Miss Mississippi Chelsea Rick has earned over 40 thousand dollars in scholarship money through competing in the Miss America system. It is the largest provider of scholarships for women in the nation.
Miss Mississippi contestants say scholarship money is one of the main reasons they get involved but they do have other goals as well.
This year among the Miss Mississippi contestants is an aspiring commercial pilot. Briana Sturgis, Miss Delta State University is an Aviation major who hopes to soar into the hearts of the judges.
"My mother is a former flight attendant for Delta Airlines so when I was younger I would go on trips with her," said Sturgis said.
Sturgis says she flies a Cessna almost daily and is hoping to graduate to jets.
"My Mom took me on my first discovery flight at the age of 9 and I've been flying ever since," added Sturgis.
Ivey Millicent Swan is Miss New South. She plans to attend law school but she is hoping to win the Miss Mississippi crown to introduce more people to a character she created to promote the Arts.
"I created this little character, his name is "Artie," said Swan. "And he's a little personified paint brush and he's my pride and joy."
Miss Tupelo, Kristen Elyse Furr says she got involved with pageants for one reason.
"Initially pageantry was all about the modeling," said Furr. "I always had an interest in modeling and being a model."
Furr says she is also hoping to educate the public about EDNOS, Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. A condition she developed at 15 while training as a gymnast.
"I knew once I got out of my hard time that I wanted to help other people and pageants didn't seem initially like a good leeway for that," said Furr. "I didn't really see how I could but now that this opportunity has arisen I will definitely use that."
Each of the 41 contestants have their own story about life defining moments and their journey to Miss Mississippi. All of them hope the journey will include a trip down the runway Saturday night when a new state representative is chosen.
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