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Lawrence County’s Miss Hospitality is positive influence through kindness

Just two months ago, Monticello’s Karlie Jordan was selected as 2020-2021 Miss Hospitality for Lawrence County.

She was studying business marketing at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, and singing in the Sojourners and Blue Wave Show Band. But things haven’t gone quite the way Jordan, or anyone else, planned.

What was intended to be time spent visiting businesses and making appearances and multiple functions in Lawrence County and statewide has instead become time spent on social media — trying to be a positive representative of her county and a bright light for others.

“I wanted to be a good influence for my generation and for everyone else watching,” Jordan says of her decision to try out for Miss Hospitality. “I wanted to show you could be a good role model.”

Kendra King-Johnson, head of the Lawrence County Miss Hospitality program, described Jordan as genuine and hard-working, with a real desire to promote her community and state.

The annual state competition — where representatives from each of the 82 counties compete for the title of Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality — has historically taken place during a week in mid-July, in Hattiesburg. The competition involves producing a commercial to promote one’s representative county, giving a speech, interviewing with judges and an evening gown competition.

Even with the changes to social interaction brought about by the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Jordan says tentative plans still have the competition taking place. Even if part or all of it is done virtually, Jordan is looking forward to the opportunity.

Regardless, she still plans to stay as active as possible in her community — following recommending health safety guidelines — and keep shining her light.

“My big thing has always been just showing kindness to others,” she said.

“I was always shy,” Jordan said, giving credit to the hospitality program for helping her be comfortable talking with others and encouraging them.

“Sometimes, we go about and we don’t show the kindness that we should and make people feel more comfortable communicating with us,” she said. “It’s important.”