As you read the title, try and read it in the “freshest” nigerian accent you can think of. I know you’re laughing to yourself now. But that’s how my mum and aunties sounded when I became the very thing. A beauty queen. First in my family and probably last.
Whenever I get asked how I came about winning such a competition that is most commonly associated with blonde-haired Caucasian females of certain bodily dimensions, not a kinky-haired, ankara clad mahogany girl, my response is always the same. I didn’t mean to, did it for jokes with 2 other friends, turned up on the day and I won. I didn’t know I wanted to win until my number was called out; number 19. I was so gassed!( for lack of a better word). But the feeling of winning Is the Same, no matter the prize. In a few months I’d be representing my county, Leicestershire, in the miss England finals as well as a myriad of prizes won for the duration of my reign, I was happy! All by myself, but I was happy.
Just over two weeks ago, was the week of the Miss England finals, 5 days at the imperial hotel in Torquay, paired up with another beauty queen from another part of England. There were 60 of us in total, I was the only dark skinned black girl there. I thought to myself, this is not life right now! But soon came hope in the form of a mixed-race queen. Finally! I thought to myself. We somehow drew to each other as though there was a force pulling us together. She’s stayed a good friend of mine. So has my roommate and many of the other girls. The truth is, I was reluctant to approach some of the girls, but as soon as I recognised someone vaguely similar to me, I let my guards down and friendship was sparked.
This pageant life has opened my eyes to so many things that we shy away from. Us being Black ( especially African) people. The iron-fisted emphasis on education is all well and good, we appreciate and love that, however there are so many other achievements to be won in life. Psychologists, students, teachers, business woman, nurses,bankers and lawyers were amongst the 60 finalists. My quest is to see more black women winning these achievements. Pushing forward and educating people in the beauty industry. Maybe then we’ll see makeup artist and hair stylists educated on black hair and beauty- we’re not all the same shade of dark and our hair doesn’t ” feel like a sponge”. After all, we’ve already got the intellect now we have to expose the world to our beauty.
Love, Ruth x