Miss Hospitality Norton to compete at state level

Published 2:00 pm Friday, June 10, 2022

Lindsey Leigh Norton will represent Brookhaven in the 73rd Mississippi Miss Hospitality competition at the Historic Hattiesburg Saenger Theater in Downtown Hattiesburg July 15-16 at 8 p.m. each evening.

Norton, the daughter of Shane and Leigh Ann Norton, recently graduated from Copiah-Lincoln Community College, where she was a cheerleader, and a member of Phi Theta Kappa and Phi Beta Lambda. She was also on the President’s List as an academic scholar. Norton attended the Phi Beta Lambda state leadership competition and won first place in business statistics.

In the fall, Norton will be attending the Mississippi College School of Nursing with plans to become a pediatric nurse practitioner based in her hometown.

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“I’m so excited for the state competition in July,” Norton said. “While it is nerve-racking, I’m excited to get some great interview experience. I am also excited to get to spend some time with Mississippi’s brightest and best young ladies. I know they will all leave an impact on me.”

In its 25th year as host city, Hattiesburg will showcase this year’s best and brightest young women as they compete for the title of Mississippi Miss Hospitality. Forty women, who represent all regions of the state, will participate in this year’s program, with the winner serving for a full year as Mississippi’s official ambassador for economic development and tourism.

“We are eager to welcome participants and supporters to Hattiesburg for state competition again this year,” said Kristen Brock, Mississippi Miss Hospitality program director. “Showcasing the importance of tourism and economic development is key to our state’s future, and we look forward to a week of displaying the achievements and service to community and state by these emerging leaders.”

Representing Brookhaven as a Little Miss Hospitality is Meridith Grace Porter. Five years ago, the Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition added a Little Miss Hospitality component, which encourages local representatives to serve as a mentor to a young girl between the ages of 6 and 10 from her hometown. If crowned the next Mississippi Miss Hospitality, the contestant’s Little Miss will serve alongside her as she fulfills her duties and responsibilities as Mississippi’s goodwill ambassador.

“I’m hoping that my Little Miss, Meridith Porter, takes away from this experience that she can do anything,” Norton said. “I hope she sees how important it is to support your local community and to learn about your home state. Most importantly, I hope to show my Little Miss to always have confidence in herself.”

Arriving on Sunday, July 10, the contestants will be welcomed to The University of Southern Mississippi before beginning their week-long journey to the crowning ceremony on July 16.

Throughout competition week in Hattiesburg, contestants will attend social events, participate in community service projects and attend rehearsals and competitions.

A program of VisitHATTIESBURG, the Mississippi Miss Hospitality Competition is presented by the Mississippi Development Authority, The University of Southern Mississippi, the City of Hattiesburg, Hattiesburg Saenger Theater and Forrest General Hospital. Sponsorships and patrons allow the program to award more than $100,000 in scholarships and prizes to contestants each year.

“We are delighted to be hosting these talented women and their Little Misses in Hattiesburg for this year’s competition,” said Marlo Dorsey, executive director of Mississippi Miss Hospitality. “Their love of community and state has been tremendously inspiring, and we look forward to seeing their continued growth and leadership development for years to come.”

Leading up to competition week, contestants are participating in a social media challenge with informative and entertaining posts that showcase their hometowns and journey to competition. The winner of the challenge will be awarded an additional scholarship.

Hometowns are encouraged to interact with their local contestants online to show their support. Posts can be found using the hashtag #MSHosp2022 on Instagram and Facebook.

Attendees to on-stage competition on Friday and Saturday will enjoy entertaining productions, with vocal and dance performances by contestants and local talent. The finale is set for Saturday evening at 8 p.m., where the top 10 contestants will be announced at the top of the show and continue to compete for the title.

Tickets went on sale on June 6 and can be purchased online at HattiesburgSaenger.com or by calling the Saenger Theater Box Office at 601-584-4888. Tickets are expected to sell out, so pre-purchases are encouraged.

Jane Granberry was crowned the 72nd Mississippi Miss Hospitality in July 2021 in Hattiesburg. A Hattiesburg native, Granberry attends the University of Mississippi, where she studies integrated marketing communications and history. She has visited all regions of Mississippi during her reign through special appearances and city tours. Additionally, Granberry has shared Mississippi’s story with visitors nationally through both media and in-person appearances.

Every year, the state Miss Hospitality program generates approximately $450,000 in economic impact for the local Hattiesburg economy. During Miss Hospitality week, visitors stay in area hotels, dine in local restaurants, enjoy tourist attractions, and shop at local retail locations.

The public is invited to meet the contestants and their Little Misses at the Miss Hospitality autograph party at Turtle Creek Mall in Hattiesburg on Friday, July 15, from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Admission to the autograph party is free.