The Miss Mississippi contestants spend thousands of hours doing volunteer work throughout the state. They work for causes ranging from health and nutrition to bullying and literacy.
One contestant has shaved her head in support of her mother who battled breast cancer. Briana Exum is Miss Southern Magnolia. This is her first year to compete at Miss Mississippi and she says she knows her appearance might draw some attention.
"I remain bald because I like to show people that true beauty is in your actions," said Exum.
Her mother is doing well. Exum says most of her family is from Mississippi though she grew up in Colorado.
She works to encourage others through her platform, Finding Your Voice.
"It's taken from a seminar I teach for rotary every summer," added Exum. "Like half motivational seminar, half creative writing seminar where I essentially teach these kids to uncover their inner excellence."
Katie Sims, Miss William Carey University, where Exum is also a student, started a program, Piano for Kidz. She gives free piano lessons to children at the Boys and Girls Club.
"There's a study that has shown to have a 33 percent increase in their mathematic scores and a 22 percent increase in their English scores whenever they have music in their lives," said Sims. "And so that's just something that I thought was really important, something that I could do for the kids."
The Mississippi contestants have all chosen platforms for their volunteer work and say winning the state title will help them reach and give back to even more people.
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