Triana Browne-Hearrell

Portraits in Chickasaw Strength and Resilience

When Triana Browne-Hearrell was born, her mother was told that she probably would not live through the night, but she had a fighting spirit that endures to this day. "I had a story to tell, at a very young age, overcoming cardiovascular disease," says Triana. "I survived my health issues for a reason. I've always had a connection to people." Despite these early health setbacks, Triana made history by becoming Miss Oklahoma 2017 in the Miss America Pageant and two years later she was named Miss Oklahoma 2019 in the Miss USA Pageant. In May 2019 she was crowned second runner-up at Miss USA.

"It's hard to pinpoint one moment exactly. There's a moment where I had this dream when I was a little girl that I would sing on stage in a red dress. Well, when I got to Miss America, I was singing my talent song in a red dress," she says. "And it was the actual vision that I had when I was a little girl. I was thinking this is my moment. This is it. This is the dream. And ever since then, I've been advocating to live with purpose."

From a young age, Triana knew that she was destined to be a voice for people who are underrepresented and to bridge the cultural divide. As someone from a multicultural background, it was personal and born out of her own experiences. "When I think about the Chickasaw Nation, it's a culture of strength, a push for togetherness and being an overcomer," Triana says. "And as somebody who tries to bridge the great cultural divide daily, I am strong, I'm a unifier and I'm an overcomer because I am Chickasaw."