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Meet Ole Miss’ Own Mr. Congeniality

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Miss America is a scholarship program that brings together 52 of the most talented and hardworking young women in the country, but this year the stage is being stolen by an Ole Miss sophomore.

Landon Chapman
University of Mississippi sophomore Landon Chapman is presented with his own sash at the Miss America Pageant preliminary competitions

Contestant 53, Landon “the Intern” Chapman, an Integrated Marketing Communications major from Brandon, Mississippi is living his lifelong dream.

“I’ve loved performing for my family since I was a toddler,” Chapman said, “I love that the entertainment industry can provide an outlet for people to display their creativity.”

While you may have seen him around campus as an Orientation Leader or in front of the Student Union with the Student Activities Association you can now find him providing backstage access to the pageant’s SnapChat account, complete with his custom-made sash.

Chapman is enjoying the excitement of his first internship, taking on responsibilities in social media marketing, preparing for the pageant’s after party and-and lighting up the lives of the contestants. “My main role, I would say, is to just keep the contestants full of joy. That is what makes me happiest,” Chapman said.

The contestants are loving it, Miss Wisconson posted a photo on Twitter saying “Meet #LandontheIntern one of my favorite people helping make our #MissAmerica experience so fabulous”.

Landon Chapman
Chapman bringing smiles to Miss America contestants.

Chapman credits his experiences at Ole Miss for preparing him for the work he is doing today, “Being an orientation leader taught me that each encounter you have with people leaves a mark on them. No matter how exhausted I was – I always went out of my way to make a positive impact on someone’s life,” he said.

Fellow orientation leader Rosa Salas has worked with Chapman in SAA as well as honor society Lambda Sigma and says that he is the kind of person that makes a boring task fun. “He is a great leader, he works passionately and always treats everyone with a lot of kindness,” Salas said.

While Chapman is currently spreading this kindness to contestants through Snapchats, dances, and Shania Twain sing-a-longs, he is sincerely grateful for the mentorship that has helped him reach his goals. “From teachers to guidance counselors, I have had many mentors over the years that have helped me get to where I am today. Without them, I may not have made it to Ole Miss or the Miss America pageant,” Chapman said.

Among these mentors are Ole Miss alumni Sam and Mary Haskell who helped arrange Chapman’s internship. Sam, the CEO of the Miss America pageant and former worldwide head of television for the William Morris Agency met Champman through his wife Mary, chairwoman of the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy, which provides Chapman’s scholarship to the University.

Landon Chapman
University of Mississippi sophomore Landon Chapman is presented with his own sash at the Miss America Pageant preliminary competitions. (Photo by

“The Council is committed to our scholars in providing not only the financial assistance of our scholarships but the support additional programs of mentoring and leadership skills,” Mrs. Haskell said.  The former Miss Mississippi describes Chapman as energetic and having an “open spirit.”

“Landon is smart, articulate, and hungry to learn, a great combination,” Mr. Haskell said. He credits mentors at the University such as Dr. David Crews and Mrs. Helen Kellum and fellow agents at William Morris for his success.

“Mentorship is such a powerful tool in building our next generation of leaders,” Mrs. Haskell said.

Chapman plans to pass on this mentorship to younger students. “Mentorship means everything to me,” he said, “because you never know the impact that you could be making on that mentee’s life.”

He said although he is excited to see the celebrity judges and hosts including Mark Cuban, Gabby Douglas, and  Ciara, he is most excited about the crowning of a new Miss America. “I came into this internship, not understanding, to the full extent, how unbelievable these women are. All of the contestants have worked so incredibly hard for that job. They inspire me each and every day to go after my dreams,” he said.

By Olivia Morgan, HottyToddy.com Contributor. She may be reached at olmorgan@go.olemiss.edu.

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