For the first time ever 3 black women are crowned queen of America’s biggest pageants: Miss Teen USA, Miss USA, & Miss America all in the same year.
Kaliegh Garris, 18, won Miss Teen USA, and Cheslie Kryst, 28, won the Miss USA contest completing the trifecta. They both joined Nia Franklin, 25, who was crowned as the 2019 Miss America in September.
These three wins have shown how much America’s views on beauty has evolved.
Both Kryst and Harris wore their hair in natural styles for the competition and received accolades for doing so. Garris says in a recent interview with Refinery 29 that she chose to wear her natural curls to send a message when she entered the pageant world.
“There were a few naysayers saying, ‘You look better with straight hair,’ or ‘You should put in extensions and straighten your natural hair.” she said. “Being able to spend the message of diversity, being yourself, and being confident in your curly, natural hair is something that I’m really looking forward to with my new national title.”
On top of being Miss USA, Kyrst is a lawyer. According to CNN, she has a MBA and law degree from Wake Forest, and an undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina. Kyrst works pro bono to help provide legal aid for prisoners.
Nia Franklin who won Miss America, is an opera singer. During the Miss America pageant in September, she expressed why music was always important to her.
“I grew up at a predominantly Caucasian school, and there was only 5 percent minority, and I felt out of place so much because of the color of my skin,” Franklin said. “But growing up, I found my love of arts, and through music that helped me to feel positive about myself and about who I was.”
“What a tremendous moment for these young, successful women making their own path, on their own terms. Truly amazing to see,” Senator Harris wrote. “Nia, Cheslie, and Kaliegh: you are trailblazers, creating your own path on your own terms, Congratulations!”
Hopefully, young Black women around the world are encouraged by what these women have accomplished.