Brianna Mason has been named and crowned as the new Miss Tennessee 2019. The Miss Tennessee Scholarship Competition was held for the first time in Knoxville at the University of Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday.
Ms Mason's mother, Tiffany Morton Mason, is a 1989 graduate of Tyner High School. Her grandparents, Roderick and Eva Jeanette Morton, still reside in Chattanooga along her many relatives from the Ghidden and Morton families.
Ms. Mason was a preliminary talent and on-stage question winner as well as the overall interview winner. The Miss Tennessee Pageant was first held in 1938.
Ms. Mason made history as the first African-American to win the title and by being crowned and welcomed into the sisterhood by Kellye Cash Sheppard - Miss Tennessee 1986 and Tennessee’s only Miss America 1987. In addition, Jeni Stephens - Miss Tennessee 1996, Lanna Keck Smith - Miss Tennessee 1997, Beth Hood Fromm - Miss Tennessee 2000, and Caty Davis - Miss Tennessee 2017, participated in the crowning ceremony.
She received $17,000 in total scholarships and will spend the year promoting her social impact initiative of Advocates for Autism, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that she founded. She will be an ambassador for all five of Tennessee’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and promote literacy to students all across Tennessee during her year of service.
Ms. Mason is a native of Nashville and a 2013 gradate of Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, Tn. She is University of Tennessee-Knoxville alumnus having received a B.A. Degree in Psychology in 2017 and a Masters of Science in Elementary Education in 2018. She is a first grade teacher at Hobgood Elementary School in Murfreesboro, Tn.
Ms. Mason will represent Tennessee at the Miss America Competition which will be telecast on NBC in the coming months.
The Miss America Organization will soon celebrate their 100th year anniversary. The Miss America Organization was established in 1921 and continues to be largest provider of scholarships for young women in the United States.
The remainder of the Top 5 finalist at this year’s competition were:
1st runner up Lauren Dickson - Miss Lexington
2nd runner up Savannah Maddison - Miss Middle Tennessee
3rd runner up Abbie Bayless - Miss West Tennessee
4th runner up Tally Bevis - Miss Music Row
The Miss Tennessee Scholarship Competition is under new leadership. The Miss America license is now held by Joe Albright who serves the chief executive officer for the newly formed organization. Eddie Smith will serve as the foundation chair. Lanna Keck Smith, Miss Tennessee 1997, is the new executive director and Caty Davis, Miss Tennessee 2017, is the co-executive director for the program.
The organization announced that in their first year hosting the competition a total of nearly $80,000 in scholarship money was awarded to all 27 candidates. In addition to her cash scholarship award, the new Miss Tennessee will receive a car from Rusty Wallace Nissan of Knoxville for her year of service.