Olive Hoover

Olive Hoover

    Little Miss Sunshine
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up… in Albuquerque, New Mexico with a dysfunctional family. At the age of seven, Olive isn’t quite done growing up yet, and retains a sunny, childish disposition despite the stress of living in the bizarre Hoover household.

Living… in a house with her parents, grandfather, older brother, and (recently) her uncle. It all sounds typical enough, but the Hoover’s are anything but conventional. Olive’s father, Richard, is an aspiring motivational speaker who is obsessed with winning, her mother is the overworked keystone of the family struggling to keep it all together, her grandfather dotes on Olive but also abuses heroin, her brother Dwayne has taken a vow of silence until he becomes a jet pilot, and her uncle was just released from the hospital after trying to kill himself. It’s not the most joyous house, and Olive often exists as a solitary ray of positivity in an otherwise cynical household.

Profession… elementary school student.

Interests… beauty pageants. Olive desperately wants to be crowned a beauty queen, and often spends afternoons in the pale glow of the television, watching pageants and mimicking the reactions and expressions of the contestants. She doesn’t have as much experience as the other beauty queens her age, but has an edge because she practices her routine everyday with her grandfather, Edwin.

Relationship Status… single and totally content. Olive is still too young to have any interest in a relationship. Anyway, it’s hard to be lonely in the Hoover household.

Challenge… winning the Little Miss Sunshine Beauty Pageant. But to do that, she first has to get there. Due to a combination of logistical and financial issues, she can only get to the pageant if her entire family drives from New Mexico to California in a bus that barely drives. Olive’s terrified of losing the pageant because her father “hates losers.”

Personality… sweet, excitable, and brave. Olive is a fairly typical seven-year-old girl – no easy feat given the unconventional dispositions of the rest of her family. She’s prone to hyperactive fits and her mind often races from one thing to the other, but she never loses sight of her dream. While she’s the youngest, least responsible, and least aware, Olive is the most lovable member of the family.


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