Belhaven Student Named Winner of America Miss Sweetheart Scholarship Pageant

olivia bonds

November 18, 2022 (Jackson, Miss.) - Belhaven University psychology major Olivia Bonds has been named America's Miss Sweetheart 2022-23. After winning America's Miss Sweetheart Scholarship Pageant, she was awarded up to $10,000 in prizes, travel, scholarships, and media opportunities.

Bonds, a Jackson, Mississippi native, will now serve as an ambassador for St. Jude's Children Research Hospital, American Heart Association, Special Olympics, Feeding America, Angel Tree, The Sweetheart Foundation, Beauty Empowering Change, and other charitable efforts.

She will have additional opportunities that include modeling contracts, numerous professional photoshoots, magazine covers, media interviews, and New York Fashion Week. She will also represent the United States at the next World's Miss Sweetheart competition next fall.

Pageants are more than just a beauty contest. “Pageantry is hard work,” observed Bonds, “It is indeed a girls' sport! So much preparation, time, and effort go into being a titleholder. And though looking the part is important, there is more than meets the eye.”

Judges are looking for students who can bring real social change to the world. Part of what propelled Bonds to victory was her Beauty Empowering Change Project, which consists of #TheConfidencetoInspire and The Family First Initiative. This project educates, advocates, and provides services for family mental health.

Bonds believes that family mental health should be a priority in America and that everything associated with life begins in the home. She observed, “Our values, ethics, morals, and mentality play a huge role in how we decide to live. Throughout the history of time, the family structure has been a crucial part of society. Today, we see many examples of the structure being torn down. If our family structures are not strong, then how can our nation be strong?”

She hopes that through the Beauty Empowering Change Project there will be healed families, less crimes, stronger communities, and a better foundation for the next generation across the nation and around the globe.

Bonds hopes to obtain her master's and doctorate in family and child psychology. She aspires to become an expressive arts therapist with her own successful practice in Mississippi.