PICAYUNE, Miss. (AP) - With beauty and grace, Picayune native Donna Perkins finally achieved her dream of becoming the Ms. Mississippi Senior America.
Perkins has competed in pageants since she was 3-years-old, winning her first crown and banner in the Bogalusa Paper Queen pageant. From there, she went on to win titles like Miss Louisiana USA, American Royal Miss and the Crown Ambassador.
But even with so many titles to her name, Perkins said she has been waiting to turn 60 so she could compete in the Ms. Mississippi Senior America pageant.
She competed for the first time last year and came back this year ready to win, Perkins said.
“It was a great experience,” Perkins said. “I met some new friends and became a member of the Cameo sisters.”
Perkins said the purpose of the pageant is to find women in the community who can serve as a role model for the younger generations and build the future.
“It allows women over 60 the opportunity of a lifetime to compete and discover themselves by stepping out of their comfort zone,” Perkins said.
With her husband Brian by her side, Perkins has traveled the globe, competing in the world championship circuit of dance.
The couple owns their own dance studio in town, Perkins Just Dance, where they teach ballroom and country dancing.
Perkins showcased her dancing and choreography skills during the talent portion of the competition, performing an original dance to “A Wink and a Smile” alongside an imaginary partner.
With her background in dance and pageants, Perkins also founded and organized the Beauty and Bow pageant for special needs individuals, which has been held at the Resurrection Life Church every fall for the past 15 years, she said.
And it was those Beauty and Bow pageant participants, many of them from Bridgeway Apartments, who showed up to the competition last week to cheer for Perkins.
With the Ms. Mississippi Senior America crown now on her head, Perkins said she plans to be very active in the community through various service projects.
“I plan to do everything I can, I don’t believe in winning a crown and banner and just putting it on a shelf,” Perkins said.
Some organizations and charities Perkins is already active in include Relay for Life, Shoeboxes for Soldiers, Batson Children’s Hospital, the Mississippi Junior High School Rodeo and the Pearl River County Rodeo Queens.
Perkins said she is also an advocate for adoption, being adopted at birth herself, and often volunteers in the community to spread that message.
With her record of volunteer work, her philosophy of life, her talents and her overall score, Perkins was crowned Ms. Mississippi Senior America 2017 by the 2016 recipient Trina Shelton, also of Picayune.
The pageant was held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Picayune.
“Dreams do come true,” Perkins said.
Information from: Picayune Item, https://www.picayuneitem.com
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