Preliminary competition begins Wednesday at Miss Mississippi 201 - - Jackson, MS

Preliminary competition begins Wednesday at Miss Mississippi 2017

VICKSBURG, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A new Miss Mississippi will be crowned at the Vicksburg Convention Center this weekend.

The contestants are now preparing for the first night of preliminary competition in hopes of winning the honor of being Miss Mississippi 2017 on the 60th anniversary of the pageant.

Judges interviews began Monday morning for some of the contestants. They are separated into three groups and will compete in different areas each night.

"I'll be doing a pointe dance to Viva," said Miss Vicksburg, Anne Elizabeth Buys. "But Viva actually means life and so I really get to portray my love for life through it."

"Whenever we get to go into the interview room, we have 10 minutes to answer anything that they throw at us," said Miss Mississippi State University Molly May. "Anything from political affiliation or what's your favorite color."

The judges panel this year will include five former Miss Mississippis, including Toni Seawright, the first African American to win the title.  

We asked the contestants if that gives them more confidence or more pressure.

"I've had these butterflies like more than usual because its like this is such a big deal," said Miss Hattiesburg Mia Hall.

"Having them here to kind of give us that inspiration that we can go so much further than where we are now," explained Miss Jones County Brooke Bullock. "We have already come so far, but there's even further to go."

About 25 former Miss Mississippis are expected to take part in the 60th anniversary. 

Cheryl Prewitt Salem was the third Miss Mississippi to win the title of Miss America in 1980 and she is back to host this year's pageant.

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