Patterson to compete for Miss USA crown

Published 6:08 pm Wednesday, May 11, 2011

In one month, former Peach Queen Keeley Patterson will grace television screens nationwide as she competes among 50 other contestants vying to become Miss USA 2011.

Keely Patterson

Patterson, a junior at Mississippi State University majoring in marketing and the current Miss Mississippi USA titleholder, has been preparing for this national opportunity since earning the state crown in November.

“I’m really excited for my opportunity and I feel blessed more than anything,” said Patterson, a Thorsby native. “This is a rare opportunity and it was once stated, ‘You’re twice as likely to have a son play in the Super Bowl than have a daughter compete to be Miss USA,’ so this is a great opportunity.”

This year marks the Miss USA Pageant’s 60th anniversary.

Patterson will leave June 1, for 20 days, and will stay at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.

Since being crowned Miss Mississippi, Patterson’s world has drastically changed, she said, spending a lot of time in Nashville with her personal trainer, hair stylist, wardrobe stylist, stage presentation coach and director Kim Greenwood, who oversees everything she does.

“I spend a lot of time in the gym and also traveling the state of Mississippi as well as parts of Alabama and Tennessee making public appearances,“ she said.

Patterson has been an avid pageant participant for 15 years and feels each pageant has been a building block to get her one step closer to her goal of winning the ultimate title.

“Being in pageants builds confidence and opens a lot of doors of opportunities,” she said. “Each pageant prepares you for the next level.”

On her journey, Patterson has learned that perseverance is key, she said.

“It is really important not to give up on your dreams, and being Miss Peach taught me that,” Patterson said. “I participated in the Miss Peach Pageant 12 consecutive years before winning the title. It’s all a journey and everything happens in its right timing.”

Patterson has won the crown for Miss Peach 2008, 2009 Miss Teen Alabama USA, the Heart of Dixie Pageant 2010 and Miss Mississippi USA Pageant 2010.

The winner of the Miss USA Pageant will advance to the Miss Universe Pageant, and for the first time in pageant history, viewers will help decide one of the semifinalists.

“I’m excited that people get to vote, America should have a voice,” Patterson said. “Voting started May 9 and will continue through June 18. Beginning June 15 people can start texting their votes.”

“I appreciate all of the support I’ve gotten from Chilton County and my hometown,” said Patterson. “Even though I’ll be representing Mississippi, I am very thankful for Chilton County’s support.”

The Miss USA Pageant will broadcast live on Sunday, June 19 at 8 p.m. CDT on NBC.

A live stream of the preliminary competition will be shown online June 15.