Holly Brand

Miss Belle of the Bayou

Hometown: Meridian             

Platform:      Bridging the Gap Between the Police and the Policed 

Talent:           Vocal          

What college did you attend, or are currently attending?  The University of Alabama

What is your major?  Communication Studies

What is your scholastic ambition?  I hope to graduate with honors in the Spring of 2021 with a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Alabama.

List scholastic honors:Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Alpha Lamda Delta Honor Society, Golden Key International Honor Society, Sigma Alpha Lamda National Leadership and Honors Organization, Dean’s List at the University of Alabama.

Greatest non-academic accomplishment:Becoming Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen and a Teens in Action Finalist at Miss America’s Outstanding Teen.

What is your favorite style of music?  I love Contemporary Christian music.

What is your favorite movie genre and why?  I love horror movies! Even if I need to sleep with a nightlight, I am always down for a good scary film.

What is your favorite gadget?  I use my iPad frequently to read music and learn new songs. 

What is your favorite blog?         Me Too, Sister.

What is your favorite place to visit?  Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is my ideal vacation getaway.

What is your favorite food?           I love anything Italian, specifically stuffed pasta shells.

If you were on a deserted island, what book would you want with you?  As cliché as it sounds, I would bring my Bible with pictures of my family stuffed between the pages.

Do you twitter?  No, but I am an Instagram pro!

What is your favorite?

Sport:Football or Baseball                                               Sports Team:  Alabama

Actor:Theo James                                                           Actress:   Jennifer Lawrence

Television Program:Chrisley Knows Best

Wardrobe Accessory:  Fuzzy Socks

Thing to do on a weekend:  I enjoy spending time with my friends and family on Saturday and playing the ukulele in my church’s worship team on Sunday.

Way to spend a day off:  On a day off, I like to snuggle up in my favorite blanket while reading a good book.

 What is your hometown like?  Meridian is a small city with an appreciation for the performing arts. We are home to the MSU Riley Center (a renovated Grand Opera House from the 1800s), the Temple Theatre (built in the 1920s), and the recently built MAEX, Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience. I’m proud to be a Meridianite!

What were you like when you were a child?  As a child, I was always singing, as my obsession with music began at a very early age. My mom said I could sing before I could talk, and I remember waking my parents up early on Saturday mornings playing a tune on the piano.

Who is the most influential person in your life?      I am the proud sister of a United States Marine. My brother has taught me the importance of sacrifice and selflessness, and I hope to emulate his courage and commitment to service.

What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize?

I am an avid outdoorsman! I enjoy long hikes in the woods, tubing on the river, and relaxing by the campfire.

Describe one defining moment in your own life, other than winning your local title:

When I was ten years old, I had the opportunity to open for Blake Shelton in concert in my hometown. It was in that magical moment on stage that I realized I wanted to sing for the rest of my life.

What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss America Program?

My voice matters. Your voice matters. The impact that one person can have on her community is limitless.

If you are crowned Miss Mississippi, what do you want to accomplish during your Year of Service?

During my year of service, I would give back to the state and organization that has given so much to me. Of course, I would encourage young women and girls to participate in this organization, and I would set up community events to foster communications between our police and citizens in all 82 counties of this great state.

What is your secret wish or dream?  I would like to star as the lead in a musical or ride with the storm chasers!

I’m motivated by:My parents instilled a strong work ethic in my brother and me from a very young age. Their example motivates me to be the best that I can be.

Is there a personal connection that made you pick your personal platform?

I started donating stuffed animals to law enforcement officers for give to children during emergency situations when I was seven. After spending eleven years working with law enforcement and donating approximately 8,000 stuffed animals, I knew I wanted to build upon that foundation for my social impact initiative.

What do you think has been the most significant event in your lifetime?

When speaking to students at an elementary school about donating teddy bears to State Troopers, I met a little boy who had lost his brother in a car accident. He received a stuffed animal from a law enforcement officer and shared with me how comforted he was. I have carried his story with me, and it reminds that, no matter what project I am involved in, there is a real person out there whose life can be impacted.

The one thing I can’t live without:         I cannot live without music.

My best friend would describe me as:   Funny (or punny), authentic, and consistent.

Something interesting about my family:  Everyone in my family can play at least one musical instrument, and I play several. Most of our family reunions include gathering in the living room making music.

Funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me:  When I was younger, I was asked to entertain at a beauty review, and I chose to sing one of my favorite songs, “Amazing Grace.” For weeks, my mom insisted I practice, but I thought I was prepared. When I went on stage to sing, my mind went completely blank after the first verse. I was so embarrassed when the audience began singing with me!

One thing I’d like to try that is out of character for me:  I would love to try surfing, even though I rarely go far from the shore.

Do you have any pets? If so, what kind and tell us their names:  I have three pets: Barlie (white lab), Dixie (red boston terrier), and Sox (calico cat).