Haley Rose Pontius was born and raised in the small town of Houston, Arkansas, population 170. Growing up on a wildlife-managed lake and mere miles from the Ouachita National Forest, she gained a deep appreciation for nature in the Natural State. As a girl she spent her time fishing with her father, exploring mountain trails, and rescuing abandoned animals.
Her pageant career began at the early age of three when she debuted at the county fair pageant with pin curls, paten shoes, and a baby blue dress covered in pearls. From this moment on pageantry became a fundamental part of Haley Rose’s journey. As a wide-eyed little girl with couch-side seats to every Miss USA broadcast, VCR set to record and popcorn bowl in hand, her dream of becoming Miss Arkansas USA and walking on the Miss USA stage was born. On November 17, 2019 she accomplished the first half of this dream when she was crowned Miss Arkansas USA 2020 and will achieve the second half this coming summer at Miss USA 2020.
Although she considers her childhood a blessed one, it wasn’t without its share of difficulties. When she was eleven years old, her father was diagnosed with a heart condition called Atrial Fibrillation that took a heavy toll on her family. This often meant that birthdays, Christmases, and school nights were spent in hospital waiting rooms. If she was in the comfort of her own home during these times, it was only to wait for her parents to return from the emergency room.
Not long after, she began volunteering with the American Heart Association, and ultimately advocating for heart healthy lifestyles in our communities and families. For almost a decade, Haley Rose has played every part from national spokesperson to grassroots activist, filmed a national PSA, served as an auction chairman for Arkansas’ Festival of Wines, volunteered endless hours and helped to raise thousands of dollars for heart disease prevention.
Ten years and two heart surgeries later, her father is living a healthy life and she is continuing these efforts with more exuberance than ever. By advocating for this cause she truly believes she is impacting the lives of families just like hers, and she is contributing to a cause that will save countless lives.
Working with organizations like the American Heart Association, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, and the Alliance For A Healthier Generation sparked an interest in health and wellness and fueled a fire in her heart to make a difference. These experiences ultimately led her to major in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Central Arkansas where she graduated with honors in May of 2019.
Today she enjoys developing her creativity through sewing, painting, decorating, and photography. Meanwhile, her love for nutrition has led her to become an avid cook and baker with a knack for decorating sweet treats. As a food and fitness enthusiast, she takes pride in meal planning and frequents the gym on a daily basis. And her most unique hobby of all is taking spontaneous, cross-country road trips with her friends, while her favorite hobby is being an aunt to her two-year-old nephew.
Currently, Haley Rose is an aspiring small business owner with the mission to inspire people to gather with friends and family, redefine their relationships with food and the kitchen, and create beautiful spaces to call home. She hopes to use the title of Miss USA to share these views and continue educating, advocating, and encouraging healthy lifestyles in our communities.