-Jarvis Gatlin, Contributing Writer
“Congratulations, you are the new Miss MC.” The utterance of one simple statement has caused joy for many of the promising and talented young women around Mississippi College’s campus. The “Miss MC” pageant over recent years has become a huge event. Buzz among the contestants, as well as the campus as a whole, spreads like a rapid fire. On Thursday, Jan. 29, six women will compete for the crown and title of “Miss MC 2015.” Contestants include: Callie May, Sarah Pope, Taran Kaur, Kendyll Covington, Ashley Watson, and Jessica Atchley.
The pageant itself consists of contestants from different backgrounds, although they are all bonded through one common goal: to represent Mississippi College. Contestant Sarah Pope, 19, is a sophomore from Terry, Miss. “I love the fact that we have grown close, despite not really knowing one another before the competition,” said Pope. “I truly feel that regardless of the outcome, I have gained lifelong friends.”
Taran Kaur, the 21-year-old from Madison, Miss., reiterated this feeling. “I have made friends throughout this process that will extend beyond the pageant itself,” Kaur said. “I would be happy and thrilled, regardless of the outcome. There is no envy among any of us girls.”
Emotions are usually high for these young ladies, as they prepare to compete in front of family, peers and a panel of qualified judges. Ashley Watson is a junior, also from Terry, Miss., and this will be her first year competing for “Miss MC.” “I pray constantly for peace during this time,” Watson said. “I have grown so much as a woman over the past couple of weeks, leading up to the competition.”
A lot of emotions and pressure tie into competing for “Miss MC,” let alone winning it. Pope had this to say about reigning Miss MC Callie Shirley: “Callie is an amazing girl. She has been very receptive and very helpful during this time. She has done a great job in keeping me and the other girls calm. She’s been absolutely wonderful.”
“Callie has done a great job at encouraging us and keeping us calm,” said Kendyll Covington, also competing for “Miss MC.” “She’s been nothing short of fantastic and nurturing.” Although these girls are under an enormous amount of pressure and are in front of the public eye at almost all times, they use certain techniques to keep peace within their minds. “I just remind myself to stay with the Lord during nervous times,” said Pope. “As a college student, you deal with a lot of temptations, but I’ve learned that if you stay close to the Lord, you can overcome them.” “I’ve learned to just breathe and stay close to the Lord,” said Watson. “I can do all things through him.”
The “Miss MC” pageant allows the young women of Mississippi College to have a platform for displaying various talents, although some of these talents may be hidden. “I have a black belt in Taekwondo,” said Kaur. “When you look at me, you would have no clue, and usually when I tell people, they don’t believe me at all.” “One of my special hidden talents, is my ability to sing,” said Watson. “I have been singing my entire life, and it’s a passion of mine.”
Nervousness and excitement is what first come to mind of the young women vying for this illustrious and honorable title. At stake is not only the crown, but also a $2,000 Mississippi College scholarship, as well as a prize package from local businesses. From picking out the right dress, to eating the best foods, to simple details such as the time they wake up in the morning, everything is precise and the competition stiff. In addition, each contestant was required to raise $100 for the Make a Wish foundation.
The winner of this year’s competition may yet be unknown, but ne thing is for certain: the desire to represent the oldest university in the state and the desire to let their lights shine is evidence that Mississippi College has many “Miss MC”-worthy women on its campus.
The “Miss MC 2015” pageant will begin at 7 p.m. on Jan. 29. Tickets are $5 in advance and $7 at the door. Contact Dannie Woods for more information.