Ten women from across the state will walk across the stage to compete in the 71st Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition, held by VisitHattiesburg, to compete in areas of community, commercial, evening gown, and interview competition.
The Top 10 finalists, who were chosen out of 36 contestants, were announced Friday at the Hattiesburg Visitors Center and are as follows:
· Mckay Lee Bray of Greene County
· Callie Farris of Hattiesburg
· Ramsey Sanders of Pike County
· Rondaisha Henry of Jasper County
· Reagan Todd of Laurel
· Andrea Berryhill of Panola County
· Kassidy Young of Pontotoc County
· Ivy Jordan of New Albany
· Aly Floyd of Lincoln County
· Cailin Sims of Jackson County
“We certainly appreciate all the wonderful things that we have been able to share, and meet our contestants this year,” said Marlo Dorsey, executive director of VisitHattiesburg. “All 36 contestants … will receive a $250 scholarship, and we will invite them also to be able to be a part of the audience as we move forward.
“And we want to again extend our thanks for their heart and their service for their communities and their state.”
The Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition will be held July 18 at the Saenger Theater, 201 Forrest St. in downtown Hattiesburg. Following Gov. Tate Reeves’s mandates on the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as local restrictions, the crowd will be smaller than usual.
“Last year, we were proud to have the very first sold-out crowd,” said Kristen Brock, director of programs and promotions at VisitHattiesburg and Mississippi Miss Hospitality. “We booked the Saenger Theater, packed full of people, and really were able to put on a great production.
“We’re going to have the same production this year, and if you’re not able to have a seat at the Saenger Theater, you can still have a seat at the competition, because we will have a digital platform where you can enjoy the show from wherever you are. So be on the lookout for ticket information.”
Preliminary competition for the 2020 Mississippi Miss Hospitality program was held through digital and video conferencing platforms on June 16 and 17, and included panel interview competition, Mississippi Speech competition, a review of contestants’ education, community involvement, and honors, and an overall impression component. Results from these areas of competition, evaluated by an independent tabulator, determined the Top 10 finalists who will continue to on-stage competition.
Also announced were three Mississippi Speech award recipients on behalf of the Jay Slaughter Memorial Scholarship. Each contestant was given 90 seconds to present a prepared speech about how they would sell the state of Mississippi to a tourist in an effort to get them to visit the state.
The top three speech award recipients are Gabrielle Taylor of Leakesville, Sims and Jennifer Gray of Jackson.
“Congratulations to these three young women,” Dorsey said. “They will be invited to come on finals night and be with us throughout the remainder of the competition.”
Other contestants in the preliminaries included Shelby Sweatt of Amory, Olivia Jackson of Booneville, Laka Till of Covington County, Keely Skellion of Ellisville, Natalie Welch of Jones County, Kaylee Fortenberry of Lamar County, Maurin Dooley of Lauderdale County, Karlie Jordan of Lawrence County, Sydni Rinehart of Lee County, Chloe White of Magee, Kaitlyn Bradford of Marion County, Kadin Adcox of Mendenhall, Tabitha Leager of Meridian, Landry Payne of Neshoba County, Mackenzie Pharr of Pearl River County, Elisabeth Walters of Perry County, Hailey Draughn of Petal, Caroline McIntyre of Ridgeland, Annaleigh Ragsdale of Smith County, Katherine Mattox of Starkville, Brianna Posey of Tupelo, Grayce Redwine of Washington County, Kaylee Davis of Wayne County and Anna Grace Reed at West Point.