My friends and family were screaming, I saw the snapchat videos being taken, and my pageant sisters were whispering congratulations through their stage smiles, but when I heard my name I couldn’t help but be taken aback. So many emotions fled into my heart: I was surprised that I won, relieved that all the stress and anxiety of being on stage was over, but also really sad that I wouldn’t be seeing my 5 beautiful pageant sisters as often anymore. We had all gotten really close as a result of it only being 6 of us practicing together for over 3 months. I am so thankful for them because without them I really would’ve considered dropping out of the pageant. On my worst days, they were my support system, hype women, and comedians, and they helped me achieve my ultimate goal: growth.
I am a firm believer that growth begins at the end of your comfort zone, and being in a pageant was literally a mile beyond my comfort. The whole ordeal was so daunting to me because as invisible as I often feel, I am also afraid of being seen. The majority of the pageant entails being all alone on the stage saying your platform, doing a talent, modeling a dress, and answering random questions on the spot. It was so overwhelming, but I made it because of everyone who supported and encouraged me.
Through the pageant preparation process I had to learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I chose my platform with the themes of self-love, comparison, and self-depreciation because they are all things I struggle with. So many people say that I am so inspiring and confident, but my response to these comments is always “LOL.” If they truly knew the way I felt about myself, they would consider me an award-winning actress, but I’m proud to say I am realizing the concept of progress of perfection and continuing to work hard in my journey of self-love. Repeating my platform and talent every day really impacted the way I think about myself. I am learning the art of admiring someone else’s beauty without questioning my own. I am learning to tell myself that I am beautiful the same way I never let my friends forget it. Winning this title has given me an opportunity to really be a black girl unafraid of her own reflection, and although it was an unexpected win, it was definitely a blessing from God that came right on time. So many people have come and are still coming up to me, congratulating and supporting me, and it is a surreal feeling. I was very anxious and uncomfortable at first to have all of these eyes on me, but I realize that this is what I signed up for. I refuse to remain stagnant. I have to continue to challenge myself to be uncomfortable. I have to continue to put myself out there and be a light to the UGA community. I have to keep on keeping on. I have to remember that I wore a crown before I was crowned your 2018 Miss Black University of Georgia. I have to continue to grow, and I will forever be thankful for this opportunity which has further allowed me to blossom into the woman I hope to be.
Thank you again to my family, friends, pageant sisters (Brittney, Aliya, Kendra, Kerbie, and De’Andra), the women of the Zeta Psi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and my helper and savior, God.