From the Miss Teen Sweet Potato Queen to Ole Miss’ Miss University, Charley Ann Nix set a course for pageant success early in life. With a new title on her sash, she also has plans to improve the Ole Miss community by educating school kids about bullying. Julia Chisolm sat down to speak to her on behalf of HottyToddy.com:
Hotty Toddy: When and where you born?
Nix: I was born on July 23, 1996, in Batesville, Mississippi, and I have lived there my whole life.
Hotty Toddy: How old were you when you first started competing in pageants?
Nix: The first pageant I competed in was at the age of six, but I didn’t compete again until I was older. I went to Vicksburg to support my cousin, who competed in Miss Mississippi when I was 10, and ever since then I’ve been hooked.
Hotty Toddy: What pageants have you competed in throughout your career?
Nix: When I was 11 years old, I started to participate in the Outstanding Teen Program. The very first one I competed in, I got first runner-up, which motivated me to keep competing. I kept working hard, and I was eventually named Batesville’s Teen Miss Springfest (twice), Miss Teen Sweet Potato Queen, and the Mid-South Fair’s Miss Youth Personality. When I turned 15, I began preparing to compete in a local pageant that would give me the chance to compete in Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen. In October of 2011, I was named Miss Delta Blues Outstanding Teen.
Hotty Toddy: How has competing in pageants affected your lifestyle?
Nix: I became dedicated to getting in shape and eating right. I’d always had a less curvy body type, but I had to learn how to work out in a gym. I am not athletic, so I do not enjoy cardio, but I do like to lift light weights. Regarding my diet, I have always liked to eat more on the healthy side, but I love bread. It is hard to stay away from Cracker Barrel and Ajax, but I learned to monitor my intake on those carb-heavy types of food. Being toned and healthy is important because that is what the judges look for in the swimwear segment.
Hotty Toddy: What is your least favorite part about competing in pageants?
Nix: My least favorite part is how stressful competing is. Pageants are hard, and you have to be OK with being vulnerable while putting your best out on stage and hoping five people will like it.
Hotty Toddy: What is your favorite part of pageants?
Nix: My favorite part is the interview because it allows the judges to get to know the person you are on the inside. It creates an opportunity to have your knowledge and character seen. This is my favorite part of competition because it goes beneath the surface level of someone. We all have this chance to get more personal with our judges in a 10-minute panel interview prior to competing onstage. I believe this portion of the competition can sometimes be forgotten because it is not seen by the public.
Hotty Toddy: Did you feel good enough about your performance during the Miss University Pageant to think you would win?
Nix: Honestly, I did not think I was going to win. I walked out of my private interview and cried in my car because I thought I did so poorly. I was not at all confident going into the onstage part of competition, but I knew I had to give it 110% because I did not think I did well in my interview. During the preliminary award segment, I actually won the Overall Interview Award, and I was shocked. At that point, I told myself that if that was the only award I received, I would be okay and happy with it. When my name was called [as the overall winner], I genuinely was shocked and excited at the same time. I just thanked the judges over and over again and looked at my family out in the audience.
Hotty Toddy: Have your family and friends always been supportive of you?
Nix: I luckily have always been supported by my family and friends throughout my pageant career. When I was younger, I was picked on for competing, but I was able to overlook it because I knew what the bigger goals of mine were.
Hotty Toddy: Do you have any advice to other pageant contestants?
Nix: It’s easy to get down and feel defeated when you don’t win, but you have to remember that at the end of the day, it is just five people’s opinions. There’s always another chance, and I think that being able to pick yourself up and keep going really shows someone’s true character. The way that you act and carry yourself when you’ve lost is the most opportune time to witness someone’s real self.
Hotty Toddy: What is your plan to improve the Ole Miss community as Miss University?
Nix: I will absolutely continue to work with and expand my platform, which is a bullying prevention program titled, “Don’t Wait, Educate,” which targets elementary school-age students. I hope to reach around 5,000 students before the end of this school year, and I have already gotten started by booking appearances. Because there isn’t a “Miss Oxford” or “Miss Lafayette County,” I will hopefully be able to help integrate the Lafayette, Oxford, and University communities by promoting my platform and participating in events like the Big Event.
I am so thrilled to be heading back to Vicksburg and having the chance to serve Ole Miss over the next year. I hope to make every past, present, and future Rebel feel special and a part of the Ole Miss family.
Julia Chisolm is an intern for HottyToddy.com.