Tanner FantMiss New South
Hometown: Starkville, Mississippi
Platform: Let’s All Dance
What college did you attend, or are currently attending? University of Alabama
What is your major? Dance, specializing in performance and choreography
What is your scholastic ambition? I hope to graduate from the University of Alabama Honors College summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. In the future, I plan to attend graduate school to obtain a Masters in Dance Therapy.
List scholastic honors: University of Alabama Honors College, Foundation in Excellence Scholar, President’s List, Cardinal Key, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Golden Key Honor Society, Society for Leadership and Achievement, Dance Honor Society of Alabama, Top 3 Academic Ranking- Starkville Academy Class of 2015, Starkville Academy National Honor Society
Greatest non-academic accomplishment: Serving as Mississippi’s Distinguished Young Woman and representing the great state of Mississippi at America’s DYW as a top ten finalist is one of my most precious accomplishments thus far. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to give back to Mississippi during my year and would love to do so again as Miss Mississippi.
What is your favorite style of music? Any music that gets my creative juices flowing
What is your favorite movie genre and why? My favorite movie genre is comedy. If I am sitting down long enough to watch a movie, I must be constantly laughing.
What is your favorite gadget? My favorite gadget is my foam roller.
What is your favorite blog? Lysa TerKuerst: Leading Women in the Adventure of Faith
What is your favorite place to visit? I was blessed with the opportunity to spend a summer in Chicago, living my dream as a dancer. Any chance I get to visit Chicago again or any other big city where my dream of becoming a professional artist can come true, count me in.
What is your favorite food? Whataburger’s honey-butter chicken biscuits or Bulldog Burger’s turkey burger
If you were on a deserted island, what book would you want with you? Other than the Bible and a How to Survive on a Deserted Island Guide, I would want Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park with me.
Do you twitter? I do not.
What is your favorite?
Sports Team: any Mississippi State sports team and Chicago Cubs
Actor: Michael Luwoye
Actress: Reese Witherspoon
Television Program: This is Us
Wardrobe Accessory: I do not walk out of my house without a comfy sweater, even on the hottest July day in Mississippi.
Thing to do on a weekend: Saturdays are for football, food, friends, family and dance rehearsals. Sundays are for Jesus, sleep, homework and more rehearsals!
Way to spend a day off: When I am not catching up on sleep, I enjoy exploring my college town of Tuscaloosa with my friends. I love finding hidden treasures within the community where I am placed.
What is your hometown like? For most Mississippians, Starkville is known just as Mississippi’s college town. For me, Starkville is a small town with big spirit and an even bigger heart for its residents.
What were you like when you were a child? As a child, I was painfully shy and quiet unless I was in the studio or onstage dancing. Fortunately, as an adult I am just as outgoing off the stage, thanks to the confidence I have gained through dance and participating in the Miss America organization.
Who is the most influential person in your life? Cornelius Carter, director of the University of Alabama dance program, has been influential in my life recently. He has given me countless opportunities in the dance industry already and has shown me that I am capable of being a successful professional performer and artist.
What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? Despite my love for the city and art, I will forever enjoy mud-riding, exploring the outdoors, and playing with any animal or insect. Yes, that includes snakes and beetles.
Describe one defining moment in your own life, other than winning your local title:
After finishing what could have been my last dance performance, a little girl approached me and said, “You are the most beautiful ballerina I have ever seen. I want to grow up and be like you one day.” Meeting that little girl not only saved me from quitting dance but also inspired me to help establish Let’s All Dance.
What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss America Program? I have learned how much having a shiny crown on my head can influence a group of people. The Miss America Organization is a constant reminder in my life that I am a role model to everyone no matter where I am or what I am doing, with or without a shiny crown on my head.
If you are crowned Miss Mississippi, what do you want to accomplish during your Year of Service? I would like to establish Let’s All Dance programs in schools, dance companies, nursing homes, and after-school programs across the state of Mississippi and beyond. I firmly believe that every individual should not only have the opportunity to grow through dance, but the state of Mississippi also should experience the beauty of inclusivity and unity through the arts.
What is your secret wish or dream? I wish more than anything to be half an inch taller, which is no secret to those who know me. If I were 5’6”, I could audition to be a Radio City Rockette.
I’m motivated by: I am motivated by my failures. A quote that I live by is “If you do not live on the edge of failure, you will never live on the edge of success.”
Is there a personal connection that made you pick your personal platform?
Let’s All Dance was a part of my life before I knew I would be competing in the Miss America Organization. I confidently can say that Let’s All Dance and its students are the reason why I still dance and has shaped my future in the dance industry. Even after my participation in MAO comes to an end, I hope to see Let’s All Dance as a national nonprofit organization that gives ALL individuals the chance to physically, mentally and confidently grow through the arts.
What do you think has been the most significant event in your lifetime?
There have been many events in my life that have made such an impact on my life, but the most recent would be starting the first Miss Crimson Beauty Revue at the University of Alabama. I never knew that I, especially as a freshman, could make an impact on a campus of 40,000 people, while also benefiting such a great organization as the Rise Center of Tuscaloosa. As cliché as it sounds, this event made me realize that I can do anything I set my mind to, and I have spent every day since then trying to show others they can do the same.
The one thing I can’t live without: Krispy Kreme Hot ‘N Ready Light
My best friend would describe me as: a goal-oriented, kind-hearted, optimistic goofball
Something interesting about my family: My family is full of interesting souls, but I think my sister and I being adopted is an aspect of my family that is most unique. I cannot express enough how thankful I am to be given a second chance and to be given the most incredible parents and family.
Funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me: I have suffered from blonde moments for as long as I can remember. A prime example is the time I thought my car was broken down. I stopped traffic, had sweet strangers help push my car, and began the process to call the tow truck. It turns out that I just accidentally turned my car off at the stop sign.
One thing I’d like to try that is out of character for me: As someone who is studying dance and psychology, STEM classes are not in my curriculum. However, I would absolutely love to learn and challenge myself by taking a chemistry or engineering class.
Do you have any pets? If so, what kind and tell us their names: Currently, I have three precious pets, but I certainly would not turn away another one. I have Moose, a cat that lives out his name; Stella, your stereotypical diva feline; and Oliver, a precious malti-poo that is spoiled more than my sister and I combined.