Since April 2012, I embarked on what I call my “natural hair journey”-- by this I mean taking the scissors to my relaxed hair until all that was left was a teeny weenie afro that sat atop the crown of my head. Up until that date, I had been attached to the notion that I was only beautiful if I had long, bone straight hair streaming down my back. Since the age of twelve, I perched myself into the salon chair and endured the pain and nauseating smell of the “creamy crack” [relaxer] that was destroying every strand of my hair. I would exit the chair with freshly relaxed hair, feeling like my hair was growing and thriving, when in reality my strands were being burned from my scalp and causing immense damage to otherwise healthy hair. I left the salons each time feeling beautiful and confident, but after a few weeks that feeling would fade when I reached to touch the back of my hair and felt my curls furiously tangling. The longer I went without a relaxer, the more unattractive I felt. Was this cycle going to be my life? Would I have to rely on a relaxer to straighten my kinky coils to fit into the societal standard of beauty? This cycle drained me until I had enough. As those scissors glided across the strands of my hair, ridding me of all the damage and unhealthy habits and products I’d put on my scalp, I felt liberated. The damaged hair that lay on the kitchen floor were symbolic of the pain and low self-esteem I had for myself in the name of beauty. Just like that hair, that ideology was getting thrown away. For the first time, I looked in the mirror and felt something I never truly felt before – beautiful. I saw in myself a confident person, with a passion for serving others and building success on my own merit. I didn’t need a relaxer to feel any more beautiful than I already was in my truest, natural form.
|Pictured above are co-founders |
of the Miss Naturally Crowned pageant
(left) Jessica E. Boyd and (right) Maureen Ochola
On December 2013, Jessica E. Boyd and Maureen Ochola, two entrepreneur and natural hair enthusiasts, founded a platform to give women such as myself the ability to not only embrace our natural kinks, curls, coils and dreadlocks, but to fund their own educations and businesses. They established the Miss Naturally Crowned pageant, which features all women ages 19-30 at different points in their natural hair journeys and in different stages of life. This unique, budget friendly pageant has been held exclusively in Columbia, SC since its conception . . . until now. The founders of the Miss Naturally Crowned pageant will be crowning the very first Miss Naturally Crowned Charleston on June 24, 2016 at The American Theater in Charleston. As the date looms closer, I can’t help but get more and more excited because out of many applicants who applied, I will be one of 9 ladies competing for the chance to fund my business and take home the crown!
This is the first pageant I have ever done. I am not experienced with walking a runway or strutting in heels. I’m a young mother, so flats and flip flops are amongst the top choices in my shoe arsenal these days. I also don’t own an elaborate ball gown to grace formal wear. So, why did I apply?
|TTC Student and contestant in inaugural |
Miss Naturally Crowned Charleston pageant, Andrea Davis
Because the title of Miss Naturally Crowned Charleston embodies who I am. I am a devoted wife of a veteran, a nurturing mother, an entrepreneur looking to take my bath and body business [Motherland Essentials] to the next level, and most importantly I am unapologetically and unconditionally me. This pageant is about making connections, creating opportunities, and embracing who you are and where you are. I am excited to be the example of where simply being yourself can take you. I encourage everyone to come out and show your support on this prestigious night. The first ever Miss Naturally Crowned Charleston will be a night of entertainment, inspiration, and excitement. Be there when history is made as the first Miss Naturally Crowned Charleston takes the throne!
|The first Miss Naturally Crowned Charleston will be held on |
June 24, 2016 at The American Theater in Charleston, SC.
Tickets are now on sale for the event.