All Articles Tagged "beauty pageants"
There she is! Miss America! We’ve all seen beauty pageants on TV – Miss America, Miss Universe, Miss U.S.A., etc. The flawless, smiling ladies parading about on stage in dazzling dresses and teeny weeny bikinis that make us mentally plan our next crash diets. These pageant contestants spend hours primping, applying makeup and styling hair to perfection. They rehearse intellectual answers to worldly questions delivered by pageant judges and eagerly reveal their unique talents, such as playing the cello or performing a gymnastic routine. You’d be oh so surprised at some of the celebrities who actually participated in various pageants and donned sparkly tiaras.
I’m always amazed at the snap judgements reality TV stars make about other reality TV stars while constantly telling the public not to judge them. Hypocrite much?
Kenya Moore, the Queen of all things suspect, recently had an interview with In Touch Weekly and said some not so nice things about TLC star Honey Boo Boo and her mom. It appears the tabloid asked the former Miss USA what it takes to win a beauty pageant and this is where she took it:
”Honey Boo Boo is not a role model for young women. Her mother [June Shannon] puts her onstage looking like a glorified h**ker!”
Now there aren’t many who would argue that Honey Boo Boo is any type of role model, but c’mon is Kenya Moore? This is the same woman who bounced her booty all up on someone else’s man on a couple’s vacation, who busted out a potential JET beauty of the week about her c**chie issues in front of everyone at the Bailey Agency, and who rolled into a fundraiser with a netted cover-up on top of a skimpy bathing suit with visible butt pads. Is that the USA role model potential pageant applicants should look up to?
Kenya added a bit more to her response to make her point, saying:
“Pageants are about having poise and promoting self-esteem and self-worth. When a little girl wears a lot of makeup, fake teeth, and extensions, like h**kers do — that’s just not appropriate.”
Why couldn’t you just have said that in the first place? And let’s not act like Honey Boo Boo or her mama June were the first — or will be the last — to do it. Pageantry itself promotes this false sense of worth and encourages girls to look like h**kers, perhaps that’s the issue that should be addressed first.
What do you think about what Kenya said about Honey Boo Boo, was that too harsh?
She was named by Forbes recently as one of the 20 Youngest Power Women In Africa 2012. And no wonder. Eunice Nuekie Cofie has a lot going on. She’s a cosmetic chemist, entrepreneur, innovator and scholar. Some have called Cofie, president and chief cosmetic chemist of Ethnic Dermatology Pharmaceutical Company, the modern-day Madame C.J. Walker because of her breakthroughs in the beauty industry. Her company specializes in research and development of dermatological products for ethnic men and women.
Cofie, who is a graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) with a degree in chemistry/molecular biology, is of Ghanaian heritage. The former Miss Black Florida USA has spent her summers working in a village community in Ghana implementing the Save a Million Lives HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention Program.
There’s more. Cofie is also the president of Enspiring Concepts, LLC, a life-empowerment firm which seeks to inspire others to follow their destiny, and she is the founder and executive producer of Moving Closer to My Dreams: A Young Women’s Empowerment Conference, an annual event designed to empower young professional women.
We grabbed a few minutes with Cofie to ask her about her career, community efforts, and her upcoming skincare line.
Madame Noire: What prompted you to start the company?
Eunice Nuekie Cofie: Growing up, I was made to feel like I was not beautiful because of my dark skin color and tightly coiled hair. I remember crying endlessly as I was being called names like “black,” “African booty scratcher,” or “nappy head.” The bullying did not just stop at words but it became physical. Girls would take turns pulling on my hair. The constant teasing and bullying damaged my self-esteem. My saving grace was my father’s encouragement for me to pursue an understanding of science. In the first grade, my father entered me into my first school science fair. I won first place in the school science fair. From that moment, I began to gain confidence in myself.
MN: There aren’t many women in science fields.
EC: Science had become my oasis and my strength. One day while in my organic chemistry lab class, my eyes were opened to the world of cosmetic science. My professor, who also owned his own cosmetic company, wanted my classmates and me to understand how to practically apply organic chemistry to our everyday lives. So he made a decision to have us create lotions and hair relaxers instead of conducting the regular lab experiments. It was during my research with him that I realized that the cosmetic industry lacked effective treatment products that took into account the unique structure and function of ethnic skin and hair. This was just the impetus that I needed to develop my company Nuekie, Inc. Nuekie means “first daughter in the family” and “hardworking one” in the Adangbe language.
