HATTIESBURG (July 27, 2019) —Kasey Pearson of Amory was crowned the 2019 Mississippi Miss Hospitality Saturday evening at the Historic Saenger Theater in Downtown Hattiesburg. With 43 contestants competing for the title, Pearson was selected following the week of competition, which included one-on-one and panel interviews, speeches, on-stage interviews, and an evening gown component.
Selected as the 70th Mississippi Miss Hospitality, the winner serves as a goodwill ambassador for economic development and tourism during her reign. Pearson will participate in numerous events throughout the state that highlight Mississippi’s tourism attractions and industries.
“There are so many incredible women that deserve this tonight, and I am excited to have been chosen to represent Mississippi as this year’s winner. My goal this year is to spread hospitality while also highlighting the many assets and attractions our state has to offer,” Pearson said.
Pearson is a senior at the University of Mississippi, where she is involved in the Early Entry Pharmacy program, Kappa Delta, and the Student Activities Association. This fall she will begin her first year of pharmacy school. Upon graduating with her Doctorate of Pharmacy, she hopes to obtain a residency in pediatric medicine.
Mississippi Miss Hospitality’s top five contestants were:
- Kasey Pearson, Amory, 2019 Mississippi Miss Hospitality
- Annaleigh Buckley, Petal, first alternate
- Natalie Breland, Stone County, second alternate
- Asia Montgomery, Columbia, third alternate
- Georgia Akers, Pontotoc County, fourth alternate
Mississippi Miss Hospitality program works with local directors, contestants, and sponsors throughout the year to present the weeklong competition in Hattiesburg. In addition to competing and rehearsing, contestants participate in service projects and city tours, along with teambuilding and leadership activities.
“Mississippi Miss Hospitality travels throughout the state to share tourism assets, business advantages, culture, and goodwill to organizations and leaders during her reign,” Kristen Brock, program director, said. “Kasey joins a network of talented women who come before her in this role, and we are grateful to our local directors for their dedication in promoting the program and preparing excellent representatives for the state competition.”
Serving alongside Pearson at official events and appearances will be Hallie Clark, as Mississippi’s Little Miss Hospitality. Contestants locally selected a Little Miss to be on stage with them during competition week. Hallie is 11 years old and is the daughter of Corey and Kristen Clark.
Additionally, a number of other scholarships and awards were given out during competition.
The 43 contestants were provided a social media challenge starting two months before competition week that highlighted their hometowns, the program’s sponsors, and more. This year’s social media scholarship winner, which is awarded by the Mississippi Tourism Association, is Madalyn Burke of Vicksburg.
Nominated and voted on by her peers, the program recognizes one young woman as the Spirit of Hospitality for her supportive, welcoming, and kind behavior throughout competition week. This year the award was named in memory of Lake Little of Starkville, who passed away before competition. This year’s winner of the Lake Little Spirit of Miss Hospitality award is Charlsie Hicks of Greene County.
The Southern Miss Image Center provides a scholarship for the Most Photogenic contestant each year. Dariyel Johnson was selected as the 2019 recipient.
During the Women of Distinction Farewell Brunch for contestants, their families, and local directors on Saturday morning, two honors were given.
The 2019 Volunteer of the Year was Greene County’s local director Jennifer McNeil, who has served in shaping and supporting young women from the area for nearly 20 years.
The program also honored its second Woman of Distinction, First Lady of Mississippi Deborah Bryant.
“First Lady Deborah Bryant truly embodies the mission, spirit and values of the Miss Hospitality program. With a heart for public service and people, she has inspired and uplifted countless young women throughout her life. It is our honor to recognize her as a Woman of Distinction,” Marlo Dorsey, executive director of VisitHATTIESBURG and Mississippi Miss Hospitality, said.
For more information or to request Mississippi Miss Hospitality at an event, visit misshospitality.com or the program’s Facebook page.