Holly Brand

Miss Deep South
Hometown: Meridian, MS
Platform: Teddy Bears for Troopers
Talent: Vocal presentation
Hobbies: Singing, playing piano, traveling, boating
School: I am homeschooled for most of my classes, but I attend MCCL (Meridian Center for Classical Learning) two days per week
Scholastic Ambition: I plan to graduate from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee with a degree in music
Scholastic Honors: I attended West Lauderdale Elementary and Middle Schools from kindergarten through fifth grade, and I was a member of the Intellectually Gifted program. I also won the school science fair and placed 1st place at the state competition, and I was on the honor roll every grading period
What makes you special and unique? I am a girl who loves to get dressed up in heels, makeup, and dresses, but I also love to put on camouflage and boots and head to the deer stand with my dad. You might catch me hiking through the woods today, but on stage in a formal tomorrow
What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? Upon meeting me, people may not realize that I am fascinated with weather! If you catch me staring at my phone screen while wearing earphones, I’m most likely watching Storm Chasers
Best advice you have ever received? The best advice I’ve ever received is to pray about everything and trust in God’s plan for my life
What can’t you live without? I cannot live without music. Sitting at my piano is my favorite place to be
What is your biggest guilty pleasure? Without a doubt, Coca-Cola is my guilty pleasure. There’s nothing like an ice cold Coke on a hot summer day
What is your favorite movie genre and why? I absolutely love science fiction movies! I love to imagine what the world might be like in the future
Where do you see yourself in ten years? In ten years, I hope to be a college graduate living in Nashville pursuing a career in music
Most valuable lesson learned? Always write down your passwords! After 48 hours without my phone, followed by losing all of my data when it was restored, I have learned to never rely on my memory when it comes to passwords
Most valued role model (other than your mother) and why? My most valued role model is Bethany Hamilton, the surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack. Most people would have given up and never gone back into the water; however, Bethany was different. She kept surfing and never gave up, and she eventually became a professional surfer. Her testimony is an inspiration to me to never give up, no matter the odds
What motivates you? My parents have instilled in me a strong work ethic. They taught my brother and me to always do our best in whatever we attempt, and that message motivates me
Greatest non-academic accomplishment other than winning your local title? My greatest non-academic accomplishment occurred in 2013 when I advanced past the celebrity judges on to the Hollywood round of the television show, XFactor. Although my journey ended there, I was honored and humbled to be among the final 218 acts out of the tens of thousands who auditioned
Best compliment you have ever received? A little girl’s mother once told me that she hoped her daughter grew up to be just like me. I will never forget how special those words made me feel
Secret wish or dream? I would love to ride with the Storm Chasers and get to chase tornadoes
What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? My most embarrassing moment occurred onstage when I was singing. I was in the middle of “Amazing Grace”, a song I had known since I was very young, and I suddenly went blank and couldn’t remember the next line. Luckily, the audience was sympathetic and they started singing right where I left off
What is one thing you’d like to try that is out of character for you? I would love to try surfing, although I rarely get too far from the shore when I’m at the beach
What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss Mississippi Program? Through the Miss Mississippi organization, I have learned the value of setting long-term goals and working hard to achieve them
Describe yourself in one word. Authentic
Please write a short essay (2 or 3 paragraphs) describing yourself to the people viewing the website. Let people know who you really are. Keep in mind the questions you’ve already been asked and include other things that you would like people to know about you
I am Holly Brand! I am the daughter of Barry and Connie Brand, and I have an older brother named Hunter. I am a homeschooled student from Meridian whose passion is music. Most of my spare time is spent singing, playing a melody on my piano, or strumming a tune on my mandolin. I come from a family full of musicians, so our family reunions often revolve around people playing and singing for hours. When I’m not studying or singing and playing, you can find me in the outdoors! My family and I enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, and boating. Most of our summers are spent on the water, where we spend countless hours riding and tubing. My favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11. It reminds me that God has a plan for my life, even when things don’t go the way that I had hoped. I look forward to seeing all that my future holds and enjoying the blessings along the way
Please write a short essay (2 or 3 paragraphs) explaining your passion for your platform and your stance on the subject. Be sure to name your platform and give a brief explanation of its purpose as well
My platform is Teddy Bears for Troopers! I collect and donate stuffed animals for state troopers to give to children in emergency situations. I have collected these bears from a variety of sources, but most of my donations come from elementary school students. Typically, I go into classrooms and talk to the students about the importance of making a difference in the world, and I convey to them that they can make a difference for children through my platform. Once I’ve explained the project to them, we begin a two- week “teddy bear drive”. At the end of the drive, I return to the school and collect the stuffed animals before delivering them to the Mississippi Highway Patrol. 2015 is my ninth year of involvement with Teddy Bears for Troopers. As a small child, stuffed animals were my favorite toys, so when a friend in Texas introduced me to the idea of police officers using these toys to comfort children, I knew I wanted to get involved. First, I simply donated some of my own like new stuffed animals, but by the age of eight, I started my own “teddy bear drive” to collect donations. Since then, I have collected and donated thousands of stuffed animals for law enforcement agencies in Mississippi. I hope to present at least 1000 bears per year to the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Projects such as Teddy Bears for Troopers exist in other states, and some are operated by the troopers themselves. In Mississippi, no formal program exists, so it is up to volunteers to make sure that state troopers have stuffed animals on hand for these children. Hopefully, my platform will help raise awareness of the need for donations, and more people will become involved to help make a difference for Mississippi’s children