MN: What kind of skincare products does your company create?
EC: My company provides quality dermatological products for ethnic people [i.e. African/African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, Native American, Pacific Islander]. My mission through Nuekie is to help men and women of color discover they are perfect in beauty.
MN: Where can people buy Nuekie products?
EC: We plan to launch the full-skin care line in March 2013. But since we have got a so much response about our company, we decided to release our first product, Moisture Therapy Crème. People can buy the crème at our online shop. Also, people can sign up at the website to learn more about the upcoming launch, skin care tips and other exciting news about Nuekie.
MN: How did you initially fund the company?
EC: My company is fully bootstrapped by myself. I used my savings, personal income, and credit to fund my company. I recently won the ACCESS Florida Business Plan Competition which helped my company further its efforts in pursuing its mission to help men and women of color discover they perfect in beauty.
One of my obstacles was the lack of funding. I had to realize that there may never be enough money for me to pursue my dream and that I have to start from somewhere. Once you get started then resources for you to accomplish your goals start to flow to you. The key thing is getting started!
We know our Black is Beautiful, and some of us may want to compete for a crown to prove it. For all the women out there who aspire to win a pageant (or be a pageant mother) it can be difficult for Black women to be chosen to represent their state much less their country. However, there are pageants geared specifically toward Black women such as Miss Black USA, Miss Black America and, now, there’s Miss Black United States!
With the alarming and still growing social, economic, and health disparities in the Black American community, one might think it’s too overwhelming to take on such an enormous responsibility of trying to overcome them. Fortunately, one young lady had the foresight to say, “There is still opportunity to reverse the negative trends impacting the Black American community. We shall continue to overcome.”
Four years ago, as President Obama embarked on his first year in the White House, Sonja McCord was working tirelessly to develop a pageant system that would serve as a social enterprise and an enrichment program – a program that would create a new generation of promising Black leaders. Her solution: the Miss Black United States Program.
Officially launched, the Miss Black United States Program is a cultural, enrichment program which seeks to provide social leadership, development, and charity through an institute of learning. “We are creating a new generation leaders who are problem solvers, accomplished, and polished, while servicing those who are in need. The concept is simple, empowering others while empowering ourselves,”says McCord. The program will train leaders and provide them with the support to achieve their educational, professional, artistic, and community ambitions.
Every year, 51 young women will be educated in advocacy, leadership, beauty, elegance, self-development, entrepreneurship, and fitness – the skills and qualities that make up the quintessential beauty queen. The program distinguishes itself from other pageants because it first provides the enrichment program via the Miss Black United States Program, second, the ability to showcase what they’ve learned via the Miss Black United States Pageant, and third, the resources to put those concepts into practice for an entire year during their reign as Miss Black United States or their respective state queen.
In 2013, the organization will inaugurate the first Miss Black United States National Pageant, culminating the conclusion of a rigorous enrichment program and celebrating the accomplishments of 51 innovative, experienced, and empowered leaders. Entry into the competition begins with an online competition launched July 22nd. The program is open to natural born females ages 20-35 who have at least 25% African lineage and identify themselves as Black American. Applications for the national preliminary competition are open through their official website and require a small fee of $150.
“The Miss Black United States Program exists not as a means to exclude non-African American citizens…”It is a cultural organization created to solve America’s most pressing problems that directly impact the Black American population. The program seeks to reverse negative trends, celebrate Black beauty, empower young leaders, and work to overcome social, health, and economic disparities in the Black American community. Simply stated, “…Tackling Black American issues and strengthening the Black American community will help reinvigorate America, overall. This is a new spirit of patriotism,” remarks Sonja McCord.
Of course pageants are sometimes looked down upon for allegedly objectifying women, but they’re more than a swimsuit competition. Pageants offer scholarships, lessons in poise and communication and generally can promote a positive self-esteem. Many pageant participants are positively impacted from their experience whether they win or not. A pageant for specifically for black women can be especially beneficial considering the affirmation of black beauty that may not happen in mainstream pageants. This Miss Black United States Program sounds great for young black women.
Considering the dearth of positive role models young black girls have to look up to via their television screens, it would be great if a pageant like this were televised during primetime like Miss USA and Miss America. I’d definitely watch it! Would you?
What do you think? Have you ever participated in pageants? Are you glad to hear about Miss Black United States?
Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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