Keats excited to represent county as Miss Hospitality

Keats excited to represent county as Miss Hospitality


Alice Keats was recently crowned Neshoba County’s Miss Hospitality and says she is incredibly excited to be traveling to Hattiesburg for the state pageant in July.

“My emotions are filled with so much joy,” Keats said. “I was so excited to be presented with the opportunity to represent Neshoba County as Miss Hospitality. It’s going to be an amazing journey and will be so much fun.”

The 2024 Miss Hospitality pageant begins on July 12 and ends on July 13, with contestants participating the entire week of the competition from July 7 through July 13.

Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality contest, established in 1949 under Gov. Fielding Wright, 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.

Alice Keats is the daughter of Elijah Jimmie and Karla Keats. She is currently majoring in Communications with a minor in Social Media Marketing at The University of Southern Mississippi.

Keats served the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians for two years as 2019-2021 Choctaw Indian Princess due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, she was able to work the frontlines alongside Tribal entities serving and alerting her tribe about safety protocols, both virtually and from a distance physically. 

She is also a part of the Chahta Allah Youth Council, where she served three years as a reporter and two years as secretary.

“Throughout my life, I have always loved the idea of promoting and advertising my culture and tribe,” Keats said. “Miss Hospitality is an advocate for the economic side of her city, community, and state of Mississippi. It will be great to share why I think Neshoba County is the epitome of hospitality.”

Keats said she plans to highlight the welcoming atmosphere of places like the Neshoba County Fair and share captivating stories about the Tribe’s regalia, designs, and colors, and how members implement them into their daily lives and schools. 

She wants to help motivate others as well, stressing that the journey is just as important as the destination.

“With my advocacy, I also love to promote education,” she said. “I really love to talk to my peers and their friends on how they can elevate within their lives. Education is important, but not everyone after high school goes to college. Some either go to the workforce side or academic side. Either one is great if you are passionate about what you do, and it is okay to take your time as long as you don’t give up.”

Keats said former titleholders Landry Payne and Anna Spears-Davidson have really inspired her over their years representing Neshoba County.

“When they would talk about their platform and pageant experiences, I just grew fond of them,” she said. “Those two really sparked an interest in me and shared advice that I will cherish and carry with me throughout my journey. I still can’t believe that I was presented with this opportunity. I am going to grab the baton and run with it.”

Six-year-old, Bailey Jay, was crowned Little Miss Hospitality last week. She enjoys playing with Lego sets and participating in productions at the Ellis Theater with the PNC Arts Council.

Bailey Jay is the daughter of Morgan and Caleb Jay. She also loves gym and dance and is an active member of The First Baptist Church of Philadelphia. 

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Bailey to represent our county, get to know other people, and have some fun along the way,” her mother said. “It’s an honor for her to hold this tile.”

She added, “This is a new experience for our whole family. We cannot wait to get to know Alice and her family and watch her shine. Bailey is very excited for the pageant and to wear a pretty dress on stage.”

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