Lexie HarperMiss University
Hometown: Meridian, MS
Social Impact Initiative Description: An initiative that aims to educate, empower and elevate all women by enabling them with the tools to reach economic sustainability and the confidence to shatter glass ceilings.
Talent: Jazz Dance
What college do you attend, or have attended, or will attend if High School graduating senior? The University of Mississippi
What is your major? Integrated Marketing Communications
List scholastic honors: National Honor Society, Scholar Athlete 3.0+ Club, Intelligence and Security Studies, Honor Roll
What is your scholastic ambition? To graduate from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science degree in Integrated Marketing Communications with a minor in business.
Greatest non-academic accomplishment: My whole life I have wanted to compete in Miss Mississippi. Winning Miss University would have to be my greatest non-academic accomplishment. Other than winning my local title, becoming a member of the Rebelettes dance team was a dream come true.
What has been your greatest adventure? Please provide an answer outside of the Miss America program. My greatest adventure would have to be going out of my comfort zone and serving on a mission trip to Jamaica. I did not have any friends on this trip when we left at the beginning of the week. I had a whole new group of friends by the end of the trip, and I will be forever grateful for all the friendships and relationships I made that week.
What trip shaped your life? Please provide an answer distinct from your social impact initiative. My first trip to watch a dance recital at the age of 2 sparked my love for dance and I will forever be grateful for that trip. I have now been dancing for a little over 21 years and without this passion I do not think I would be the hard-working and dedicated person I am today.
Use three (3) words to describe your greatest assets. Compassionate, Empathetic, Driven
Are you a person of intelligence or of common sense? I believe I am a person of both intelligence and common sense!
Who is the most influential person in your life other than your mother? Mrs. Dorothy, the manager of Dress for Success Metro Jackson, is one of the most influential people in my life. She has put the women of this organization as her top priority and has inspired me to be the person that I am today.
What are your 2 favorite hobbies and what led you to them? Participation in the Miss Mississippi program is not considered a hobby for this question. Dancing and singing would most definitely be my two favorite hobbies. Dancing, I have been doing since the age of 2, and singing is my “secret” hobby that no one really knows that I have
Who is your most interesting relative and why? My brother, Landon, is by far the most interesting relative I have. He has played baseball since the age of 4. At the age of 5, he cut off his right thumb and was airlifted to UAB, a hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. After 4 surgeries, he lost so much blood that they were not sure he was going to survive. After a lot of prayer and a miracle from God, the doctors and nurses saved his life during a 3-hour surgery. They were not able to save his thumb, so they were confident he would never be able to play baseball or throw any kind of ball again. Landon, at the age of 6, learned how to throw and hit left handed just so he could continue his hobby of baseball. Today, he plays college baseball at one of the best junior colleges for baseball in Mississippi. The most amazing part of it is, he pitches and throws RIGHT handed with only half a thumb.
What is the best advice you have received and from whom? Please answer this question with information from outside of the Miss America program. I have an incredible amount of admiration for Bob Goff, and by reading one of his books, he inspired me to love everybody always. No matter who they are, where they come from, or how different they are than me.
What is your favorite quote? “I didn’t get anything I prayed for until I became the type of person who should receive it.”
Who is your most influential mentor and why? Please answer this question with an individual from outside of the Miss America program. My mother! She is the most humble, loving, responsible, and inspirational women I know. She is the definition of a hard working woman who taught me that to reach your goals or dreams hard work and dedication has to take place. I am thankful of the qualities she has instilled in me over the years, and I hope I can be half the women, sister, mother, and daughter that she is one day.
Other than being Miss Mississippi, what is your dream job? Being a Public Relations (PR) professional is ranked the #8 most stressful job in the country because you are constantly fixing problems and building reputations for your clients. I believe I have every characteristic needed to be successful as a PR professional and would love to pursue a career in this area.
What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? I have a very unique, distinct voice. Some people may say it is “raspy.” What most people do not know is the reason that my voice is so unique is because I have calluses on my vocal cords! It is something I have had most of my life that is very different than most people, but a characteristic about myself that I learned to love and embrace.
