All posts tagged: MISS MISSISSIPPI

Mississippi pageant queen serves her country in high heels and combat boots

Putting on a sequined dress, placing manicured feet into high heels, and wearing a sash and crown on stage is a little different than putting on a camouflage uniform, lacing up your combat boots and roughing it in a tent outdoors. But for Miss William Carey University Jennifer DeMelo, a sergeant in the U.S. Army, it’s the best of both worlds. When this active duty soldier wasn’t conducting medical missions throughout the United States, she found time to enter the William Carey pageant and won. Now, she’s got a shot at winning the Miss Mississippi Pageant, an opportunity that would allow her to serve in a different way. “When I first meet people, they never realize that I am a soldier in the military because I do not fit their ideal mold of what a soldier looks like,” said DeMelo, a Louisiana native who has served in the U.S. Army the past five years. Raised in a middle class family with a father who owned a carpet cleaning business and mother who worked different jobs …

More of the story: Miss Mississippi contestant Kennitra Thompson fought for her life against Stevens Johnson Syndrome

When Kennitra Thompson was 6, she told her mother she wanted to become Miss America. The determined little girl convinced Patricia Thompson to purchase a few blank VHS tapes to record the annual pageant, and she repeatedly watched the videos, studying the winners and learning to emulate Miss Americas like Heather Whiteston (1995), Angela Perez Baraquio (2000) and Erika Dunlap (2004). At 13, she entered and won her first real pageant, Miss Junior Teen Jackson as number 135 out of more than 200 contestants. Other pageant wins followed. Then, Thompson was crowned Miss Metro Jackson and got to compete in the Miss Mississippi Pageant for the first time last year, bringing her a step closer to the Miss America crown. This year, she’ll return to Miss Mississippi as Miss Rankin County Southwest, but a lot has changed for Thompson in the last few months. When she walks on the stage wearing a swimsuit, audience members may notice that her body is blemished with scars or “warrior wounds” from the life-threatening illness she recently battled. Kennitra …