The Milwaukee Bucks have the title of NBA Champions . And now one of their employees has another big one: Miss Wisconsin USA 2022 .
Hollis Brown, a coordinator of partner strategy and management for the Bucks, was crowned the new Miss Wisconsin USA Sunday at the Madison Marriott West Conference Center.
"It felt amazing," Brown told the Journal Sentinel Tuesday in her first official interview after receiving her new title. "You prepare and you work so hard to figure out who you are as a person, how to present your best self over the last few months. To see everything and all of your hard work actually coming to fruition, it just absolutely meant the world to me."
Her pageant and professional journeys Brown participated — and won — her first pageant, the Miss Black and Gold Pageant for the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., as a sophomore at Virginia Tech, where she majored in marketing and minored in communications.
She was recruited to be a part of the competition, which included a talent portion, since she had 18 years of dance experience.
"It has honestly changed my life," the Savannah native said. "I just grew so much throughout that process."
After graduating in 2018, Brown would go on to become the 2019 Miss Black Virginia USA. She made it into the top five of the national pageant.
Brown later moved to Charlotte to work for ESPN Events and help with their collegiate basketball tournaments across the East Coast. During her time there, she made it into the top 10 in the Miss North Carolina USA pageant.
In May of 2021, Brown moved to Milwaukee to work for the Bucks as a sales associate. She was promoted to her current role — her "absolute dream job" — in November.
"This organization is like none that I've ever seen before," she said. "The people are absolutely amazing. And not only are they willing to pour into your professional development and goals, they also really care about what's important to you as a person."
The Miss Wisconsin USA competition The Miss Wisconsin USA competition was held over the weekend.
Brown's loved ones were able to be there in-person cheering her on. And her Bucks family made "Go Hollis" T-shirts for them, Brown said.
On Saturday, Brown took part in the interview portion of the competition, where she talked about her passions: Sexual assault awareness as a survivor and the podcast she co-hosts called "Outnumbered with Kelli and Hollis." It focuses on "breaking the barriers for women in male-dominated industries, specially sports, like myself," she said.
"Throughout this year, I've been able to build a very strong self-awareness of what I can bring to the organization and what difference that I really want to make in the community," she said. "To be able to connect and have that conversation with the judges is hands down my favorite part."
Also on Saturday was the preliminary round in which 28 contestants competed in swimwear and evening gown categories, she said.
Finals for the top 15 were held on Sunday and also featured swimwear and evening gown contests. The top five contestants then each faced an on-stage, on-the-spot interview question.
In true Bucks fashion, Brown came out victorious. Now hopefully her team has the same fate against the Boston Celtics this week.
How Brown plans to use her platform Brown plans to "make the most of this year" by using her new platform to continue spreading sexual assault awareness.
Brown works with the End Violence Against Women organization, helping share their "Start by Believing" campaign around Wisconsin.
Brown said she has given presentations to groups, such as Girls Inc. of Greater Madison, to educate people on how to initially react if someone shares that they've been sexually assaulted, what to say and how to help them.
"Your initial thought is to protect the person you love so much because it is such a traumatic experience," she said. "At the time, the survivor may not be open to protection or whatever you think may be best in that moment. You really have to listen to the victim."
In the past, Brown has also spoken at Pathfinders Milwaukee's "Night of Healing," which supports youth survivors and their supporters, and features speakers and healing activities.
At the event, she shed light on Denim Day — an annual international event in which people wear jeans to show support for sexual assault survivors and also send a message to stop victim-blaming — and shared her experience as both an advocate and survivor.
More: One in six men have been sexually abused or assaulted. Why more male survivors are sharing their stories in Milwaukee.
More: How this Milwaukee woman is helping others who've experienced sexual assault and domestic violence
To follow Brown's journey as Miss Wisconsin USA, visit instagram.com/misswiusa or misswisconsinusa.com .
Contact Hannah Kirby at [email protected] . Follow her on Twitter at @HannahHopeKirby .
Thank you for a great story! - https://www.jsonline.com/story/entertainment/2022/05/11/miss-wisconsin-usa-2022-hollis-brown-works-milwaukee-bucks/9720720002/
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