Savannah Janine (Savvy) Shields Wolfe (1995–)

Savannah Janine (Savvy) Shields Wolfe, originally from Fayetteville (Washington County), was a pageant winner who became a public speaker, celebrity media presence, and artist. In 2016, as Savvy Shields, she won the title of Miss America 2017. She thus became the third Miss America from Arkansas, joining Donna Axum, who won the title in 1964, and Elizabeth Ward, the 1982 winner. 

Savannah Janine (Savvy) Shields was born in Fayetteville on July 1, 1995. Her parents were homemaker Karen Shields and Todd Shields, a professor of political science at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville and later dean of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. At age fourteen, Shields won the title of Miss Arkansas’ Outstanding Teen 2009, going on to represent Arkansas at the 2010 Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant. In 2013, Shields graduated from Fayetteville High School. Entering UA that same year, she studied art, aiming for a degree in fine arts with a minor in business. While at UA, she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. 

After winning Miss Collegiate Arkansas, she was crowned Miss Collegiate America 2013. In 2016, Shields won Miss Heart of the Ozarks. Open to entrants who live, work, or go to school in northwestern Arkansas, the Miss Heart of the Ozarks pageant is an official preliminary to the Miss Arkansas and Miss America pageants. 

At the Miss Arkansas 2016 pageant held in Hot Springs (Garland County), Shields won the talent competition and lifestyle/fitness award with a platform of “Eat Better, Live Better ” before going on to earn the title of Miss Arkansas 2016.  

Shields represented Arkansas at the Miss America 2017 pageant held in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in September 2016. Again, her platform was “Eat Better, Live Better.” She began earning awards during the preliminary competitions that week by winning the talent portion for her jazz dance performance to the song “They Just Keep Moving the Line” from the television show Smash. In front of a global television audience on September 11, 2016, Shields was crowned Miss America 2017. Her term ran from the moment of her crowning through September 10, 2017. 

As she traveled internationally during her year of service, Shields retained her personal platform issue of “Eat Better, Live Better,” informing people about how the foods we eat make an impact on our lives and encouraging a lifestyle that can drastically improve health. In addition, as Miss America, she served as the National Goodwill Ambassador for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. She also participated in events such as the Billboard Music Awards, spent Thanksgiving with American troops overseas, and represented the United States in Egypt, Germany, and Iceland.   

At the time she won the title of Miss America 2017, Shields was in her senior year at UA. She put her education on hiatus but returned to UA in January 2018 to finish her degree. 

Shields married her longtime boyfriend, attorney Nathaniel (Nate) Wolfe, in Bentonville (Benton County) on July 28, 2018. The couple moved to New York City, where Savvy Shields Wolfe became a public speaker and social media celebrity. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in 2020, she recognized that many brides were not able to have the kind of bridal season and large wedding that she enjoyed. She began a business of painting portraits of brides in their wedding dresses, something she said was inspired by how special she felt in her own wedding gown. Using photos that brides sent of their wedding dress, she created hundreds of portraits using layered pearlescent paint to create a sparkling, romantic aura. 

For additional information:
Bartholomew, Dustin. “Savvy Shields Settling in as First Miss America from Arkansas in 34 Years.” Fayetteville Flyer, November 17, 2016. (accessed June 17, 2022). 

Christman, Jennifer. “Beau Pops Question to Savvy Shields, Former Miss America from Arkansas.” NWA Online, December 26, 2017. (accessed June 17, 2022). 

“Former Miss America Savvy Shields Marries Nate Wolfe in a Floral-Filled Wonderland.” Arkansas Bride, June 12, 2019. (accessed June 17, 2022). 

Goodman, Adeline. “Arkansas Native Savvy Shields Honors Brides with Dress Paintings.” AY Magazine, June 9, 2020. (accessed June 17, 2022).  

McPhee, Ryan. “‘Bombshell’ Lives! Miss Arkansas Savvy Shields Crowned Miss America 2017 after Dancing to a Song from ‘Smash.’” Broadway Buzz, September 12, 2016. (accessed June 17, 2022). 

Savvy Janine Shields. (accessed June 17, 2022). 

“Savvy Shields—Miss America 2017 – Miss Arkansas 2016,” Miss America. (accessed June 17, 2022). 

Nancy Hendricks
Garland County Historical Society 


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