Liberty University grad is crowned Miss Virginia 2021

Independent News Network (INN)
Miss Central Virginia Tatum ShepherdCredit: the Roanoke Times

new Miss Virginia was crowned late Saturday night in Roanoke, two years after the last pageant was held.

At the close of the three-day Berglund Center event, Tatum Sheppard, Miss Central Virginia, was awarded the title, bestowed by Miss Virginia 2019-2020 Dot Kelly.

Sheppard, 22, is a native of Milan, Tennessee, who graduated from Liberty University last year with a degree in musical theater. During the talent portion of the show, she sang “All That Matters” from the musical “Finding Neverland,” and her social impact initiative in the competition was Mentoring Matters.

Her victory scores her a $20,000 scholarship and the chance to compete for the title of Miss America in Connecticut, currently scheduled for December.

Sheppard is no stranger to pageant titles — her mother, Kellye Cash, was named Miss America in 1987.

Additional Miss Virginia finalists on Saturday included:

First Runner Up: Sarah Robinson, Miss Arlington, who won a $7,000 scholarship.

Second Runner Up: Breana Turner, Miss Greater Charlottesville, with a $5,000 scholarship.

Third Runner Up: Madeline Jarvis, Miss Shenandoah Valley, with a $4,000 scholarship.

Fourth Runner Up: Dominga Murray, Miss Roanoke Valley, with a $3,000 scholarship.

Saturday’s event was also notable for several reasons, primarily because it arrived two years after the last pageant; the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancelation of the Miss Virginia and Miss America events in 2020.

It was also the first Miss Virginia event held in Roanoke since 2017. Although the Star City was home to the pageant for more than 60 years, it relocated to Lynchburg in 2018 and 2019.

Camille Schrier was named Miss Virginia in 2019, and later that year was crowned Miss America, a title she has held ever since. In the wake of Schrier’s national win, first runner up Dot Kelly ascended to serve as Miss Virginia.

Earlier in the pageant, on Friday, Ella Strickland of Warrenton was crowned Miss Virginia’s Outstanding Teen 2021. She is a graduate of Kettle Run High School and plans to attend Hollins University. She also won the talent award with a musical theater performance, for a $500 prize, and her social initiative is Type 1 diabetes research and support.

Strickland’s win earns her a $5,000 scholarship and a shot at being named Miss America’s Outstanding Teen later this year.

The other teen finalists Friday included:

First Runner Up: Ayana Johnson, from Piedmont, who won a $1,000 scholarship.

Second Runner Up: Haley Day, of Lynchburg, with a $750 scholarship.

Third Runner Up: Jordan Welker, from the Roanoke Valley, with a $500 scholarship.

Fourth Runner Up: Adrianna Myles, of Mountain Laurel, with a $250 scholarship.

Additional results and details about the pageant can be found online at

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