Beauty and Grace: Contestants compete for title of Ms. Mississippi Senior America

Published 7:00 am Saturday, July 30, 2016

CROWNED WINNER: Who will be crowned this year's Ms. Senior Mississippi? Photo by Cassandra Favre

CROWNED WINNER: Who will be crowned this year’s Ms. Senior Mississippi?
Photo by Cassandra Favre

Today, four seniors will showcase their talents in the hope of being named 2016’s Ms. Mississippi Senior America.
Ms. Mississippi Senior America Pageant Director Bonnie Hughes said she is looking forward to this year’s competition and has dubbed this year’s participants, “the Fab Four.”
“I hear from them on a regular basis and they’re excited and looking forward to it,” she added. “I want to also thank all my volunteers who helped with the lunch and setup and the First United Methodist Church of Picayune for hosting the event.”
This year’s four contenders are Dr. Ivy Anderson from Olive Branch; Diane Danzey from Hattiesburg; Donna Perkins from Picayune and Trina Schelton from Picayune.
According to her biography, Anderson is the mother of three children and grandmother to seven. She is a nurse and is employed by Baptist College of Health Services in Memphis as an assistant professor of nursing. She is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, retiring with the rank of captain. She earned master’s degrees in education in counseling and in nursing. In 2010, she received her doctorate in ministry from Jacksonville Theological Seminary. She will be performing an expressive dance during the pageant’s talent portion.
Danzey is stepmother to three and grandmother to seven children, according to her biography. She is quoted as “loving the opportunity to do anything that is for a good cause and can be of a benefit to others.” She is employed by Regions Mortgage and enjoys playing the piano, continuing her education in music and learning Spanish and tap dancing. She also participates in “Making Hattiesburg Beautiful.” She will be performing a piano during today’s talent competition.
Perkins is the mother of one and grandmother of four children. According to her biography, she is the owner and instructor of Perkins Just Dance where she teaches country and ballroom dancing. Perkins teaches workshops at world qualifying dancing events and is the owner of Classy Crowns Production. She is the founder and director for the individuals with disabilities Praise and Worship Dance Team and the Beauty and Beau Pageant. For the past 14 years, she served as team captain for the Relay for Life team and participates in the Relay’s Dancing with the Stars. She enjoys barrel racing, shopping, traveling and fishing. She will dance while performing sign language.
Schelton is the mother of four children and four step-children, grandmother of 19 and great-grandmother of six, her biography states. When she lived in Nashville, she was the owner and manager of Trans Star Recording Studio and head of artist development for Star Maker, Inc. Schelton was also a co-producer, writer and entertainer with Troy Shandell Entertainment. She has participated in benefit shows for the Wounded Warrior Project, Relay for Life and for fellow artists battling illnesses. During her free time, Schelton enjoys playing the piano, writing poetry, songs and commercial jingles and entertaining residents of nursing homes. She will be singing during today’s talent competition.
Participants will be scored in four categories: interview, talent, evening gown and philosophy of life, Hughes said.
This year’s judges panel includes two dancers, a thespian, a pageant person and an entertainer, Hughes said. They are Shane Carroll from Pontchatoula; Barbara Fontenot of Metairie; Trudy Morris from Harahan, Sandy Ratajik from Denver and Vince Vance who is originally from New Orleans. The statistician for the pageant is Jan Jarrell.
The winner of this year’s pageant will compete for the national title during the week of October 16-20 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Last year, Ms. Mississippi Senior Barbara Mauldin won the national title.
This year’s theme is “Rhinestones, Roses and Rock n’ Roll,” Hughes said.
The pageant will be held today at 2 p.m. at the Pittman Family Life Center located at 498 N. Haugh Ave. in Picayune. There is a $10 donation to attend the pageant.
According to, Senior America Inc. was organized in 1971 to promote the positive aspects of aging. The first pageant was held in 1972. According to the non-profit’s mission statement, “the Ms. Senior America pageant is the world’s first and foremost pageant to emphasize and give honor to women who have reached the age of elegance. It is a search for the gracious lady who best exemplifies the dignity, maturity and inner beauty of all senior Americans. The Ms. Senior America philosophy is based upon the belief that seniors are the foundation of America and our most valuable treasure.”

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