By Ida Brown / email@example.com
The Meridian Star
Meridian native Jordin Johnson's recent participation in the 56th Annual Miss Mississippi Pageant in Vicksburg not only fulfilled a lifetime dream to dance on live television, but also earned her a third runner-up title, plus several thousand dollars in scholarships.
"It was such an amazing experience; I'm still in awe of it all," said Johnson, 21, who competed as Miss Leaf River Valley at the state program, a preliminary to the Miss America Pageant.
Except for her participation in the Cinderella Scholarship Pageant as a young child, Johnson is relatively new to beauty competitions. Her decision to compete was prompted by her love of dance and gymnastics.
"I've been a dancer and gymnast most of my life; I've taken dance since I was 3 years old from Pat Gray Academy," she said.
It was at the dance academy that Johnson found a role model in instructor Natalie Goldman, who also competed in the Miss Mississippi Pageant.
"She placed second alternate six years ago and she inspired me to participate in the pageant this year," she said.
Johnson had a win early in the week of competition, being selected a preliminary talent winner, for which she received a $500 scholarship.
Her other wins included:
• Academic Scholarship, $1,000
• Alpha Talent Award, $250
• Alpha Interview Scholarship, $250
• Third-runner up, $3,000
Johnson was one of three contestants sponsored by the Hattiesburg-based Leaf Foundation who competed in this year's Miss Mississippi Pageant. Each of the young women were top contenders in the state program.
"We are extremely pleased that our local contestants were successful and that their hard work paid off,” said Michael Marks, chair of The Leaf Foundation and executive director of Miss Riverland and Miss Leaf River Valley pageants. The Leaf Foundation’s three contestants included Misses Deep South, Riverland and Leaf River Valley.
“Our girls survived a very competitive local competition back in September at The Historic Saenger Theatre in Downtown Hattiesburg,” said Terry Fleming, executive director of The Miss Deep South Pageant. "To have one in the Top Five is incredible! We are proud of all of them.”
Fleming was named Local Pageant Director of the Year during state pageant festivities.
Johnson, a 2010 graduate of Clarkdale High School, is currently a junior nursing student at the University of Southern Mississippi. Upon completing nursing school, she plans to enter the Nursing Anesthetist Program at USM.
She is the daughter of Jeff and Kim Jay of Meridian and Eugene Johnson of Decatur.