The Miss Mississippi Pageant is celebrating 55 years of being in the city of Vicksburg. Forty-two contestants arrived at the Vicksburg Convention Center Sunday to begin a week filled with rehearsals, and competition.
The young ladies on the stage at the Vicksburg Convention Center come from all across the state. Their interests range from medicine, to law, education, television, science and technology and even human trafficking.
"There are more than 27 million modern day slaves in our world which is more than there ever have been in human history. It is a 32 billion dollar industry completely based on treating women and children like property", said Taylor Townsend, Miss Mississippi College.
"I'm a Polymer Science student at the University of Southern Mississippi and we're like 3rd in the nation I think in Polymer Science. It is basically the study of synthetic materials to put it in laymen's terms", Miss Deep South, Kimberly Page said.
Miss Natchez Trace, Chelsea Rick, a Millsaps graduate spent a year working on an honors thesis on chronic stress and depression that she has presented to panels across the country.
"My mother made it very clear to me at an early age that these girls were more than just beautiful they had inner beauty, they had poise, grace, they were articulate, intelligent, educated young women", said Rick.
They all have one goal impressing the panel of judges enough to become the next Miss Mississippi.
"I hope they see that I am passionate and that I just really want to serve, I want to serve the people of Mississippi", said Marie Wicks, Miss Dixie.
"I hope the judges see my love for people, that's why I want to go into medicine and its really one big reason I want to be Miss Mississippi", Stephanie Stanford, Miss Mississippi State University said.
"I hope they see how passionate I am about my platform, that its not just something I picked up because I decided to do a pageant", said Miss Madison county, Chassidy Sumler.
"I love to tell the judges who I am, who Anna Beth is and really what the morals and values are that I stand for", said Anna Beth Higginbotham, Miss Heartland.
Five of the contestants from last year's top ten are returning, including Miss Dixie, Marie Wicks who was 3rd runner up to Miss Mississippi, Stephanie Stanford, Miss Mississippi State who was 4th runner up, Miss Madison County, Chassidy Sumler, Miss Heartland, Anna Beth Higginbotham and Miss Deep South, Kimberly Page.
The week begins with the Parade of Contestants Monday night at 7 in Downtown Vicksburg. The new Miss Mississippi will be crowned Saturday night and you can see the pageant here on WLBT beginning at 8pm.
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