NHS student wins national crown

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 4, 2010

NATCHEZ — When LaPetra Wilson traveled to Anaheim, Calif., to represent the state of Mississippi in National American Miss Cover Girl Contest’s pageant, she never imagined she’d take home the crown.

Wilson, the daughter of Bernadette Wilson, was named 2009-2010 National Cover Girl after participating in a week’s worth of activities, interviews and competitions from Nov. 23 to Dec. 1.

“I was very excited to win,” Wilson said. “It was a good experience for me to be the first person from Natchez to attend something like that.”

Academics, interview skills, poise, beauty and ticket sales are components involved in competing for the Cover Girl title.

Wilson, a junior at Natchez High School, was crowned Miss Mississippi Cover Girl in August 2009 and said the national competition required more from its contestants.

“It took a lot of time and patience and hard work,” Wilson said. “For the national pageant, we had to do casual wear, formal wear, interviewing and then there was the spokesmodel, talent and acting (categories).”

Wilson said her titles have made her more aware of her influence on young people.

“(The title) means a lot to me because now I feel that I have a lot of teenagers who think of me as a role model,” Wilson said.

“You have to watch what you do and say around other people because you don’t want them to say, ‘Well, she’s a Cover Girl, but she does this.’

“A Cover Girl has a good attitude, self respect and respect for others, courtesy and the ability to be kind to others,” Wilson said.

The message Wilson said she hopes to spread to young women of the Miss-Lou is one based on confidence.

“Just be yourself and follow your dreams because you can be anything you want to be,” Wilson said.

“My mom always told me that opportunities come seldom, and if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.”

While Wilson has many crowns to wear, she is just a normal teenage girl with a love of shopping, friends and community activities, she said.

She is looking forward to her senior year and her plans for the future.

“I really want to attend LSU,” Wilson said. “I think I want to major in social work. My mom said you can be anything with (a degree in) social work and try anything you want.”

Wilson said her mother is one of the major influences in her life.

“If it wasn’t for her, I don’t think I would have done the pageant.”

Wilson said in June she will travel to Meridian to pass along her crown to the next National American Miss Mississippi Cover Girl.