Miss Mississippi Tadlock has fond memories of hometown

Published 5:00 am Thursday, July 23, 2009

When Miss Mississippi Anna Tadlock thinks about Brookhaven, itbrings to mind memories of being a happy little girl in a smallsouthern town.

“My childhood was basically spent there. I guess Brookhaven hasthe reputation for being not just a small town, but a good smalltown to live in,” she said. “All my younger memories are from whenwe lived there. Because of that, I’ve always had a love for thatsmall-town feel.”

Tadlock, who attended city schools in Brookhaven, but moved toBrandon with her family when she was 12, graduated from NorthwestRankin High School in 2004. She is the daughter of Felicia andTommy Tadlock of Brandon, and the granddaughter of Brookhaven’sTravis Tadlock and the late Melba Tadlock.

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She said she still loves to visit her grandfather because sheknows Brookhaven will always have the feel of home away fromhome.

“I grew up in the First Baptist Church of Brookhaven, that’swhere we went for so many years,” she said. “Every time I go back,I always see someone I know, someone that knew my parents orgrandparents, that taught me in school or Sunday school, or amother of my friends when I lived there. I love knowing wherever Igo I’ll probably bump into someone that I know.”

Tadlock said she knew the first time she attended a MissMississippi Pageant that it was a goal she wanted to achieve toserve a term as the leading lady for her home state.

“I saw what happens when you win, saw the doors of opportunitythat open to the girls who are Miss Mississippi,” she said. “When Iknew I wanted to put forth a strong effort to be Miss Mississippiwas the first year I ever went, 2006.”

It was after years of preliminaries that she got there, and onher second try at the big show, she made the Top 10, which shewould do three out of her four years in the pageant.

But in Tadlock’s case, the fourth time is the charm.

“It really depends on how bad you want it. I’m reallycompetitive, and I have the attitude that you do whatever it takes.I wanted to go to Miss Mississippi so bad, there was no question ofif we were going, it was when,” she said.

And strangely enough, the other premonition she had was more ofa joke than anything. She said somehow she knew she would be theone to have to field a question about the late King of Pop.

“It’s funny that I got the on-stage question about MichaelJackson, because all week I thought, ‘I would be the one to get theMichael Jackson question,'” she said. “I think that’s the mostoff-the-wall on-stage question I’ve gotten.”

The question involved how Tadlock thought Jackson would beremembered, whether for his musical greatness or for child-relatedcontroversies. Tadlock responded that she hoped he’d be rememberedfor his music, but still likely for both.

She must have handled the question right, because the judgeschose her to represent the state at the Miss America pageant onJan. 20 in Las Vegas.

“The on-stage question, it either loves you or it hates you. Youcan get one of the best questions ever or something that’s totallyoff the wall,” she said. “

And she said during her year of service as Miss Mississippi, shewill carry the parts of who she is that were forged in Brookhavenwith pride.

“I will be promoting why small towns are so important for whatthey represent and what they are,” she said. “Some people love tolive in big cities and metropolitan areas, but the reason I amwhere I am today is because I was raised in a small town.”