With her days as Miss University ending, Caroline Conerly is thankful for the opportunities this title provided. From winning Miss University then competing in Miss Mississippi and placing fourth, this past year has been incredibly successful for Conerly.
“You never expect that kind of stuff to happen to you. You never really let it sink in,” Conerly says.
Conerly is from Hattiesburg, Miss. She is an education major and in the sorority Delta Delta Delta. She had competed in only a handful of pageants, before entering the Miss University competition.
“Seeing her win was incredible. I knew she would be excited, but seeing the genuine amount of joy she got from hearing her name called as the winner made me very proud to support her,” said Sid Johnson, a fellow student and close friend.
Conerly says she was elated to represent the university.
“I’ve been coming to Ole Miss games since I was 9 or 10 and Ole Miss truly has impacted my life in every way possible. This is a part of me, this is a part of who I am,” Conerly says.
Director of the pageant Bradley Baker worked with Conerly every day.
“I’m going to miss Caroline for sure as Miss University. She has done an outstanding job,” Baker says.
From singing at the Christmas tree lighting on campus to reading to children locally, Conerly “wore many hats” as Miss University.
“It wasn’t always one thing. I think that’s what I liked most about it; it was always an adventure,” Conerly says.
As Miss University 2013, Conerly landed a spot in the Miss Mississippi pageant. Often her days were filled with paperwork for Miss Mississippi, talent rehearsals, wardrobe fittings and more to get her prepared for the pageant. Conerly’s chosen talent was opera. She placed fourth in Miss Mississippi last year. In July 2014 she will compete again, hoping to win.
“I’ll be cheering for her in July when she competes again,” Baker says.
Having talked with the participants of Miss University 2014, Conerly says she is looking forward to the pageant. Her advice to the contestants is simple. She says to “not take yourselves too seriously” and that “it is okay to be a real person in the interview.”
The Miss University pageant will be held in the Ford Center on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m.