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pageantry interview ● olivia jordan A Star in the Making PHOTO BY FADIL BERISHA Miss USA Olivia Jordan is full of unparalleled ambition, from her desire to help children to becoming the next Meryl Streep T he universe has a funny way of connecting people with similar attitudes and even destinies. At least that’s how it feels when a young, ambitious woman like Olivia Jordan finds herself face-to- face with an acting legend like Meryl Streep on the red carpet. It’s not just a situation of an aspiring actress meeting an idol either, because the reigning Miss USA ap- preciates and even emulates everything that the 66-year-old Oscar-winning actress has accomplished in her incredible career. It’s just as much about the social awareness and de- sire to help that it is about the aspiration to star in Holly- wood blockbusters or a sitcom as successful as Friends. We can’t predict where we’ll be ten or even five years from now, but we can sometimes tell when a person will achieve everything she has her heart set on. That’s the kind of feeling we get with Miss USA Olivia Jordan, not just be- cause she has the right windows of opportunity wide open, but also because she’s willing to work as hard as she can to achieve it. And when Olivia does achieve everything that she’s working toward, this world will be a better place for it. Pageantry magazine: Let’s just head back to Baton Rouge for a little bit. What memory still stands out the most? Olivia Jordan: There’s nothing that tops that final night. I had so much fun on stage. I was very focused on being in the moment, and that’s something that I’ve just been work- ing on in my life. And in that moment, I never felt more alive. Before I even won, as the night was going on, I just felt so confident and so comfortable. I knew that, ultimate- ly, you’re going to do the best that you can, and then it’s out of your control. I wanted to have the best night of my life, and I literally did even before I won. I was standing on that stage looking out when I was in the Top 5 and thought, “I couldn’t have done any better. This is amazing, and what an honor, and how unbelievable.” Then it worked out even better that I won, but it was just the time of my life. PM: Talk to us about the sisterhood of Miss USA dur- 82 PAGEANTRY ing that tumultuous week. OJ: All in all, it made it better that there was craziness going on behind-the-scenes. Because the girls, we couldn’t even focus on what was going to happen with the show, who our host was going to be, who the judges were going to be, who the talent was going to be. We had no idea, and everything was always changing and nothing was ever offi- cial. We just had a good time and we really bonded togeth- er. All the chaperones and so much of the staff said that we were the most connected year, and we all felt that. We had such a good time together. I made friends for life. PM: A lot of people know that we helped start the teenage pageant systems back in 1962 right down the block from the host venue in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. So it’s kind of a homecoming for us, yours as well. Looking forward, how has the transition to the new ownership of IMG been personally for you? OJ: It’s been incredible. It’s changing everything we do and how we do it and that’s a great thing. I think it’s nice to have a shake up with an organization that’s been through several owners over the 60 years that the Miss Universe Organiza- tion has existed. This is very exciting. Everyone has had great experiences with WME/IMG. I was lucky enough just last week to go to Los Angeles, and meet with some mem- bers of the WME team, and talk about how our relationship could progress moving forward. I’m an actress, model, and