Signature Q&A: Mary Margaret Hyer

MARY MARGARET HYER is a native of Hattiesburg and is a cum laude graduate of the University of Mississippi. She is a 2014 graduate of Oak Grove High School, where she was a member of the Hall of Fame. She represented the Pine Belt as Lamar County’s Distinguished Young Woman of 2014 and now represents the state as Miss Mississippi 2019. She was an employee of Phi Mu fraternity from 2018-2019 where she served as a chapter consultant. After her year as Miss Mississippi, she plans to attend law school at Ole Miss to pursue a career as an attorney. She will compete at the Miss America competition on December 19.

What is your idea of happiness?
The way I feel right now! Being constantly on the move, feeling fulfilled by the work I’m doing, being surrounded by people who love me and lift me up, and being grateful for every day.
What is your greatest fear? 
Not performing to my full potential in every area of my life.   
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? 
Procrastination. I do my best work under pressure, but my biggest goal of my twenties is to be more proactive with my work instead of pushing deadlines like I tend to do sometimes.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? 
Closed mindedness. Life is just better when you strive to be considerate of other people’s feelings and perspectives.
What is your most prized possession? 
Currently, my Miss Mississippi crown and sash! Only 95 other women in this world own those two things too.
Which talent would you most like to have? 
I wish I had learned to play the violin! If only to be able to tear up the fiddle solos in “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
What do you most value in your friends?  
My friends and I all live very different and very busy lifestyles, but I value our abilities to go months without seeing each other and then pick up right where we left off in our friendships when we finally get time to visit together.

What is your idea of misery?
 60-second All Outs on the treadmill at OrangeTheory Fitness here in Hattiesburg, where I exercise almost every day. I throw a party in my head when that part of the workout ends!

Who is your favorite fictional hero? 
Elle Woods. Not exactly a “hero” character, but she’s my hero!

What was the worst day of your life?
The day my grandmother Bobbie McCollum, who inspired my advocacy work with organ/tissue donation, passed away in 2014.

What is your favorite quality in a woman? 
The ability to champion other women in their successes.
What was the happiest day of your life?
June 22, 2019: The day I was crowned Miss Mississippi! It’s going to take a lot to ever top that day.

What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?  
While I am very organized in my professional and public life, my bedroom is a constant state of disaster. Sorry, Mom!

Who are your favorite authors?  
Margaret Mitchell, Liane Moriarty and John Grisham.

What do you hate the most? 
When it’s a Sunday and I’m craving Chick Fil A. I think everyone can relate!
 How would you like to die?
 In a way that allows my organs to be recovered and donated to someone who needs them more than me.

Who are your heroes in real life? 
My parents.

What is your present state of mind?  
Grateful, fulfilled, humbled, but still striving to prove myself worthy every single day.

What is your favorite quality in a man?

Other than the Pine Belt, where is your favorite place to be?
Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, especially when the Rebels are winning!
What is your greatest regret?  
I have no regrets! Every mistake I’ve made has taught me something about myself and gotten me to where I am today.

If you could have dinner with anyone - dead or alive - who would it be? 
 The four Miss Mississippis that went on to become Miss America: Mary Ann Mobley, Lynda Lee Mead, Cheryl Prewitt, and Susan Akin. I plan to follow in their footsteps and would love some advice!
What words would people use to describe you? 
Strong-willed (goals), laidback (lifestyle), and compassionate. 
What is your motto?  
“Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than you are to your comfort zone.”
What would you eat for your last meal?
Cotton Blue’s thin-fried catfish (with ketchup, not tartar sauce) with their French fries. And a piece of their mango habanero cheesecake as dessert!