Holly Harrington

Miss Dixie

Hometown:       Tupelo, MS

Platform:          Page to Stage

Talent:              Vocal

What college did you attend, or are currently attending? I am a graduate of Samford University and currently attend graduate school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

What is your major?  Master of Arts in Music Education

What is your scholastic ambition?  I plan to continue my education by completing my Master’s degree in Music Education and earn aPh.D in Music

List scholastic honors: Presidents List; Deans List; Phi Theta Kappa; Elvis Presley Music Scholarship; Communication Arts Speech Award; Samford University School of the Arts/Academic Scholarship

Greatest non-academic accomplishment: Last year I was selected as the first runner up in the finals of the National Opera Association’s Collegiate Opera Scenes competition.

 What is your favorite style of music?  I listen to almost every style of music.  I love everything from pop rock to classical, bluegrass to hip-hop, R&B to musical theatre, and indie to soul.  My tastes are very eclectic; I think that’s what makes me a true music lover.

What is your favorite movie genre and why? I love classic movie musicals!  I could watch hours of Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, Julie Andrews, and Shirley Jones in their iconic film roles.

What is your favorite gadget?  As much as I wish I could detach from it more often, my cell phone is my favorite and most useful gadget.  It allows me to keep in touch with friends and family and stay on top of news and events going on around me.

What is your favorite blog?  I consider myself an avid theatre lover, and I love to stay up to date with the New York theatre scene through reading broadwaymusicalblog.com.  It posts reviews for new productions, lists audition opportunities, and interviews current theatre stars.

What is your favorite place to visit?  Without a doubt, New York City!  I could see two shows a day, seven days a week, if that were possible. For me, there’s nothing quite like the “Great White Way”!

What is your favorite food?  Chocolate.  No matter the form, nothing can quite beat it!

If you were on a deserted island, what book would you want with you? I would need a survival guide to help me get off the deserted island as fast as possible!

Do you twitter?  I do!  Follow me @hc_harrington

What is your favorite?

Sport:   Tennis                           Sports Team:  Ole Miss Rebels

Actor:   Leonardo DiCaprio        Actress: Audrey Hepburn

Television Program: Grey’s Anatomy

Wardrobe Accessory: SHOES!

Thing to do on a weekend: Shopping, reading, exploring new places

Way to spend a day off: Attending a concert or theatrical performance and relaxing with friends

What is your hometown like? Tupelo is a small city that is now booming with new retail and industrial development. It boasts the title of “All American City” and the birthplace of Elvis, “the King.”  For me, Tupelo still feels like a big family, since people call me by name, ask about my family, and support all my endeavors.

What were you like when you were a child?  I’m told that I was a grown-up in a little person’s body and I always enjoyed putting on a show.  I was in my element when I was entertaining someone and Ioved to be on stage.  Some things never change!

Who is the most influential person in your life?  My mom is now and has always been the most influential person in my life. She’s taught me to live a life of purpose and influence and she’s an example of a woman of character and integrity.

What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? I love a good adventure!  Traveling, exploring new places, and meeting new people is always so exciting.

Describe one defining moment in your own life, other than winning your local title.  By far, one of the most defining moments in my life thus far was the birth of my brother, Hogan, in 1998. No one ever loved a brother more than I love Hogan; he’s my most treasured relationship and my best friend. Whoever wants to marry him has to go through me first!

What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss America Program? The Miss America Organization is rooted in the principles of scholastic achievement and female empowerment, and I have found that the Miss America Organization has given me an outlet and a platform to speak out for those that have no voice.  When serving as an instructor for the “Better Basics” afterschool program, I was first exposed to the lack of fine arts programs in local public schools.  On a bi-weekly basis, I taught students that had so little, yet something as simple as a song or dance brought them so much joy. By being involved in this organization, I have been able to share this story, along with so many others that help shed light on the need for fine arts in the classroom.

If you are crowned Miss Mississippi, what do you want to accomplish during your Year of Service? As Miss Mississippi, I want to promote the importance of the Miss America Organization and the impact it has on our state.  My goal is to inspire Mississippians to dream big and find ways to serve within their communities.  I hope to make a difference in our state and continue spreading hope and encouragement for children as I work to help every child find their voice.

What is your secret wish or dream?  Maybe it’s not such a secret, but I would love to become the 60th Miss Mississippi.  I believe I have what it takes to serve our state well and bring home the 5th Miss America crown.

I’m motivated by:  Myself. I was taught that one’s confidence comes from being sure of your purpose.  I am sure that I was put on this earth to be an extraordinary example of loving others, which for me personally, is exemplified by Christ’s love.  That assurance is what motivates me to be my best every day.

Is there a personal connection that made you pick your personal platform?  Page to Stage is a program that was inspired by experiences I have had as a fine arts participant and instructor.  As an afterschool teacher for the U.S. Department of Education’s “Better Basics” program, I worked with Kindergarten-2nd grade students biweekly at a low-income public school.  I took this position without knowing the true demographic of the area and the backgrounds of the students I would be working with.  I quickly learned that this school and no other school in the entire district offered a music or art class to any student in Kindergarten-8th grades.  These students had no idea what it meant to sing in a choir, play a musical instrument, or keep a steady beat.  My students were below the poverty line, underfed, under-dressed, and starved for attention.  I was hired to teach a drama class that used drama games to help reinforce early literacy skills, but what I soon learned was the need for the introduction of all the fine arts in these children’s lives.  A familiar song and dance gave these children confidence, promoted teamwork, enriched vocabulary, and expounded their cultural horizons.  Being in this position opened my eyes to the need we have in Mississippi for fine arts integration in all our public schools.  Thus, Page to Stage was born.

What do you think has been the most significant event in your lifetime?  I’ve grown up with the technology explosion. I think technology will continue to be a huge influence in my life and I’ll need to be comfortable using new technologies to benefit my career and my personal life.

The one thing I can’t live without: My voice. Whoever I am and whatever I feel, I express through my singing.

My best friend would describe me as: Bold. I am pretty fearless, and I try to meet every challenge with the confidence and tenacity it takes to succeed.

Something interesting about my family:  My family is fairly musical.  I sing, my brother plays guitar, my dad plays the bass and drums, and my mom plays the piano.  We have a sort of family band.  When we’re together we play through our favorites, tackling a range of music from pop hits to hymns and show tunes to Christmas carols.

Funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me: I was around six and I was shopping with my mother and grandmother, and touching everything I admired.  I was stroking the back of a store mannequin and saying, “Isn’t it beautiful.” It turned out that I was actually stroking the behind of a store clerk, who gave me a shocked look when she saw a six-year old girl admiring her behind! Needless to say, I never touch mannequins today.

One thing I’d like to try that is out of character for me: I would really love to bungee jump. It has always looked like a huge thrill but, so far, I haven’t had both the opportunity and the nerve on the same day.  It’s definitely on my bucket list!

Do you have any pets? If so, what kind and tell us their names. Sandy is my nine year-old toy poodle, by far the favorite child, and quite spoiled!