A native of Chicago, Sydni Dion Bennett was crowned Miss Illinois USA on 27 June 2021 and represented Illinois at the Miss USA 2021 pageant in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has a hugely successful pageant and fashion shoe company, Diverse Style by Sydni Dion, that provides nude options for people of all shades.
Sydni Dion Bennett attended Chicago Academy for the Arts where she was a dance major focusing on ballet. She was an impressively decorated regional and national winning soloist and co-directed a nationally winning dance team all by the age of 16. Due to a double hip injury, she had to discontinue dancing. She turned her loss into an opportunity to help others fulfill their dreams by starting her non-profit organization called Dream Katchers, Inc. which raised money for children in the arts who struggle with the finances to pursue their dreams.
She is devoted to serving her community and being an active member of her church, Life Changers International Church. In the fifth grade, she made the decision to pursue her philanthropic endeavors by assisting a variety of charitable organizations. Pre Covid, she hosted youth groups in her home, and currently fills backpacks for youth in need of school supplies and feeds the hungry to name a few. Sydni Dion prefers to be as hands on as possible with service work.
As the youngest sibling of four children, Sydni Dion is passionate about being a positive role model for young people. When she served as a ballet instructor, it helped her find a way to connect her love of dance with her passion of mentorship. To this day, whether girls inquire about their academics or home life, she is grateful that they trust her enough as a big sister figure to seek out guidance.
Sydni Dion was crowned in 2018 as the first African American in the 34-year history of the organization to represent the state of Illinois as Miss Illinois Teen USA. She finished the Miss Teen USA competition that year as 3rd runner up. During her reign, she worked with several organizations as a speaker and mentor to young girls. It was during this time that she also recognized a need in the pageant industry that she was fired up to fulfill.
Sydni Dion recognized that there was a lack of diversity in the color “nude” for pageant women and girls. Therefore, she created a business that would provide more nude options for people of all shades. Her company, Diverse Style by Sydni Dion, has now become a huge success because it brought to the forefront the changes needed in the way the color “nude” was perceived in pageantry. Sydni Dion now uses her business as a platform to promote diversity and inclusivity in the pageant industry. Her business has allowed her to extend her passion for mentorship by helping pageant participants feel confident in their own skin as they go after their dreams and will use her platform as Miss Illinois USA to help more young entrepreneurs pursue their inventive ideas and goals too.
Sydni Dion’s favorite quote, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”, expresses a message she strives to convey to everyone she mentors.
The on-stage moments, the tension of the final two and the glory of the crowning, here are Sydni’s state pageant photos.
Lights, camera, action! Professional photoshoots are one of the perks that comes from winning a title.
There’s nothing better than watching a contestant progress from year to year! Here’s a look back at Sydni’s previous pageant photos.
All beautiful things must come to an end, no matter how bittersweet. See Sydni’s farewell walk and other candids from the weekend she crowned her successor Angel Reyes as Miss Illinois USA 2022.