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pageantry interview ● olivia mcmillan
Dream Olivia McMillan never thought
she’d wear the crown of Miss
America’s Outstanding Teen,
but her incredible self-conﬁ-
dence and maturity have made
her reign one to remember
I f Olivia McMillan can inspire young girls to do any-
thing, it should be to take more chances. At the age of
17, Olivia has already accomplished so much more
than anyone, regardless of age, and everything that
she has set up for her future is downright amazing.
While the MAOTeen winners are offered the unbelievable
opportunities to attend Auburn University or the Universi-
ty of Alabama on a full scholarship, in addition to the
scholarship money that they’ve earned along the way,
Olivia will be going in another direction. She has received
the prestigious Kovner Fellowship to attend The Juilliard
School of Music. As for the scholarship money, she’ll just
have to wait to use it for any grad school of her choosing.
However, had a friend not talked her into giving pag-
eants a try, Olivia would have never had the chance to make
an impact on so many lives as Miss America’s Outstanding
Teen. Sure, she would have probably still pursued her own
passions and been amazingly successful, but without
MAOTeen we may have had to wait a little longer to be in-
troduced to this spectacular young woman.
Pageantry magazine: Is the title of Miss America’s
Outstanding Teen still a dream or has it sunk in all
Olivia McMillan: I think it’s still a little bit of a dream be-
cause I go to high school throughout the week. And then
on weekends, I’ll be ﬂying out to different events in Wash-
ington, New York, and Philadelphia. So, it’s kind of like I’m
living this double life, honestly. I get to be Cinderella on the
weekends and then I get to go back to being a pumpkin on
PM: What has this year as Miss America’s Outstanding
Teen taught you about yourself?
OM: It’s taught me that I’m a lot more capable than I
thought. I have had the great honor and privilege of having
some pretty incredible parents who have always made sure
I’m where I need to be and have always taken care of me.
And because of that, I think in some ways I doubted my
own capabilities of taking care of myself. When you go on
the road as Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, although
you have a travel companion, you’re very independent. You
have to make sure that you’re on your ﬂight at the right
time and you have to make sure that you are where you
need to be. It has really taught me that as a graduating sen-
ior about to enter college life, I am fully capable of taking
care of myself and being responsible in the adult world.
PM: When we originally spoke after your crowning, we
discussed your self-perception as not really conforming
to the typical pageant queen. How do you feel now?
OM: I think that I’ve held true to that. I’ve tried to always
be myself in whatever I’ve done and wherever I’ve spoken.
For me, this year, I’ve tried a lot to show girls that the pag-
eant queens or titleholders are not perfect. So, when I’ve
done interviews where I’ve had to video myself or things
like that, I’ve made sure to go a little bit more natural on the
makeup and not look like this glammed up beauty queen.
Because I think girls today in this world of social media will
often look at titleholders and celebrities and think, “Wow,
they look so incredible.” But yet, I don’t look like that all
the time. That’s not what I look like when I get up in the
morning. So, I’ve tried to show those girls that it’s okay to