thank you goes to them for sure.

Q: It’s been a busy week. Aside from being crowned Miss Mississippi, what are some of the highlights you’ll cherish?

A: The relationships that I was able to build. You know, everyone looks at this competition and they see it as a competition, and they see that there is one winner and that’s it. But no one has lost in this competition, and we just spoke about that a little bit. But getting to experience this week with some of the smartest, the strongest, the proudest, the kindest, the most genuine people I’ve ever been around has been such a pleasure. This class of women was incredible and any one of us could be in my position today. And I’m very confident when I say that anyone would do this job justice. And I’m so proud to be the one that gets to represent them. And I plan on doing that my entire year making sure that I’m listening to their needs, listening to their wants, making sure that the board knows what they’re thinking, and that Mississippi knows what they’re thinking, because we are the future leaders of this world. And we’re ready to take charge.


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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