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Women compete for ‘Most Beautiful’ title


Tonight, 89 female contestants will compete for the title of “Most Beautiful.” 

The winner will receive not only a crown, but also the recognition and pride that comes with the title. 

The pageant itself comes not only with many beautiful women all vying for a chance to become the “Most Beautiful” woman on the University of Mississippi campus, but also with a rich history of legendary excellence. 

“We have had many girls participate (in the past), but not this large of a group,” pageant co-director Anna Kate Goodwin said.

During this year’s competition, the 89 contestants will be narrowed down to 25 semifinalists, and then down to 10 finalists. After the 10 finalists are named, the title of “Most Beautiful” will be given to one lady. 

“As the program continues to grow, the judges begin to focus more on natural beauty rather than big hair and tons of makeup,” Goodwin said.

All 89 contestants will be interviewed the day of the pageant. 

The interview will take place with four judges and will count toward 10 percent of the final score. The other 90 percent of the final score will come from how well the girls present themselves in the evening gown portion of the competition. 

Stage presence is a huge part of succeeding in this critical part of the pageant, Goodwin said.

“I think (judges) look for elegance, physical fitness, beauty, especially natural beauty, and the way the girls walk,” she said. 

The Ole Miss Parade of Beauties has a long history and has been positively critiqued by many people, including author and Oxford native William Faulkner. 

In his poem, “To a Co-Ed,” Faulkner shows much appreciation to the beauty that the contestants of the pageant possess. 

The first Parade of Beauties was held in 1909. 

School officials decided to hold the pageant because “there were so many pretty women at Ole Miss,” according to “The University of Mississippi: A Sesquicentennial History,” by David G. Sansing. 

The first woman to be crowned “Most Beautiful” was Marguerite Rhodes of Oxford, who won the title again in 1910. 

Last year’s “Most Beautiful” was Caroline Conerly of Hattiesburg. 

The pageant is tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Center.  

The event will be hosted by James Shelton, Margaret Ann Morgan, Logan Rush and Olivia Purvis. 

Entertainment will be provided by LaTonya Herron, winner of Ole Miss Idol 2011. Tickets for the pageant are $10 for Ole Miss students and $15 for general admission.