Bassett wins Fourth Alternate in pageant

Bassett wins Fourth Alternate in pageant


Madison County’s Gracie Bassett says finishing as Fourth Alternate in the 2023 Miss Hospitality competition was absolutely surreal. 

“I was quite surprised and honored, to say the least,” Bassett said. “The program directors told us throughout the week that this was one of the most competitive programs they had experienced in a while and the best program they had seen in at least a decade. 41 amazing women came from across the state to compete and did their best. The competition was very tough this time around.” 

As part of winning Fourth Alternate, Bassett received $2,000 in scholarships, which she plans to use for medical school. 

Bassett is the daughter of William and Barbie Bassett of Madison.

Gabby Bell from Pontotoc won Third Alternate, Maddie Grace Lightfey from Hattiesburg was Second Alternate, Loren Wade from Petal was First Alternate and the overall winner of the 2023 Miss Hospitality competition was Abney Pittman from Wayne County. 

Bassett and her fellow contestants arrived in Hattiesburg on July 9 and finished the competition on July 15. She described the experience as “the best week ever” and would pay money to go back and do it all over again. 

“If I can’t go back and do it again, I can at least say that I couldn’t be more proud to be from Mississippi and Madison County, especially after all the things I learned about it after doing this program,” Bassett said. 

Program festivities began on July 12 with one-on-one interviews with each judge, followed by panel interviews with all of the judges, and a speech competition on July 14 where each contestant had to convince a tourist to come to visit Mississippi. 

On top of rehearsing for the competition, Bassett was also involved in multiple service projects in Hattiesburg, including events such as an autograph party with her Little Miss, a Breakfast at Tiffany’s themed party at the Bottling Company, and dinner in the President’s Suite at The Rock Stadium at the University of Southern Mississippi, something she said was an incredible honor. 

Bassett said the relationships she made along the way, particularly a bond she shared with a radiation oncologist at Forrest General Hospital, Sophy Mangana, were the best part of the entire experience. 

“I learned so much from her about being a physician, and I connected with her because it’s also something I’ve wanted to do growing up,” Bassett said. “That relationship will go forward with me for years after all of this is over.”

Bassett said she is not sure what she will compete in next down the road, but she plans on being back for some kind of competition in the future. The next time she can compete in Miss Hospitality will be 2025. 

“I highly encourage females aged 18-24 to look into this program if you’re looking for a scholarship, networking opportunities, and if you’re wanting to meet new people and make friends,” Bassett said. “I’d love to see this program grow in Madison County to include Canton, Flora, and Gluckstadt. It’s an awesome scholarship opportunity.”

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