Hederman competing for Miss Hospitality


RIDGELAND — Sara Hederman grew up taking part in many activities and athletics, but competing this week in Hattiesburg to be Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality is a first for her. 

Hederman was selected as Ridgeland’s Miss Hospitality in April 2021 after she applied for the title after talking to the Director of Miss Hospitality for Ridgeland Mary Beth Wilkerson. Hederman said she had never been in a pageant before but thought competing in the Miss Hospitality competition would help her grow her social skills and confidence. 

“I’ve learned so much about my state and our history and I’m so thankful for this experience,” Hederman said. “Mississippi needs more positive media, and I think that promoting our state to people around the country could entice more visitors or business owners to relocate to Mississippi.” 

Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality contest was established in 1949 under Gov. Fielding Wright and the state Legislature. It is designed for women ages 18 to 24 and has championed the state’s tourism and economic development sectors while supporting Mississippi’s best and brightest young women through its scholarship program. 

The winner serves as the state’s official Goodwill Ambassador traveling regionally and nationally to promote Mississippi and share her story. Miss Hospitality will also enjoy her part of more than $100,000 in prizes and scholarships offered by the Miss Hospitality program. 

Hederman, daughter of Doug and Blaire Hederman, grew up in Jackson and graduated from Jackson Prep in 2020. She now attends Ole Miss and is a sophomore studying exercise science with plans to pursue a career in the athletic and fitness industry. She is a member of the Chi Omega sorority and is a Chancellor Leadership and Academic Scholar. She is also an avid hunter, competitive golfer and enjoys fitness activities.

During the competition, Hederman will take part in interviews on Wednesday, and will present a speech and written commercial on stage. She will be accompanied by Ellie Yerger, Ridgeland’s Little Miss Hospitality, young girls who are chosen along with the older candidates to go on stage with them to represent their counties.

Hederman will be competing in Hattiesburg on Friday with the second half of the contestants. The first half will compete Thursday night. The winners on Thursday and Friday will advance to the finals on Saturday night, where the winner will be decided and crowned. 

“On Friday night, I’ll be doing my Ridgeland commercial, production numbers, and evening gown. I am so excited for this weekend,” Hederman said. “My favorite part of this competition has to be the opportunity to meet so many wonderful girls. The most challenging thing would be all of the interview and speech preparation, and I’ve spent hours reviewing Mississippi history and memorizing my speech.”

Sara Hederman’s mother, Blair Hederman, said she and the rest of her family are excited Sara was selected to participate and it is a great opportunity for her to get to know other young women around the state. 

“Sara usually competes in athletics, but this has been a great growing experience for her,” Blair Hederman said. “We would love to see her do well. She is well-spoken and converses easily, and she has worked extremely hard in preparing her speech and interviews. I would think her preparations will be evident.”

To learn more about Miss Hospitality Mississippi, visit https://misshospitality.net/.

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