Vivian O’NealMiss Warren County
Hometown: Hattiesburg, MS
Platform: Flex Your Muscles for MDA
What college did you attend, or are currently attending? The University of Southern Mississippi
What is your major? Public Relations
What is your scholastic ambition? To obtain a bachelor of arts’ degree in Public Relations followed by a masters degree in Communication Studies.
List scholastic honors: Dean’s List and Luckyday Scholar at the University of Southern Mississippi, recipient of the Honors Scholar Award, Mississippi Scholar Award, Award of Excellence for English, all A honor roll, graduated high school with high honors as number 11 out of 127 students.
Greatest non-academic accomplishment:
Helping to raise over $175,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association
What is your favorite style of music?
My Spotify playlists range anywhere from Rick Springfield and Madonna to Sam Smith!
What is your favorite movie genre and why?
I love a good “RomCom”! I like how romantic comedies are able to execute a romantic storyline without being too cheesy and giving me a good laugh at the same time.
What is your favorite gadget?
My favorite gadget is my iPhone. With all that I am involved in, the convenience of constant connection and updates through my smartphone definitely keeps me organized and on top of my busy schedule.
What is your favorite blog?
I follow several blogs that are beauty and lifestyle oriented. I love reading tips from successful female entrepreneurs or trying out their different recipes and make-up looks!
What is your favorite place to visit?
Disney World! My family was fortunate enough to win a trip there through Kidd’s Kids; an organization that provides special needs families with the opportunity to take the trip of a lifetime free of expense!
What is your favorite food?
I love breakfast food, but my absolute favorites are the blueberry pancakes from Cracker Barrel.
If you were on a deserted island, what book would you want with you?
In order to stay sane during a challenging experience such as this, I would definitely need my Bible.
Do you twitter?
What is your favorite?
Sports Team: Southern Miss Golden Eagles!
Actor: Eddy Redmayne
Actress: Audrey Hepburn
Television Program: Gilmore Girls-I definitely relate to Lorelei’s coffee addiction!
Wardrobe Accessory: My Miss America crown ring and Kendra Scott necklace; they both go with everything!
Thing to do on a weekend: During football season, I’m dancing on the field and cheering on my Eagles as a Dixie Darling, but otherwise, I am spending time with family and friends.
Way to spend a day off: Probably catching up on sleep, reading, or coffee dates with friends.
What is your hometown like?
Although it is not a huge city, Hattiesburg is home to two universities, two major hospitals, and is known as “The Hub City” because of its convenient location. My favorite part of my hometown is its thriving downtown-it really promotes community by providing diverse cultural experiences. Whether it’s Sunday Jazz Brunch at T-Bones or the local farmer’s market, there’s always something going on in the Burg!
What were you like when you were a child?
I was very silly and outgoing; always entertaining my family by singing and dancing! I said exactly what was on my mind but my most famous childhood line was when I told my mom that “I just love sparkly, shiny, fancy thangs!” So, not much has changed.
Who is the most influential person in your life?
As cliché as it may sound, my mother has definitely played a huge role in influencing who I am today. As a matter of fact, we always joke about how the older I get, the more like her I become! My mother is an incredibly beautiful, strong, intelligent woman with a servant’s heart for Christ. She’s basically Super Woman, I don’t know how she does it all, and with such grace. I take being like her as a HUGE compliment!
What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize?
I usually stay very busy, so I tend to maintain a serious, focused demeanor most of the time and that can come off to others that I am angry, which is very seldom! I’m very approachable and easy to talk to!
Describe one defining moment in your own life, other than winning your local title:
While I did not realize it at the time, the birth of my little brother Josiah in 2005 has by far been one of the most defining moments of my life. He is a living miracle (and quite the genius!) that has changed my heart, my mindset, and not only my life, but the lives of everyone who has the privilege of meeting him.
What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss America Program?
The Miss America Organization embodies the principles of scholastic achievement, female empowerment, and service. I have learned that with this organization I have a louder voice to share my heart and my platform with others that I would not have otherwise. I have learned so many things about myself, and how special the lifelong friendships I have formed through this program are.
If you are crowned Miss Mississippi, what do you want to accomplish during your Year of Service?
One of the most important as well as exciting parts of my year of service would be the opportunity to serve as a state ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network and visiting all the children at Batson Children’s Hospital. I would also continue my work with my platform, #FlexYourMuscles and work closely with the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Mississippi and the families that are affected.
What is your secret wish or dream?
I have always wanted to dance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as a Rockette, as well as play the role of Christine from Phantom of the Opera on Broadway!
I’m motivated by:
Myself. My parents raised me to be independent and hard-working which has made me very goal-oriented. Setting specific goals motivates me to work hard to accomplish them.
Is there a personal connection that made you pick your personal platform?
Yes, my little brother Josiah was born with a rare Neuromuscular disease called Nemaline Myopathy. Josiah receives services through the Muscular Dystrophy Association and is currently serving as the MDA Goodwill Ambassador for the state of Mississippi, so my family and I have been heavily involved with the Muscular Dystrophy Association for many years.
What do you think has been the most significant event in your lifetime?
I think the growth of technology and use of social media has been one of the most significant things in the lives of those growing up in my generation, and will affect my career greatly. Not only does social media provide a creative outlet that allows individuals to express and brand themselves, but it is a huge platform for PR in businesses and other major corporations.
The one thing I can’t live without:
Coffee and people (preferably in that order, mornings and I have a love-hate relationship).
My best friend would describe me as:
“Someone with a servant’s heart, goal-oriented and strong, but with a goofy side.”
Something interesting about my family:
We’re 40% Irish and our ancestors were Irish royalty.
Funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me:
My family was having a get together and we were all on the back porch. I hurried towards the door to go get something from inside and ran right into the screen door. They still tease me about it today.
One thing I’d like to try that is out of character for me:
I am usually not an adventurous person or dare devil, but my uncle who is in the military said jokingly that he could arrange something where I could skydive with him, but I actually think it would be really fun!
Do you have any pets? If so, what kind and tell us their names:
I do, I have a Chow mix named Cooper. He has the sweetest little face and is always happy to see me!