Mary Margaret HyerMiss Southern Grace
Hometown: Hattiesburg, MS
Platform: Organ and Tissue Donation in Partnership with “Advocate, Celebrate, Donate”
Talent: Vocal Performance
What college did you attend, or are currently attending? University of Mississippi (Ole Miss)
What is your major? I am majoring in English with a minor in Vocal Music.
What is your scholastic ambition? I aspire to finish my degree at the University of Mississippi and then enroll in law school to pursue a career as an attorney.
List scholastic honors: Chancellor’s List Scholar, Dean’s List Scholar, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Society for Collegiate Leadership & Achievement
Greatest non-academic accomplishment: My Choral Service Scholarship to the University of Mississippi has been my greatest non-academic accomplishment. This honor validated all the years of hard work I have put into music throughout my life and has allowed me to continue studying music throughout my college career.
What is your favorite style of music? Acoustic, Singer/Songwriter, Musical Theatre
What is your favorite movie genre and why? Although they aren’t technically their own genre, my favorite movies will always be the classic, Disney animated movies; The Little Mermaid is my favorite. Some of my happiest childhood memories are of watching these movies with my parents and wishing that someday, I too could be a princess.
What is your favorite gadget? My MacBook Pro that I bought right before I began college. It has helped me keep my life organized for the past three years, and I could not live without it.
What is your favorite blog? I enjoy occasionally reading posts from The Young Hopeful, which is a blog that is a guide to “thriving, not just surviving” in college.
What is your favorite place to visit? Washington, D.C., our nation’s capitol.
What is your favorite food? Sweet potato anything—sweet potato chips, sweet potato casserole, sweet potato fries—I love it all!
If you were on a deserted island, what book would you want with you? How to Survive on a Deserted Island!
Do you twitter? I do! You can find me at @MaryMHyer.
What is your favorite?
Sports Team: Ole Miss Rebels
Actor: Morgan Freeman
Actress: Reese Witherspoon
Television Program: Once Upon a Time
Wardrobe Accessory: A diamond necklace that I received as a high school graduation gift from my grandparents.
Thing to do on a weekend: Shopping, eating, and enjoying the small-town culture of Oxford, Mississippi’s Square.
Way to spend a day off: Attend a yoga class and spend quality time with my family.
What is your hometown like? Appropriately nicknamed “The Hub City”, Hattiesburg is a cultural mecca, teeming with music, education, history, art, and diversity. Despite being one of Mississippi’s larger cities, Hattiesburg is truly a unified community, which we have proven in recent months as we have come together to support those whose homes were destroyed in the tornado that recently struck our city.
What were you like when you were a child? I loved to try new things and constantly wanted to be doing something productive! From piano lessons to dance lessons to Bible drill practices to church choir, I was never in the same place for long.
Who is the most influential person in your life? My ballet instructor, Ms. Sylvia Henington, always encouraged me to strive to be the best version of myself. From teaching me to “always stand up straight” to teaching me the importance of hard work and determination, so much of my life has been formed from her loving encouragement and instruction.
What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize?
Upon first impressions, my persona seems to most to be incredibly feminine; however, nothing excites me more than getting to watch a great football game. Ole Miss football, especially, is a huge passion of mine, and my favorite thing to do on Saturdays in the fall is sit in the metal stands of the Vaught-Hemingway Stadium to cheer on my Rebels!
Describe one defining moment in your own life, other than winning your local title:
Getting to witness my mother donating a kidney to my grandmother has undoubtedly been the most defining moment in my life. That incredibly unselfish act inspired me to strive every day to think of others before myself and to always treasure the invaluable gift of family.
What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss America Program?
I have learned that the greatest gift you can give yourself is to be well-rounded. The Miss America Program inspires women to be healthy, educated, talented, confident, and scholarly, all of which are skills that will ultimately lead to success later in life.
If you are crowned Miss Mississippi, what do you want to accomplish during your Year of Service?
I want to travel our state and instill confidence and self-worth in my fellow Mississippians. The modern media places so much pressure on being “thin enough”, “athletic enough”, “smart enough”, “popular enough”, or “successful enough”; my dream is to show everyone in my state that we were all made in God’s image and are perfect exactly as we are.
What is your secret wish or dream? My secret wish is to play a princess, specifically Belle from Beauty and the Beast, in Walt Disney World!
I’m motivated by: I am very goal-oriented, and nothing motivates me more than my own hopes and dreams.
Is there a personal connection that made you pick your personal platform?
Absolutely, my family has been personally affected by organ failure, which is why I have chosen Organ and Tissue Donation as my platform; luckily, my mother was able to donate a kidney to my grandmother in her time of need, but not everyone is fortunate enough to have a compatible and willing family member as a donor. By promoting donation through “Advocate, Celebrate, Donate”, an organization that I founded, I hope to inspire Mississippians to sign up to be organ donors and give the gift of life to those in need.
What do you think has been the most significant event in your lifetime?
Hurricane Katrina has undoubtedly been the most significant even in my lifetime; the storm came four weeks after the birth of my younger brother, and my family lost the roof of our house. Despite the hardships we faced, the experience brought us closer and only increased our love and appreciation for each other.
The one thing I can’t live without: My daily can of Diet Coke! It is a necessity for me to function.
My best friend would describe me as: Fiercely determined. She often laughs at me and my “tunnel vision”, but once I set my sights on a goal, I never stop until I have achieved it.
Something interesting about my family: The most unique thing about my family is our undying loyalty to the University of Mississippi; my grandparents, parents, and most of my aunts and uncles are alumni, and I am currently a third-generation student there. I certainly hope this is a tradition that continues for many generations to come!
Funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me: When I was a senior in high school, I was on my way to sing the National Anthem at the opening football game of the season; as I was pulling into the parking lot, I totaled my car. Luckily, no one was injured, but everyone driving in to attend the football game had to drive past my wrecked car and me; definitely one of the more embarrassing times of my life! Almost four years later, I am glad I can look back and laugh a little at this experience.
One thing I’d like to try that is out of character for me: I am what you might call a “planner”, so I tend to avoid anything that is last-minute and unplanned. Something I would love to do, however, is spontaneously decide to backpack around Europe with a few of my friends; sometimes I think it’s healthy to get out of your comfort zone, and that would certainly put me out of mine.
Do you have any pets? If so, what kind and tell us their names: I do have pets! Beau is our 7-year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Trixie is our Chihuahua who we adopted from the Hub City Humane Society, and Praline is our cat who I found in a parking lot when she was a kitten and weighed less than 2 pounds; we love our furry family members, and our family wouldn’t be the same without them!