Eleven young women will compete Saturday at 7 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium for the honored title of Miss University of Southern Mississippi.
The pageant is hosted primarily by the Student Government Association and is a preliminary pageant to the Miss Mississippi Scholarship Pageant. According to the Miss Mississippi website, the next statewide pageant will occur in the summer of 2015.
The student that wins the title of Miss USM will continue to the state level and compete as a representative of the university.
Meredith Moody, a member of SGA and pageant director, spoke of her excitement for the program as well as the diversity of the girls involved.
“There will be a lot of old faces as well as a lot of new faces,” Moody said. “We have a lot of girls from a lot of different backgrounds and a lot of different talents. It’s a group of very individual girls.”
Bethany Cuavas, a junior elementary education major from the Gulf Park campus, is competing in the 2014 pageant to live her dream of becoming Miss USM.
“I’ve always wanted to be Miss USM,” Cuavas said. “My parents and my grandparents both graduated from here. I do so much with our campus on the Gulf Coast already, and I’d love to promote my platform.”
Rebecca Farnell, a junior advertising major and a pageant contestant, stressed her personal desire to represent
“I did not know about Southern Miss (before) coming here, and I’ve fallen in love with the university,” Farnell said. “I feel like being Miss USM would allow me to be an ambassador for something I’ve fallen in love with.”
This year’s theme is the 1980s, where contestants will give a fun, vintage opening number before slipping on their evening gowns.
While the event promises to be fun, for one young woman the moment will be bittersweet. Kimberly Page, a senior communication studies major and Miss USM 2013, will relinquish her reign when this year’s winner is announced.
She has competed in Miss Mississippi and expressed her desire to return to the statewide pageant with another title, but said this year was her favorite.
“I know I’ll always be representing Southern Miss wherever I go, but I will always remember my year as Miss USM,” Page said.
The doors will open early for admission and attendees are advised to enter early. Tickets are available at the door and will be $5 for students and $7 for general admission.