Thursday, January 20, 2011
MA graduate to compete for state crown
By BARRY BURLESON
Ashley Forester recalls going to her grandmother’s house as a little girl so she could watch the Miss Mississippi pageant.
“We couldn’t get that channel on our TV,” she said.
The 21-year-old from Holly Springs won’t have to worry about seeing it on television this time around. She will be a contestant.
Forester, a senior at Ole Miss, won the title of Miss New South 2011 on January 8 in Meridian. She is the daughter of John and Judy Forester and she claimed the crown on her father’s birthday.
“At first, it was shock,” she said. “Now, I realize I have a new title and I am actually going to compete for Miss Mississippi. I’m thrilled. I’m still on cloud nine.”
Forester participated in her first pageant at age 8 in Holly Springs.
“Pageants have always been a part of my life,” she said.
At age 14, she represented Holly Springs in the Miss Magnolia State Pageant. She won the beauty review at Marshall Academy as a seventh grader and a senior. She has participated in numerous other pageants.
“I’ve always enjoyed it,” Forester said. “I love the aspect of getting dressed up, but it’s also such a valuable learning experience. It has taught me a lot about myself – self respect.
“It has been a wonderful way to meet new people. I’ve become close friends over the years with other participants.
“I’ve always loved participating in pageants. The opportunity has helped me to grow as a person.”
She is a 2007 graduate of Marshall Academy. At MA, she was voted the Best All-Around Senior. She was a cheerleader six years and a member of the Patriot Performers six years. She was cheer captain, editor of the yearbook, president of the Key Club, a member of the Hall of Fame and the winner of the Johnny Alldredge Spirit Award.
Forester will receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in theater from Ole Miss in May. She plans to return to the university in the fall to pursue a master’s degree in counselor education.
She is an Ole Miss ambassador. She is a member of Psi Chi (the National Honor Society for Psychology), the UM Modeling Board and the Student Alumni Council. She also serves on the research team for the psychology department. She is a Dewees Alumni Association Scholar and a Lucky Day Scholar.
“I love being at Ole Miss,” Forester said. “It has been a great four years for me.”
The Miss Mississippi Pageant will be held June 29-July 2 in Vicksburg. The preliminary finals in interview, talent, swimsuit and evening gown will be held Wednesday through Friday. The final competition on July 2 should be aired on WLOV from Columbus on Metrocast.
Forester said the next few months leading up to the Miss Mississippi Pageant will be hectic. She said preparations will include professional photos, workouts to get ready for the swimsuit competition, visiting dress designers and working on the song, with her voice teacher, that she chooses to perform.
Her platform will focus on Service for Sight, a project of her sorority (Delta Gamma) at Ole Miss.
Forester started competing two years ago in pageants affiliated with the Miss Mississippi pageant.
“After my very first time to compete, I said, ‘Hey, I really want to go to the Miss Mississippi. I realized I could do it, and I started to push myself to achieve it.”
That goal will become a reality this summer.
Donations for Miss Mississippi program ads are tax deductible and anyone wishing to purchase an ad should email Forester at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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