Newly crowned Miss Mississippi overwhelmed with ‘joy and gratitude’

Published 12:20 am Sunday, June 11, 2023

By Anna Guizerix 

The Vicksburg Post

A new Miss Mississippi was crowned in Vicksburg Saturday night: Miss Pine Belt, Vivian O’Neal.

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A Hattiesburg native, O’Neal won the competition in a red halter-neck evening gown with all-over beading for evening wear and performed a high-energy dance routine to “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston in the talent portion. The fifth-year competitor said her win was one of “overwhelming joy and gratitude.”

“I almost didn’t come back to compete this year,” she said. “And I think that’s just a testament to God and His plan for your life; I just give all the glory to Him and I’m so excited to start this journey.”

O’Neal’s social impact initiative is called CapABLE. It’s a cause she said she is proud to champion as Miss Mississippi.

Through her work with CapABLE, O’Neal has expanded her mission’s reach to 20,000 people across five states. CapABLE is a registered non-profit organization with a mission to educate and empower all students.

Inspired by her brother Josiah, who has a disability, O’Neal works to help children find connections with their classmates regardless of their abilities.

“As Miss Mississippi, I plan to expand upon (the organization’s progress) to the point where it is a nationally recognized non-profit and that CapABLE is implemented into every single school district in Mississippi and beyond.”

The first runner-up to Miss Mississippi was Miss Leaf River Valley, Neeley Robertson.

Miss Metro Jackson Becky Williams came in as second runner-up; Miss University Ally Hopper was named third runner-up and Miss Hattiesburg Angel Gail Lang was named fourth runner-up.

Terri Cowart Frazier contributed to this report.