• 68°

Miss Tupelo and Miss New South named winners in first night of Miss Mississippi preliminary competition

From the Vicksburg Post

VICKSBURG — Miss Mississippi pageant veterans were the winners Wednesday night during the first round of the 2018 preliminary competitions held at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

Miss New South Tanner Fant won the talent phase of the competition and Miss Tupelo Asya Branch walked away as the swimsuit winner.

Click here for more photos from the preliminary competition

Fant, who was a first-time contestant last year, has now won the talent phase of the competition in preliminaries both years.

Branch previously won the swimsuit phase of the competition in 2016.

“It is still a whirl wind and this is an overwhelming and humbling experience, and I honestly did not expect this,” Branch said. “I have worked hard all year, but that is everyone here. We have all worked hard on our bodies.”

To prepare for the swimsuit competition, Branch said she has combined cardio with weight training and also a healthy diet.

“I love healthy foods, so it is not very hard, but having to cut out ice cream is difficult,” she said.

When asked what  the one thing it really takes to get in shape is, she said, “mindset.”

“You have to think it in your mind that this is what you want to do and accomplish. And once you have set that goal, anything is possible,” she said.

Branch is a student at the University of Mississippi where she is studying broadcast journalism.

“Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman” was the song Fant chose to perform her lyrical dance.

“I am pretty picky when it comes to choosing songs to dance to, but when I came across ‘Never Enough’ before the movie came out, and it just brought me to tears. And then when the movie came out, it just made me fall in love with the song even more,” she said.

Fant said the lyrics of the song talk about success and ambition and this for her defined her life.

Fant is a student at the University of Alabama where she is a dance major.

To prepare for the talent phase of the competition, she said, she spent many hours in the studio and also reflecting on experiences.

“A lot of my preparation comes from a mental/emotional preparation for talent, so when ever something happens in my life I write it in a journal and then I take the journal with me to the dance studio and see how I cam emulate that into my dance,” Fant said. 

Preliminary competitions for the Miss Mississippi Pageant will continue tonight and Friday. On Saturday, the top 10 will be announced and winner crowned.