Miss Hospitality heads to state competition

Published 3:00 pm Saturday, July 10, 2021

Lincoln County’s Miss Hospitality 2021 Abby Smith is excited to take part in the statewide competition next week in Hattiesburg.

Smith was named Miss Hospitality in March by the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce.

A Brookhaven High School graduate, Smith was also the Chamber’s pick for Miss Merry Christmas 2019.

“It has been incredible!” Smith said of her time so far in the hospitality role. “I have loved being able to do things in the community, meeting people and getting to know people.”

She has been joined by a Little Miss Hospitality, Claire Sones. Sones, the daughter of Bill and Carrie Sones, will be a sixth-grader at Lipsey Middle School in the fall.

“The Little Miss was incorporated just a couple of years ago as a mentoring component to the program,” Smith said. “Carrie will accompany me on stage during the competition.”

Smith will leave Sunday for a week of preparation and competition in the Hub City, including a series of interview and a 90-second speech on Mississippi in front of a panel of judges. Thursday night, Smith will compete in the first half of a two-night pageant, and will present a 20-second Brookhaven commercial.

The 38 contestants from across the state will be divided into two groups for the Thursday and Friday competition stage. Saturday, the top 10 contestants will advance to compete for the title of Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality.

Smith said she’s been interviewing a couple of times weekly to prepare. Set up by the Chamber, the interviews are with differing four-person panels of a cross-section of Lincoln County people.

“It definitely has given me a lot of experience,” Smith said.  “No matter how far I go in the competition, this has given me life skills, like networking and communication, that will benefit me the rest of my life.”

Having completed her freshman year at Mississippi College, Smith will begin pursuing a degree in interior design at the University of Southern Mississippi in the fall.

Smith, 19, started her first business at age 11, and owns “Stitched by Abby,” a business focused on her passion of sewing. Her business can be accessed at www.facebook.com/stitchedbyabby/.

“I do t-shirt blankets, reupholstering, curtains, pillows and odds-and-ends,” she said. “I hope to open a business in interior design. And sewing.”

Anyone who would like to send notes of encouragement to Smith or Sones can do so by mailing USM Conference Services, Abby Smith (or Carrie Sones), Miss Hospitality, 118 College Drive, Box #5102, Hattiesburg, MS 39406. Packages can be sent via UPS to Miss Hospitality, Attn.: Name of the contestant, USM Receiving, 2904 W 4th St., Hattiesburg, MS 39401.

A Lincoln County country girl and daughter of a farmer, Smith said her future plans are centered on her hometown and home county.

“I want to be local. I want to come back home,” she said. “Even when I was in school I had to come back every weekend. It’s truly the people here. My family is here, all the people I love and care for are here.”

The state competition will be live streamed at https://m.facebook.com/MississippiMissHospitality/.