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Contestants vie for New Miss South'

By Staff
CROWNING MOMENT On Saturday, 23 young women from the Meridian area will vie for the title of Miss New South during a competition at Meridian Community College. An official preliminary of the Miss Mississippi/Miss America Pageant, the event will begin at 8 p.m. in the Ivy Hall Theater. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Ida Brown/The Meridian Star
Jan. 5, 2001
Twenty-three young women ages 17-24 will vie for the title of Miss New South during a competition Saturday's at Meridian Community College.
An official preliminary of the Miss Mississippi/Miss America Pageant, the event will get under way at 8 p.m. in Ivy Hall Theater.
According to organizers, this year's competition has generated the largest number of contestants in the local pageant's history.
The evening's program will open with a theme inspired by the "Austin Powers" movies. Contestants will be dressed in '60s style clothing and Andrew Webb, emcee, will emulate the Austin Powers character.
During the competition, contestants will be judged by a selected panel on swimwear, evening gown, talent and a judges' interview the same criteria used in the Miss Mississippi and Miss America pageants. In addition, the Top 5 finalists will answer a question onstage.
The competition's judging system is designed to promote diversity, individuality and overall achievement among the contestants. Judges score the individual contestants immediately following each phase of the competition. Contestants are scored on a 1-to-10 point scale, in whole numbers, within each category.
The evening will culminate with the crowning of the winner by Amberly Dean, the current titleholder. Dean placed in the Top 10 at the Miss Mississippi Pageant.
The overall winner will receive cash scholarships, tuition waiver scholarships and a variety of gifts from local merchants. She will go on to compete in the Miss Mississippi Pageant, which will be held in July in Vicksburg.
In addition to the competition, the evening will include entertainment by the reigning Miss New South, Jennifer Hermetz, Meridian's Junior Miss 2000 and the Carol Merrill Performing Company Dancers.
Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the door.
Carol Merrill is executive director of the Miss New South Pageant.
Ida Brown is lifestyles editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail her at ibrown@themeridianstar.com.

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