Veronica Osei '18

Last Saturday, January 30th, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporation hosted the 12th annual Miss Black & Gold Scholarship pageant featuring seven of DePaul’s gorgeous women of color.  The fraternity says, “Each year, our chapter kicks off our winter programming with the Miss Black and Gold Scholarship Pageant. This event allows our chapter to engage our communities and campuses in the true spirit of scholarship as we highlight the accomplishments of well deserving minority women on campus.” We interviewed Veronica Osei, the winner of this year’s pageant.

Name: Veronica Osei (pictured right)

Hometown: Romeoville, IL

Major, Minor: Public Relations, Advertising, and Graphic Design

Dream Job: International Supermodel

Campus Involvement: African Student Association, DePaul Student Ambassadors, DePaul Activities Board

I know you have competed in pageants many times before. How has it changed over the years? As you’ve become older…

I have competed in two pageants prior to the Miss Black and Gold pageant. Over the years, pageants haven’t really changed. It just all depends on what kind of girl the judges are looking for. Sometimes they want someone who is classy; sometimes they want someone with a big personality. It all depends on them.

So if you have to adjust to the desires of a particular set of judges, do you ever find yourself making up part of your personality or emphasizing certain aspects of your personality that would otherwise be discrete?

I’ve learned to emphasis my own personality and ALSO learn to pick up on other’s personalities. If the girl before you receives a favorable response from the judges, it helps to identify what it is they are doing right and “mimic” it in a way. When I say mimic I don’t mean actually copy them; I mean do what they are doing and adopt it and make it your own. Like if someone were to have dramatic pauses and the judges like it, then I will pick up on that and “mimic”, but in a unique way.

Would you say that this pageant was different from others in which you’ve competed in the past? 

It was not drastically different than others. The introduction scene was different, since its for a Fraternity -- Alpha Phi Alpha Incorporated -- so there was an emphasis on being able to introduce yourself because you are representing that chapter.

How did you hear about the Miss Black and Gold Pageant? What made you decide to participate?

I was referred by my friend Kediegha Ellington. Kediegha thought I would win and encouraged me to compete. Also, my “pageant mom” convinced me.

Your “pageant mom”?

After being encouraged by my friend I sought out information from Sydney Sewell, the Pageant Coordinator. I asked her for general information about the pageant and she told me to attend an informational session so I did and here I am.

In the question and answer section of the pageant, they asked you about the controversy over the nature of pageants. I believe the question was whether or not you believe pageants oppress women. Can you tell us your answer and maybe go a little more depth with it?

The whole controversy over pageant is based on what people see on TV versus what they see behind closed doors. No ones knows the effort and the time that goes into practicing and performing a talent, learning how to think on your toes, and how to let yourself be vulnerable: vulnerable to be passionate about what you’re doing and letting everyone do that with you.

Now that you’ve won this competition, what are the next steps?

This week I’m going to districts for the Notorious Nu Rho chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated in Gurnee Illinois. I will be competing against women from other school within Illinois since the pageant is not specific to DePaul University.

How are you feeling for these steps? Anxious, scared, excited, all of the above?

I am happy to represent DePaul but I’m scared as I am going up against new people in a new setting. I am nervous and excited at the same time

Did you think that the pageant has successfully communicated the fact that black is beautiful?

The pageant has nothing has to do with beauty. It’s confidence. Once you realize you’re not the most beautiful person or funniest person, then you are able to express who you really are. If it were about beauty, then I wouldn’t have won. It has to do with confidence and being able to own what you have and working with it.

On behalf of the women of HerCampus, we wish Veronica Osei luck at regionals and another congratulations for her win last Saturday!