Bringing Financial Literacy to the Stage as Miss Illinois USA

“One class I taught didn’t know what healthcare was or the importance of it. So not only are they learning good money habits, but they’re also learning what real world expenses will impact them in the future,” said Miss Illinois USA Samantha Elliott.

Elliott intertwines the worlds of business and pageantry to create a narrative of empowerment and positive change. Elliott embarked on a mission to educate adolescents about the importance of financial literacy, and her collaboration with Culverhouse LIFT is paving the way for her vision to become a reality.

Hailing from a farm in Freeport, Illinois, Elliott’s rural upbringing instilled in her a strong work ethic and exceptional people skills that would prove to be invaluable assets as she ventured into the realm of pageantry. Pursuing a Master of Accountancy at Manderson Graduate School, she recognized the importance of financial literacy and committed to channel her knowledge into empowering the younger generation through her platform as Miss Illinois USA. Through workshops focused on budgeting and spending, she is equipping high school students with practical financial planning knowledge.

In addition to partnering with Culverhouse LIFT, Elliott will support RAMP CIL at Miss USA to promote the importance of financial literacy programs. She intends to extend workshops to her hometown and provide resources to children across the nation through her participation in Miss USA, all while highlighting similarities in the disparities in opportunities in places like Tuscaloosa and her own hometown.

“I spent all summer scouring for resources or programs for financial literacy, and there’s absolutely nothing in the area.”

Elliott recognizes the invaluable crossover between her pageantry skills and the demands of the corporate world. Her commitment to financial literacy finds a seamless alignment with her impending career as a federal auditor at KPMG in Huntsville, Alabama. Her ability to engage in persuasive conversations, be it securing sponsors for her journey to Miss USA or fostering client relationships, reveals her skill in the art of effective communication. Crafting compelling sales pitches, maintaining client satisfaction, and diligently ensuring that sponsor benefits are met are all crucial aspects of her role. As she adeptly hones these abilities, Elliott recognizes that this dual proficiency extends beyond her pageant journey, offering her a distinct advantage in her professional pursuits.

The fusion of business practices and pageant skills not only portrays Elliott as a poised and versatile individual but also underscores how these diverse capabilities can form a powerful platform for inspiring community impact and championing women in business. Through her partnership with LIFT, she is not only equipping young minds with crucial financial skills but also leaving a lasting impression on the pageantry world as a true advocate for positive change.

The 72nd Miss USA Pageant will air on live broadcast television for the first time in nearly a decade. Tune into the CW Network on September 29 at 7 p.m. CT to watch the Elliott compete.


Update: Elliott placed in the top 20 at Miss USA 2023.

Authored by

Media Inquiries

Zach thomas

Director of Marketing & Communications