Monica Nia Jones

2023 Trailblazer Award

Monica's Early Life

For most young African American girls, the idea of competing in a city, state or national pageant is at best a far-fetched dream, but Monica Nia Jones has proven that their dreams can come true and lead to amazing accomplishments. As Monica has stated, “After much prayer, and conversation with family, friends, and mentors, I have made the very conscious decision to take full advantage of the opportunity and compete” in pageants that have become household names.

Monica's Early Education and Achievements

Born in Chicago, Monica’s talent and accomplishments as a violinist started at her church, The Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, when she was only seven years old and joined the church’s new stringed instrument program. She was an accomplished violinist by the time she graduated from Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts). She then attended Arizona State University where she studied Marketing and Communications. In addition to her undergraduate studies, Monica attended Complutense University of Madrid and ELLE Education where she completed her studies in Fashion and Luxury Brands. This led to employment in the offices of Christian Louboutin, one of the most prestigious brands in shoes and accessories. But Monica is constantly moving forward in her career and her education. Today she is a professional violinist, orchestra musician, and a music educator. She plans to pursue post-graduate studies at DePaul University where she has her cap set on a Law degree. In the meanwhile, Monica has joined her mom, Gwynda Jones, in launching HotWorx, an international infrared fitness studio in the River North area.

Becoming A Leader & Role Model

During the Pandemic, Monica decided that the Miss America Scholarship Program was a positive way to off-set the cost of her educational aspirations. She was right! Her involvement actually meant accomplishing much more. Monica Nia Jones was Miss Chicago in 2020. She was crowned Miss Windy City and Miss Illinois in 2022, the first Black woman crowned Miss Illinois in 20 years. Monica was also a finalist in the 2023 Miss America pageant having received the 2022 America’s Choice Award. Her accomplishments show that Monica is not only a hardworking young woman, but she is also a leader, a woman of great faith, and a role model for young women everywhere. Monica Nia Jones has blazed a trail that was supported and encouraged by her devoted and loving mother and grandmother, strengthened by her outstanding faith in God, and driven by her passion as a classical violinist.

Monica's Social & Community Impact

While Monica is both beautiful and talented, she is also proving that social impact is an important aspect of her faith and life. Monica Nia Jones is the founder of M.U.S.I.C., Music Uniting Souls in Communities. Through her social impact Monica is proving to be an encouraging force for young women of all backgrounds across the state of Illinois as an entrepreneur who is inspiring youth to embrace music and expand their cultural understanding of others. M.U.S.I.C. “promotes the value of music education, exposure, and diversity” and brings “classical music to underserved communities.” Monica’s aim is to help provide scholarship opportunities, workshops, and resources so people can be inspired and cultivated in the classical music industry. Her organization aims to increase appreciation for the relevance music has in today’s society, and to further awareness of diversity in classical music in order to “spark the fire and change the narrative.”