Miss Mississippi 2010: More than a pretty face - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Miss Mississippi 2010: More than a pretty face

By Maggie Wade - bio| email

VICKSBURG, MS (WLBT) - This year there are contestants at the Miss Mississippi Pageant who have overcome incredible circumstances to compete for the title.  Some of them even credit participating in the pageant in helping them deal with loss and grief.

Each one of the contestants at the Miss Mississippi Pageant has a story to tell.  Earlier this year Miss Mississippi State Fenly Akers lost everything she owned in an apartment fire in Starkville.

"It was the week before final exams at the end of April, and it was early one Sunday morning, and that day my life truly changed," Akers said.

Akers made the Top 10 in 2009.  She said despite having to start over her friends at Miss Mississippi have helped her cope, and the fire put things in perspective.

"I'll never be able to look at a fireman or a volunteer for the Red Cross the same because I lived three hours away from Starkville, so they were my parents.  They were my comfort zone before my family could get there," said Akers.

Shelby Corn, Miss Southern Magnolia, lost her father to cancer and also watched an 8-year-old neighbor battle cancer around the same time.  Corn said she wants to work as a pediatric trauma physician to help others.

"I love kids.  They're my heart.  I want to have four of my own and adopt five, and in trauma you never know what's gonna come through the door.  You go in for your shift, you don't know what's coming in and then you go," Corn said.

It was a different struggle for Miss Leaf River Valley.  Her family is from Bangladesh.  She hopes by competing she helps bring awareness and appreciation for cultural differences.

"I moved to America when I was 1-year-old, but we constantly visit back in Bangladesh because all of our family lives there, and we have a very big family," said Paromita Mitra.

Each contestant has used life experiences to choose the group or cause they volunteer for. Whether it's issues like hunger or bullying, they hope as Miss Mississippi 2010 they can continue to make a difference in the lives of those in this state and possibly the nation.

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