My Crowning Moment
BY MISS BLACK US AMBASSADOR, EBONY ANDREWS
I'm only a few weeks into my journey as Miss Black US Ambassador 2015. I'm filled with so much joy, excitement and gratitude for the opportunity that I've been granted. And while my imagination has been running wild with ideas and possibilities I often find myself reflecting on what has led me to this point.
When I began this journey a year ago, I was drawn to the organization because of how deeply it reflected my values on community, service leadership, sisterhood and empowerment. From the women leading the organization, to it's mission, to its body of work and presentation, I felt that I had found something that was truly in tune with me. I started my reign ready to be pushed, challenged and inspired...and I was.
This past year I was pushed to not only be engaged with community but to identify ways to make a meaningful and lasting impact. I answered the call to be an "Ambassador of Change" by making new plans for myself that required building relationships with national organizations that could help me support change, especially around health and wellness. This led me to become engaged with organizations like Girl Trek and Black Girl Health, organization that work to motivate and support women pursue a healthier lifestyle. I also started envisioning new projects centered on health and empowerment, many of which will launch over the next year.
I was so excited about the projects that I was working on and possibilities that awaited me that Nationals became an afterthought. I was in the midst of a lot of personal progress and constantly interacting with my Sister Queens. Throughout the year, we had a group chat that we used to continuously connect and support each other. They were a constant source of motivation and laughs. Honestly, when it was time for me to start pulling things together for Nationals, I never set my goal on "winning" or a crown. I didn't really feel like I was in a competition.
For me, Nationals was more of an opportunity connect with my sisters and celebrate, reflect and assess our growth and experiences. I knew that regardless of who walked away with the crown, we'd all be able to continue to build and share our purposes beyond Nationals. With that in mind, I set a few goals for myself during pageant week...
1. To be authentically me.
2. To be memorable and open by leaving pieces of myself with those around me.
3. To enjoy the experience.
My goals were pretty simple, but every one was meaningful to me. And I can happily state that I accomplished all my goals. I never set any expectations of winning but I expected myself to walk confidently in my skin and represent my values. While I was the women that was "crowned" at the final pageant, I gained so much prior to that moment. My spirit was already full and I, as well as my sisters, were already Queens.
As I look back, my crowning moment came way before I was announced as Miss Black US Ambassador 2015...it came when I made the decision to explore my purpose, build my best self, give of myself and love the woman I was becoming.