July 11, 2022-
Mississippi Miss Hospitality week got underway Monday in Hattiesburg with a full day of rehearsals for the 40 contestants competing for the title.
Winner of the Miss Hospitality pageant will go on to represent their state for the next year. In addition, the annual event offers contestants more than $100,000 in scholarships.
“We have more scholarships than ever before,” said Marlo Dorsey, director of VisitHattiesburg, the city’s tourism commission, which oversees the event each year.
While winning scholarships is an important part of the program, Miss Hospitality contestants are focused on sharing their love and knowledge of Mississippi.
“I love my state so much and I wanted to gain more knowledge on it,” Cambri Brewer said of why she would like to become Miss Hospitality.
The 22-year-old, from Petal, is a senior at the University of Mississippi. She said she has traveled to other parts of the state, including Tupelo — the birthplace of Elvis Presley — but wants to see more, including the Mississippi Aquarium that recently opened in Gulfport.
She also wants to show people in other states that Mississippi is a great place.
“I definitely want to help break the stigma that surrounds Mississippi,” she said. “We have such a wonderful state and so many wonderful people in it.”
Addison Armstrong, 18, of Ridgeland, is following in the footsteps of her grandmother, who competed in the 1990s. Armstrong plans to attend the University of Mississippi in the fall.
“I met a lot of new girls that are so nice and a lot of them are attending Ole Miss with me, so it’s the start of new friendships,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong wants to bring her love of animals and nature into her vision of Mississippi if she is named Miss Hospitality.
“Mississippi already has a beautiful landscape, and just by cleaning up and helping out will make it more (appealing),” she said.
The competition was formed in 1949 by the Legislature and then-Gov. Fielding Wright. Judges select a young woman to be a goodwill ambassador for economic development and tourism in the state and around the country.
The competition is open to women ages 18-24. Hattiesburg has hosted the event for the past 25 years.
Miss Hospitality contestants will spend their week not only in rehearsals but in community service.
On Friday, the competitors will sign autographs at Turtle Creek Mall from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. near the Chuck E. Cheese-Ulta Beauty entrance. Guests will have an opportunity to meet the 2022 contestants, their Little Misses and 2021 Mississippi Miss Hospitality Jane Granberry of Hattiesburg.
The preliminary on-stage competition will begin at 8 p.m. Friday at the Saenger Theater.
Mississippi Miss Hospitality will be crowned during Saturday’s competition, which will feature the top 10 competing in an on-stage interview, community commercial and evening gown.
Saturday’s event also will begin at 8 p.m. at the Saenger. For tickets and information about the Saenger, visit hattiesburgsaenger.com or call (601) 584-4888.
For information about the Miss Hospitality competition, visit misshospitality.net.
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