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uac051414001.gif On Thursday, May 22, Mayor Robertson and the Fayetteville City Council will host a reception for Miss North Carolina U.S.A., Olivia Olvera as she prepares to compete in the 63rd Miss U.S.A. Pageant on June 8 in Baton Rouge, La. A strong community advocate and selfless volunteer, Olvera hopes to continue to make a difference in whatever capacity she can.

Olvera’s journey to winning the Miss North Carolina, U.S.A. title was unconventional to say the least. A self-described tomboy, Olvera is a South View High School graduate, an Army brat and the former Operations Manager at Bell’s Seed Store. She never considered herself the glamorous type but a $100 bet with her mom changed that. “My mom bet me $100 that if I entered a pageant at school I would win,” said Olvera. “I didn’t believe her, but I took the bet … and I won. It was fun.”

After high school, Olvera attended Methodist University for a year before moving to South Carolina to attend the University of South Carolina. She didn’t expect to be entering any more pageants at this point. “I went to USC and some of my girlfriends were entering pageants, but I didn’t think much about it,” said Olvera. “But then I got stopped in Belk and was asked to compete for Miss South Carolina. I laughed. The person who stopped me was the (pageant) director and owner of four states. I said ‘yes’ and ended up in the top five for three out of four pageants.”

According to her webpage, Olvera held the Miss Sun Fun 2011 title and won third-runner-up at Miss South Carolina U.S.A. 2011. The following year, she won the Miss Charleston U.S.A. 2012 title and claimed first-runner-up at Miss South Carolina U.S.A. 2012. Before moving back to North Carolina, Olvera competed one more time at the Miss South Carolina USA pageant as Miss Summerville USA and was again named third-runner-up. She was crowned Miss North Carolina USA 2014 on November 9, in High Point, N.C.

While the pageant scene is rigorous, the hard work really begins after the winner is crowned. As Miss North Carolina U.S.A., Olvera has the freedom to make the most of her time in the position. She spends countless hours volunteering all over the state. “My agenda is not about fame or having a modeling career,” said Olvera. “My agenda is to help small businesses, promote charity organizations and events in the state and to be a voice for those with no voice.”

Mayor Nat Robertson sees Olvera’s reign as a boon to the greater Fayetteville area and another thing for people to appreciate about the community. “I think Olivia is just one example of the many beautiful things that Fayetteville has to offer,” said Robertson. “She does a great job representing our city and she is a wonderful person, as well. This is especially good for Fayetteville to be so well represented on a national level.”

During her reign, Olvera chose to spend a lot of her time in support of wounded warriors and children’s05-14-14-miss-nc.gif literacy. One of the causes she partners with is Helping a Hero, an organization that builds specially adapted homes for severely injured military personnel and their families. Helping a Hero adapts these homes for the specific injuries and challenges of wounded heroes. Locally, McKee Homes is building such a home for a wounded warrior. The home will be in Legacy Lakes in Aberdeen.

As the daughter of a soldier, Olvera understands the hardships that come with military service. She knows first hand the effects of the long separations that military families endure and feels a connection to the wounded warrior cause. “My dad is retired now and recently we went on a fishing trip. I was excited to spend some time with him. He was gone a lot when I was younger and this seemed like the perfect way to reconnect,” said Olvera. “At some point he asked me to grab a drink for him and so I went to get it and I grabbed a Coke. Then my brother said, ‘No. He likes Dr. Pepper.’ That really hit home. That’s my dad and I didn’t even know what he likes to drink.”

Olvera said her dad has been supportive of her reign as Miss North Carolina U.S.A. “Once dad said ‘do it,’ there was no way I couldn’t run,” said Olvera.

At the pageant on June 8, if Olvera wins the crown, she will have just ten minutes to say goodbye to her friends and family and then will be whisked away to start her new life in New York. The newly crowned Miss U.S.A. will spend her time raising awareness for breast and ovarian cancer and supporting the U.S.O. and Best Buddies, a nonprofit organization that is “dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

The Miss U.S.A. Pageant airs live on NBC at 8 p.m. The reception for Olvera is set for 3:30-5 p.m. at City Hall. The public is invited to attend. Find out more about Miss North Carolina U.S.A. at http://www.missnorthcarolinausa.com.

Photo: Olivia Olvera, Miss North Carolina U.S.A. and Fayetteville native is set to compete in the Miss U.S.A. tournament on June 8 in Baton Rouge, LA.

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