Gladden competes for Mrs. United States title

Reunion resident Whitney Gladden will compete for the title of Mrs. United States July 3-7 in Orlando. She was selected Mrs. Mississippi United States 2018 in March.

Her husband, Lee, had the idea before she did - he believed in her more than Whitney believed in herself. “ I am grateful for that, Whitney said, “I entered at the last minute and partnered with pageant coach and friend, Sandra Strain, to get ready quickly. It was a whirlwind for five weeks but I arrived in Oxford to compete feeling very prepared. There is more to pageantry than people realize; it’s much more than being able to walk in a pretty dress.

“Certainly fitness, poise and grace are components of it, but so is kindness, intelligence, wit and tact. When you sit down with the judges, you have a very short time to make a very good impression, so you must be ready, willing and able to think on your feet. I love a good challenge, and this event certainly qualified.

“I was so blessed and humbled to walk away with not only the Fitness Award, Best State Costume Award and Best Evening Gown Award (the only three awards given), but also the title of Mrs. Mississippi United States.”


Whitney plans to work with organizations state-wide bringing awareness to the childhood obesity epidemic, and provide education on its impact as well as ways to prevent it. She will partner with the Mississippi Children’s Museum for their Fit and Fun Event Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. on June 27. This short program will offer basic nutrition education. Children attending will be able to have hands on involvement, learning while they play.

“For anyone considering entering the Mrs. Mississippi United States pageant or any pageant at all, I would say go for it,” Whitney said. “Pageantry is not about crown-chasing, or it should not be. It is about personal development and being the best version of yourself, and I can say it has helped me in more ways than I can count. I would also say: don’t give up. I competed for Mrs. Mississippi America last year and was awarded first runner-up

“I truly thought this chapter was closed at that time and I would be on to other things. But when Lee began encouraging me to do it again, I did my homework on the different systems I could enter. Mrs. United States seemed overall to be a better fit for what I would like to represent: grace, service and charity. These three qualities are the center focus of the Mrs. United States System and I am honored to be one of their state titleholders.”


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1. He has been married for 21 years to his high school sweetheart. 2. He and his wife have four children.