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pageantry interview ● olivia mcmillan Living Her 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 the way? 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 the weekday. 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 54 PAGEANTRY 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