Childhood dreams of being Miss Universe

Published 11:04 pm Saturday, July 20, 2013

Watching Miss Mississippi last weekend reminded me of watching the pageant as a little girl. I would be glued to the screen, in awe of the elegant, sparkling dresses floating across the stage with grace. I wanted to be Miss Mississippi and Miss America when I grew up. I wanted to wear a sparkly dress and pretty make-up.

I would make my little sister, Kallie, play “Miss University” with me. I thought university and universe were one in the same. I remember wrapping a crocheted blanket around me, pretending it was a beautiful evening gown and trying to walk like the women on TV. I imagine Kallie thought I looked ridiculous. She would rather play in the dirt.

However, pageants would not be my talent in life. In my first school beauty pageant at West Lincoln at the age of five, I walked out, stood there and left. I think I was the only child whose favorite food was announced as fried catfish. I remember wanting to put “Rescue 911” as my favorite TV show, but Mama wouldn’t let me.

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The next year, I actually walked around and won a beauty.

However, after looking up at Daddy with my abnormally big tear-filled eyes and asking, “Why didn’t I win?”, Daddy put a stop to the pageants for a while.

I would soon find my true calling in singing and music. Smiling that much was not for me. It made my cheeks hurt. You don’t have to smile like that when you sing.

Ultimately, I think I just wanted to wear a pretty dress and make-up and get my hair as curly and big as possible. That’s what we do here in the south.

In a few months, I will get to do just that, but maybe keep the hair to a more subtle height for my big day. Picking out a wedding dress has to be one of the highlights of a woman’s life.

I’ve been scheduling dress fittings and trying to do those dreaded squats nightly. You’d think after that much pain, you’d see some results by now. I should probably give up the fried catfish, but what’s life without happiness? I can’t imagine the diets those Miss Mississippi contestants have to be on to look so good in a swimsuit. No fried catfish or banana pudding. That’s dedication.

I competed in the Miss William Carey University pageant when I attended there. Studying Mississippi, tanning, working out, tanning and working out some more, practicing talent and learning everything I could about my platform was overwhelming on top of schoolwork. I can’t imagine preparing for Miss Mississippi or Miss America.

When I was a little girl, it was just wrapping myself in a blanket and parading around the house. I wanted to be grown so bad and didn’t realize the freedom I had then. Worrying what I looked like in a swimsuit was the last thing on my mind. My only concern was if Kallie was doing what I said.

Oh to be little again, no make-up, no squats and feeling beautiful in an afghan.

Lifestyles Editor Jessica Boyd can be reached at The Daily Leader at 601-833-6961 ext. 134, by email at or you can write to her at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602.