Thursday, April 10, 2008

Miss Nappturality and Me

Everyone makes history everyday with every day lived and every breath taken. But not everyone gets a chance to leave a noted mark on the world. This is what Miss Nappturality has done for me. As one of the very first contestants to ever compete for the this title, I was able to be a part of history in a tangible and memorable way. And let me just say that the experience was priceless.

I've actually never competed for anything before - at least not on such a large scale. Let's see, I competed in a 4-H competition in the fourth grade and won first place. I had cheerleader try-outs in the seventh grade and made it - 1 of the only 2 seventh graders to get picked, I might add. I tried out for marching band in the eighth grade and won a spot - most times eight graders become alternates. I know, all these are pretty trivial, right?

In college I had to compete to get into the nursing program. Having room for 40 students only, the program was very competitive. Needless to say I got in. But this was no great feat either. Having sat out of college for 3 years, I was pretty eager to make a better future for myself. So as you can see, I'm not a very competitive person by nature. I guess I'd been too afraid of failing until now.

Competing for Miss Nappturality was the first time I ever really competed for something.

I didn't look at someone else winning as a failure for me, though. Hindsight has lead me to believe that this was most likely my first failure, because it was the first time I've ever had the courage to try something as big as this, and especially while the whole world had been given the opportunity to watch. So I really do see it as a step forward for me and as a true success. I learned so much about so many things during those 10 weeks. And I learned a lot about me.

All the contestants were so beautiful. Any one of them could have been Miss Nappturality, because each and every one of them was so unique. No stereotypical, cookie-cutter ladies here! I am proud to have been one of them. I was also proud of the fact that I was holding my own with these young women. Hoping to NOT sound vain here, because it's not my intention, but here I was almost 40 years old, but I was just as vibrant and my skin was just as flawless as these ladies in their twenties. Yeah, I definitely think that was something I should be able to toot my own horn about ;-). And I actually prided myself on not wearing any makeup in the beginning of the competition. That was until I figured out I was going about it the wrong way. You see, in the beginning I thought that it was not only about natural hair, but also about just being NATURAL!

I really appreciated when the judges began to give us feedback on each challenge. Dee, of, was the Paula Abdul of the competition. She kept it sweet and encouraging always. Wilbur, fashion designer and owner of, was the Simon Cowell. He kept it real, and I mean real! The first bad critique I got from him made me shift it into fifth gear quick, fast, and in a hurry. But I have to admit, I was a little disappointed that Jasmine, owner of Eden Body Works, didn't join the other judges in giving all of us weekly feedback on the challenges. I mean we were competing to be the Eden Body Works Spokesmodel.

The challenges were quite challenging, to say the least. They were time consuming and pretty demanding, but Going-Natural made sure we had all the products, supplies, and accessories we needed to get through them all. And in the end we were able to keep them. That was definitely a nice surprise and added bonus.

The Miss Nappturality Contest was a very needed beauty pageant. To give our people a contest of their own, and let us shine, and let us celebrate our natural beauty was not only a brilliant concept, which with a lot of hard work was birthed into fruition, but it has also paved a path to a new road of higher understanding, not only for the black community, but for all the other diverse cultures making up this melting pot called America. I believe it was Zavi who admitted she didn't really know why she first entered Miss NP, and what exactly she expected to gain from it. She stated she later found her answers during the competition. I found that to be an extraordinary statement and a true testament that this was in fact a learning journey.

I walked away from Miss NP with a new sense of self and a new sense of beauty. I've been fortunate, because I've felt comfortable in my own skin for a while now, but today I can truly say that I feel comfortable in my own skin and in my own hair! I am so grateful.

Sarah, Erica, Zavi - you ladies are beautiful and fabulous! Can't wait to see what's in store for you.

Tiana, not only are you beautiful and fabulous, but you are the new face of Eden Body Works and MISS NAPPTURALITY 2008.

Congratulations. You rocked it!
and I wish you much success.

Peace, Love, & Light,


And here's my journey with Miss NP: