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‘Beauty Comes From Within’: Ole Miss Student Describes the Joy of Pageantry

Marissa McCardell

*Editor’s Note: This story was originally published in Oxford Stories

Amory native Carson Avery has been performing in beauty pageants since middle school. She started competing in pageants with her best friend. Now a freshman at the University of Mississippi, Avery hopes to continue her involvement in future pageants.

Carson Avery said she has been performing in beauty pageants since middle school. Photo by Marissa McCardell.

“At first I didn’t want to do them,” she said. “They just have a bad reputation of being like bratty girls and all this stuff. But my mom encouraged me to do them.”

Avery said her talent is singing. Her favorite song is “Believe,” the Fantasia version.

“I have always loved to sing,” she said. “When I get on stage and start singing, I don’t feel nervous anymore. It’s my way of connecting to people. That’s why I chose to sing for my talent.”

Other than continuing her interest in beauty pageants, Avery said she enjoys shopping, acting and modeling. She also hopes to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre from the University of Mississippi. Avery said she would like to pursue a career in the performing arts on Broadway.

“My dream would be to move to a big city like Los Angeles or New York City and work my way up to on the big screen,” said Avery.

Avery created a foundation called the Fairy Godmother Project. She helps give back to residents of low-income communities and underprivileged children. She has also put together Christmas giveaways, Thanksgivings meals for daycares, and an Easter egg hunt in Amory.

Avery signing autographs at the zoo for the Hospitality pageant in Hattiesburg. Photo submitted.

“The Fairy Godmother Project is simple,” she said. “I want to help families, especially children that come from underprivileged homes, to feel like they are not outsiders. I plan to collect clothes, toys and food through my project and allow the community to submit requests to help certain families based on needs.”

Avery said she has learned many things from competing in beauty pageants, including that it takes hard work and perseverance to succeed at anything.

“I didn’t win on my first attempt at the crown, but that didn’t stop me from achieving that goal,” she said. “It has also taught me to be humble and that beauty comes from within. You can’t win on looks alone.” 

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