A native of Chicago, Olivia Pura was crowned Miss Illinois USA on 1 September 2019 and represented Illinois at the Miss USA 2020 pageant in Memphis, Tennessee. Olivia is a PhD Candidate in the Committee of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at the University of Chicago.
Born and raised in Chicagoland, Olivia calls Deer Park home. She is the daughter of Derek and Anna Pura, the oldest sister to three siblings, and the mom to Bambi, a bernedoodle puppy. As a first-generation Polish-American, Olivia is honored to represent both Illinois and first-generation Americans everywhere.
No stranger to the Miss Universe Organization, Olivia previously held the title of Miss Illinois Teen USA 2016! She was proud to represent the state of Illinois at the Miss Teen USA 2016 pageant, where she placed in the Top 15. After a fulfilling year of service, new friendships, and travel, Olivia passed on the crown just two weeks before her first year at Northwestern University.
Today, Olivia is a senior at Northwestern, where she double-majors in Biochemistry and Slavic Languages & Literatures. Since freshman year, she has maintained Dean’s List status and worked as an undergraduate researcher. In the last three years, she has received over $10,000 in grants for her independent research pursuits and published her first article at 19 years old. With a passion for giving back, Olivia serves as a Peer Mentor for NU|Bioscientist – a program that helps prepare first-generation, low-income freshmen for undergraduate research. She is also an active member of both Kappa Alpha Theta and the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.
In her spare time, Olivia enjoys painting, listening to music, and cheering on the ‘Cats! She can often be found going to the movies, exploring Chicago, or attending a concert. With a passion for health and wellness, Olivia loves F45 classes, testing out new recipes, and bullet journaling, too!
Olivia plans to use the platform of Miss Illinois USA to advocate for the inclusion and equality of women in STEM fields. Having faced implicit bias in her own life, Olivia recognizes the power of a role model and hopes to serve as an inspiration for others. Amazing women throughout her life have taught her the importance of perseverance and confidence, and Olivia plans to incorporate some of the principles into her own mentoring program to empower other young women to pursue STEM fields.
She is incredibly honored to be a representative of Illinois once again, and hopes to make her state proud at Miss USA.
The on-stage moments, the tension of the final two and the glory of the crowning, here are Olivia’s state pageant photos.
Lights, camera, action! Professional photoshoots are one of the perks that comes from winning a title.
Two state pageants, two wins and two national pageants and two placements. Here are her Miss Illinois Teen USA and Miss Teen USA 2016 photos. More from her Teen year can be found on her Miss IL Teen USA 2016 profile.
All beautiful things must come to an end, no matter how bittersweet. See Olivia’s farewell walk and other candids from the weekend she crowned her successor Sydni Dion Bennett, another former Miss IL Teen USA, as Miss Illinois USA 2021.
Winning a state title is a sisterhood for life. Here are “after the crown” photos, including Olivia’s wedding in 2022 where she had a number of her 2020 sister titleholders as bridesmaids.