Mississippi Miss Hospitality Crowned - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Mississippi Miss Hospitality Crowned

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Thirty-nine contestants from across the state competed for the title of Mississippi Miss Hospitality Saturday night in Hattiesburg.

Miss Hospitality "Under the Big Top" was the theme. with entertainment from On Your Toes Dance Studio and Crescent City Circus.

Five Pine Belt girls made it to the Top 10 - Kenna Spiller from Petal, Danielle Ashley from Laurel, Pearl Igwu-Dike from Lamar County, LeighAnn Pacific from Jones County and Ivey Swan from Hattiesburg.

However, in the end, Meridian is the lady who shined.

"I am totally shocked," she said after the pageant.

Hailey Thomas from Meridian says her week as a Miss Hospitality contestant was unforgettable. However, she's ready to start her new journey.

"I am so ready to be miss hospitality to represent my state and to be a more confident woman," Thomas said.

President of the Miss Hospitality Board of Directors, Susan Slaughter, says she looks forward to working with Thomas.

"Hailey, our winner tonight, is an amazing young lady," Slaughter said.  "She was a very strong contender all week long. She won a speech preliminary Friday night. She's very well spoken, and she was one of a lot of 39 strong contestants."

Laurel's Miss Hospitality, Danielle Ashley, won first runner up in the pageant, and she says she has no regrets.

"I feel that I made Laurel so proud, and I could not be more honored to represent Laurel," Ashley said.  "And I get to go to law school in a month with scholarship money, and I could not be happier."

The Miss Hospitality organization gives over $100,000 in scholarships each year.

Thomas also has big plans for the money she earned. The twenty-year-old is a pre-med major at the University of Mississippi...

In addition to her studies, Thomas will have the opportunity as Miss Hospitality to travel the state as a goodwill ambassador promoting tourism and economic development.

"I want to tell our story just like I did on stage," Thomas said.  "That we are a state on the rise, and we are poised for many future, great endeavors.

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