What success have you learned most from? Please answer this question with an experience outside of the Miss America program. This past year, I was selected as a captain on my college dance team. This was a huge goal of mine that I was able to accomplish. While it was very rewarding, it is challenging. This leadership position taught me so much about myself and as a leader. I will carry those lessons with me in every aspect of my life.
What failure have you learned most from? Please answer this question with an experience outside of the Miss America program. Being a part of different sports teams my whole life, I have had many failures, yet the one struggle I learned the most from had nothing to do with those sports. At the age of 13, my parents divorced. Being the oldest of three, I felt that I needed to grow up and be the rock for my siblings. I thought I had to be perfect, and my biggest fear was letting anyone down. I developed insecurities about my parents’ divorce that made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. What I learned through that situation is that, we should not be ashamed or push our struggles aside. I learned to be self-reliant, which has enabled me to be the independent woman I am today. God allows us to struggle to learn and grow and maybe to even help someone else grow from a similar struggle. Challenges and struggles are what make us who we are and help us develop into the people we will become.
What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss America Program? That your dreams are never too big. I used to believe I could never compete for this title because “I was not good enough.” I grew up admiring the women that competed on the Miss Mississippi stage, but I never thought I could do that. When I took a leap of faith in November 2018 and prepared for my first preliminary in 2 weeks, I had no expectations to take home the crown. I was just going to try it and see if I enjoyed being on the other side of this organization. God’s will interceded, and I was Miss Mississippi bound for the first time. Winning Miss Mississippi is my biggest dream, and without the confidence that I’ve gained through the Miss America Program, I would have never taken that leap of faith and followed this dream. Whether I win the title of Miss Mississippi or not, the values, confidence, experiences, life lessons, skills, and friendships I have gained through being involved with this organization is incredible and something I will never take for granted.
If you are crowned Miss Mississippi, what do you want to accomplish during your Year of Service? In Mississippi, we currently only have one Dress for Success location. As Miss Mississippi, it is my mission to expand the possibilities of this organization and what it does for young women. Along with starting an additional Dress for Success location in Mississippi, I want to travel across the state to educate women of their rights in the workplace, empower women to have a voice, and elevate women to take on any job or circumstance that is thrown their way. Aside from my personal social impact initiative, I plan to serve this amazing state that I have called home for 22 years that has given so much to me.
Is there a personal connection that made you pick your personal social impact project? My parents divorced when I was 13 years old. Being the oldest sibling, I worked hard to be that constant that my brothers needed through this difficult time in our lives. My parent’s disagreements made it hard to envision a life that was normal for us again. Through this time in my life, I became very self-reliant. Instead of asking for help, I did it on my own to avoid confrontation for my parents. Being a student athlete and full time student in college, it was almost impossible to have a job outside of school and practice. I was determined to make my own money to help my parents pay for expenses while in college. At one point, I had two jobs on top of my other activities. Before this time in my life, I never thought I was strong enough to take on this task I felt like I needed. Not only did I work to become financially independent, but I also became self-reliant emotionally and mentally. Through these trials, struggles and life lessons learned through my own experiences, I became a confident, independent woman who knew how to use her voice. I allowed my parents divorce to drive me to become a more self-reliant person. Because of these experiences, I have a true passion for all women realizing their same strength. I believe it is through education, empowerment, and elevation, that women can become more self reliant. It is my mission to ensure that all women reach their full potential no matter what life throws their way.
When is your sense of humor most evident? When I am around my family, my sense of humor is most evident! A get together with my family is always the best time, and it is moments like those I will cherish all my life.
What historical figure best represents who you are striving to be? Susan Akin was Miss Mississippi in 1985, then went on to be Miss America. Fun Fact, Susan Akin was, also, Miss University and from Meridian, Mississippi. It is so inspiring to look up to women that have competed in this organization, but to have a Miss America/Miss Mississippi from your hometown is something so special to me.
What gadget can you not live without? My blender! I make Juice Plus shakes every morning, and I could not live without them!
What is your favorite sport and sport team? Baseball and Ole Miss Baseball