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Magnolia Belles and Miss Mississippi: Fun and family for the young beauties

  • The Miss Mississippi Pageant has never been just a performance, as it has always had ties to service, mentorship, and leadership. It’s no different with the Magnolia Belles.

The Miss Mississippi pageant has captivated audiences since 1934. Young ladies compete in this Miss America preliminary beauty pageant for scholarships and a chance at the national crown. For decades, people have turned all eyes to the stage to see the talent, the beauty, and the grace of these contestants. 

But the Miss Mississippi organization is about more than competition. The Magnolia Belle program is a mentorship program for girls ages 7-10. They spend the better part of the year preparing for the pageant right alongside their candidate, and even spend the entire week leading up to the pageant together, training for their own dance performance, exchanging gifts, dressing up, and learning the ins and outs of the organization. 

For nine-year-old Logan Ellis of Brandon, Mississippi, being a Magnolia Belle is a dream come true. 

“I really like when we put on our white dress,” said Logan. “And I like the gift exchange.” 

White Dress Night, also known as Shining Moment, is a favorite among many of the girls. They get to wear their elegant white dresses, don their own crown and sash, and be beauty queens for the night.

At the end of that night’s round of competition, the Belles will be brought out on stage with their candidate. 

This year, Logan is a Magnolia Belle with Miss Madison County Gracie Bassett, daughter of Barbie Bassett. 

“They will call the names, and the Belles for that candidate group will get to come out in their dresses, and it’s just so fun for them,” said Rachel Ellis, Logan’s mom. “It’s just so sweet and fun because they feel like little princesses. They’re part of the pageant.” 

This will be Logan’s third year to be a Magnolia Belle. And even though she’s used to the routine by now, it’s always new and exciting to her each year, since the Belles change groups each year. 

“I’m looking forward to meeting the new people in my group and doing our dance routine,” said Logan. “And seeing who the next Miss Mississippi is.” 

More than pageantry

The Miss Mississippi Pageant has never been just a performance, as it has always had ties to service, mentorship, and leadership.

It’s no different with the Magnolia Belles, who are also required to participate in a service project.

“They gather and fill care package boxes for children in the foster care system each year,” said Rachel. “Little toys, toothbrushes, socks; anything that kids in the system may need. We bring it all together, and then package it.”

Last year, the Belles collected and packaged nearly 200 care packages for foster children in Mississippi. 

One thing that everyone involved in the Magnolia Belles experience wins: friendships. 

“These girls are together from one Sunday to the next, in the same home, all day, everyday the week of the pageant,” said Rachel. “So we meet a lot of people we wouldn’t have otherwise met, and we stay in touch.” 

How to get connected

Logan had not been in the pageant scene when she first got interested in Magnolia Belles.

Actually, she was sick. 

“Logan had been laid up sick at six years old, watching the pageant,” said Rachel. “And there was a commercial that came on about if you’re interested in the Magnolia Belles, contact us.” 

Logan said it seemed like fun, so Rachel made the connection. They didn’t hear anything back at first, when suddenly the following April, Rachel got a call. 

“Logan was next on the list,” said Rachel. “So she jumped right in! We only had from April to June to get ready, when most had from November to June, but we dove in and she was hooked. We love having this.” 

For more information about the Magnolia Belles, visit here.

Read original article by clicking here.

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