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Monica Nia Jones of Chicago Wins America’s Choice and Becomes Top 11 Finalist at Miss America Competition


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Monica Nia Jones is proof that commitment is the foundation of great accomplishments.

The 25-year-old classical violinist from Chicago represented Illinois at the 2023 Miss America competition on Thursday, December 15, 2022. The pageant was held at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. 

Monica won America’s Choice and landed a spot as a Top 11 finalist out of 51 contestants across the country. This award is given to a contestant who exemplifies the qualities of Miss America as a leader, servant, and role model for young women. Monica will receive a $5,000 scholarship to help her advance her educational and career goals.


Miss America Top 11 Contestants

The top 11 contestants at the Miss America 2023 competition were:

  • Miss Georgia 2022, Kelsey Hollis.
  • Miss Hawaii 2022, Lauren Teruya.
  • Miss Illinois 2022, Monica Nia Jones (America’s choice candidate)
  • Miss Indiana 2022, Elizabeth Hallal.
  • Miss New York 2022, Taryn Delanie Smith.
  • Miss Nevada 2022, Heather Renner.
  • Miss Ohio 2022, Elizabetta Nies.
  • Miss Oregon 2022, Sophia Takla.
  • Miss Texas 2022, Averie Bishop.
  • Miss West Virginia 2022, Elizabeth Lynch.
  • Miss Wisconsin 2022, Grace Stanke.

Monica’s Journey to the Miss America Competition

On June 11, 2022, Monica was the first Black woman crowned Miss Illinois in 20 years. Erika Harold, Miss Illinois 2002, went on to become Miss America. 

“This moment still feels surreal,” Monica posted on Instagram after her historic win. “I am so honored to be Miss Illinois 2022.”

She continues, “I am excited to continue to make history during my year of service by promoting my Social Impact, Music Uniting Souls in Communities throughout the state as well as be a role model to young women across the entire state of all backgrounds.”


Monica has been part of the Miss America Organization for the past three years. She served as Miss Chicago 2020, Miss Windy City 2022, and Miss Illinois 2022. She has been awarded over $16,000 in scholarships. 

As Miss Illinois 2022, she had a chance to visit The Dallas Cowboys headquarters and ring the opening bell at Nasdaq with other Miss America contestants.


All contestants had a chance to raise money for the Miss America organization by participating in America’s Choice Voting. Monica exceeded her fundraising goal, acquiring over $52,000 in donations as of December 16, 2022.

Monica Nia Jones America's Choice Voting

The Miss Chicago 2023 competition will take place on January 7, 2023.

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