A Mount Airy woman has been named Mrs. National U.S. in a pageant that includes community involvement as part of its judging criteria.
Jessica Cockerham recently became one of five winners of competition by the Miss National U.S. Pageant based in Milwaukee. It is a pageant scholarship organization stressing integrity, with a mission and focus of building confidence, poise and valuable lifelong skills in ladies ages 13 and older.
While Cockerham, who is in her mid-30s, is the Mrs. National U.S. designee, other queens selected were Miss National U.S. Junior Teen, Miss National U.S. Teen, Miss National U.S. and Ms. National U.S. They hail from various areas of the country.
The local woman’s pageant category included married contestants who are 25 and older.
Ironically, Cockerham’s accomplishment is coming on the heels of another local woman, Jennifer Johnson-Brown of Mount Airy, then 40, becoming a national pageant winner in 2022.
“Jennifer and I have been friends for 15 years,” said Cockerham who works as a barber.
“So when she won I entered the pageant just as a joke,” added the local mom, a longtime volunteer for Boy Scouts of America in this area.
After winning Mrs. N.C. honors, Cockerham advanced from state-level competition to secure the national title.
Officials of the pageant, which has existed about 10 years, advised that it was rare for two national winners to come from the same state, much less the same small community in the Blue Ridge Mountains region, an unprecedented development.
Cockerham’s achievement also was unique in another way.
“I won with perfect scores,” she said of the judging criteria involved. It included formal wear modeling, personal introduction, interview, resume and community service.
The interview portion consisted of a five-minute one-on-one question-and-answer session described as having a “talk show-style” format, which was recorded as part of the judging process.
“Since COVID, it has all been virtual,” Cockerham said of the interview segment conducted via the Zoom platform.
The Mount Airy contestant admitted that she was a little worried about this portion of the competition due to having purple hair — indicating that such a fashion choice doesn’t always go over well.
However, she breezed through that segment and also impressed the judges with the community service involvement portion of the pageant criteria.
Cockerham relied on her work in leadership roles with local Cub and Boy Scout groups as her project. One of her present efforts involves raising funds to take the scouts on a trip to Washington, D.C.
Her selection as Mrs. National US included receiving a custom crystal crown and banner, a cash prize and a national queens’ photo shoot in Chicago.
Cockerham was planning to go there later this month.
The prize package further includes a personalized social media page to promote her title, among other listed amenities.