Ricki Nelson

Campus Queen: Ricki Nelson

Name: Ricki Nelson

Year: Senior

Major(s): Creative Writing and Film Studies

Minors/certificates/etc.: Certificate in Publishing 

Her Campus: What made you choose UNCW?

Ricki Nelson: Originally, I didn’t want to come to UNCW because both my brother and sister went here. But the summer after my junior year of high school, I attended the Department of Creative Writing’s Young Writer’s Workshop and saw how amazing that department was; that really swayed me and gave me confidence in wanting to come to UNCW. Once I got here, I looked into Film Studies and realized that I was also interested in screenwriting, so I tagged on my film studies degree and double majored!

HC: What are you involved in on campus?

RN: I’m a member of the Black Student Union, Rhyme ’N’ Reason (a spoken word/poetry club), and president of Creative Arts Club (CAC).

HC: What was your biggest reason for starting CAC?

RN: I wanted to have a hub where artists interested in various mediums could come together (our slogan is "create, collaborate, and cultivate"). Through the organization, I’ve been able to form a community with other creatives.

HC: How did you come up with the idea for your homecoming campaign? 

RN: I wanted to do a campaign that mattered. I know that, a lot of times, homecoming can be seen as just a glorified popularity test, but I wanted to use this temporary platform to speak on something that impacts me and as well as the other 14 percent of students of color at UNCW at a predominately white institution.

I based much of my campaign on Beyoncé’s “Beychella” performance. That performance is iconic in it and of itself, and when you listen to the Homecoming album, she has a lot of these little interludes where she’s talking about why she’s doing what she’s doing. A lot of it is to empower black women, black people, and black and brown peoples. I think Beyoncé has been such an amazing figure for empowering black and brown people in entertainment; she’s a beast at everything she does! Her performance and album titled “Homecoming” went with my running for Homecoming Queen, so that's kind of how I entangled the two and decided to do a campaign themed off of Beyoncé (specifically her "Homecoming" album).

HC: How did you feel when they announced you won homecoming queen?

RN: I was elated. My family and friends were all there supporting me. I think what was amazing was the culmination of a lot of hard work the weeks prior.

That night, I attended the Step Show co-sponsored by the Upperman African American Cultural Center for Black History Month, and it was there that I was able to give a mini-speech: “I may be wearing the crown in this moment, but we’re all wearing it.” That's what it felt like. I wasn’t just doing this for me, I was doing it for this underrepresented community on campus. I just felt so honored to be able to represent them and make everyone proud.

HC: You graduate this year. If you could do whatever you wanted after graduation, what would you do?

RN: The plan at the moment, is to go to grad school. As a creative writing and film major, I have two different tracks I want to pursue, but sometimes my goals intertwine (like with screenwriting and filmmaking). Film-wise, I'd love to finally write and star in my own TV show. If I could do whatever I wanted, I’d definitely just travel the world in luxury, maybe for a year and write a novel based on those experiences.