July 17, 2021- Wearing a crown and sash, Jane Granberry held a bouquet of flowers and waved to the crowd at the Saenger Theater in downtown Hattiesburg Saturday night.
Earlier, Granberry was one of 36 women vying to become Mississippi’s new Miss Hospitality, and when the event ended, she had received the top honor. She was crowned by McKay Lee Bray of Greene County, 2020 Mississippi Miss Hospitality.
First runner-up was Becca Childers of New Albany. Others in the top 5 were:
- Kassidy Young, Pontotoc County, second alternate
- Sara Hederman, Ridgeland, third alternate
- Landry Payne, Neshoba County, fourth alternate
The field was narrowed to five contestants from 10. Others finishing in the top 10 were:
- Olivia Jackson, Booneville
- Brinley Bullock, Laurel
- Amberlyn Holifield, Leakesville
- Kacey Wallace, Mendenhall
- Baleigh Brumfield, Pike County
Additionally, Addison-Blair Dyess of Lamar County won the Lake Little Spirit of Miss Hospitality award, which is voted on by the contestants.
Miss Hospitality represents the state through the Mississippi Development Authority and also promotes the state on a regional and national level during her reign. Granberry received a $25,000 prize package, a part of more than $100,000 in scholarships and prizes, including cash and college-granted funds, awarded during the competition.
Granberry, 19, is studying integrated marketing communications and history at the University of Mississippi and plans to work in health communication. She is a member of the Rebelettes Dance Team, Ole Miss Ambassadors, and Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She is also in the honors college and Lambda Sigma Honors Society.
“I cannot wait to hit the ground running and just serve the state with my fullest responsibility, and just have a fun time doing it,” Granberry said shortly after her win.
Miss Hospitality 2021:Meet the 36 contestants
She also spoke of the passion for service work evident in fellow contestants.
“Seeing the change they want to see in the world, and that they’re going to do it, it’s just been so refreshing and inspiring,” she said. “I’m going to keep up with them for the rest of my life, and I’m already excited for a reunion.”
The contestants from across the state spent the week in Hattiesburg, taking to the Saenger stage Thursday and Friday for preliminary competitions. Competition segments included community commercial, evening gown and interview.
This year’s event was the first time contestants were on stage for three nights. According to contest director Kristen Brock, the event was planned in October and how COVID-19 would be handled nine months later was unknown. So, in an attempt to allow more spectators, the preliminary competition was spaced over two nights.
Brock said continuing with a three-night format is being considered because the event is growing. In 2019, for example, tickets sold out for the first time.
“It’s definitely a possibility we’ll have multiple nights moving forward,” Brock said. “It allows more opportunity for people to come and support their contestant in person.”
This year marked the 24th year the competition has called Hattiesburg home, after beginning in 1949 on the Gulf Coast, then moving to Starkville for 12 years.
Dominic Gwinn of the Hattiesburg American contributed to this story.
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