So what was the state’s new Miss Hospitality, Chandler Llana of Batesville, doing on Monday after she was crowned Saturday night in Hattiesburg?
Was she signing autographs? Trying on her crown? Posing for the press?
No, she was on the job helping customers at Stubbs Department Store. In fact, those customers may not have even been aware that they were being waited on by Miss Hospitality.
After last week’s whirl of activity and Saturday night’s exciting climax, Chandler and her mom Pam and sister Schaefer are taking up pageant officials on their recommendation: take a few weeks and relax, then come back to Hattiesburg to make plans for the year. The Miss Hospitality program is coordinated by the Hattiesburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“Chandler embodies all that Miss Hospitality represents – beauty, grace and intelligence,” said Nicole Ruhnke, Mississippi Miss Hospitality Pageant Coordinator. “She will be an outstanding representative for the State of Mississippi as she promotes tourism and economic development throughout the state and across the country.”
It will be a busy year: she’ll travel 30,000 miles as Mississippi’s official goodwill ambassador. One trip she’s looking foward to is Mississippi Day in Central Park, New York City next summer.
A biology major at Ole Miss, Chandler will continue her studies this year and will live on campus where she is active in volunteer work with her sorority and is enrolled in the Honors College. She plans a career as an orthodontist.
At last week’s pageant, Chandler won a preliminary award on Friday night for her speech promoting tourism in Mississippi. When she was crowned Saturday night, she became the third Batesville woman to hold the title. Ann Kitchens was Miss Hospitality in 1965 and Fisher Fleming was crowned in 1995. Chandler, sponsored by the Panola Partnership, was the first representative of the entire county to be named state winner.
“She’ll bring a lot of recognition to Panola County,” Panola Partnership CEO Sonny Simmons said Monday. “She has a great personality.”