In order to promote my platform nationally, I will feature a former or current queen every week. In her interview she will give insights on the benefits of pageantry in regards to self esteem, academic success and professional success. My first featured queen is a two time, former contestant of the Miss America Program, a veteran of the US Army Reserve, and an amazingly well rounded young women. Meet my first Platform Featured Queen, Miss V.I. World 2012 Taiesa Lashley!
Tell us about yourself.
I have a passion for singing, reading and cooking. I have 6 siblings and I am a veteran in the US Army Reserve. I love Law and order SVU and I am terrified of snakes. My career goal is to become a hospitality professor.
Why did you compete for Miss World VI?
It has always been a dream of mine to be an ambassador for my territory. When the opportunity arrived I decided to take a chance and compete for the title. It was my last year to be eligible for the Miss World competition before I aged out so I figured I had nothing to lose. I also love the fact that Miss World travel and supports charitable causes. Community service is something that I am very passionate about. I volunteer a great deal, so it seemed like the perfect job for me!
What did you learn about yourself during the pageant?
I have always considered myself a positive person. My Miss World experience put my positivity to the ultimate test. My competition wardrobe was lost by the airlines so I went 5 weeks without a wardrobe while in China for the Miss World Pageant. At first I was very unhappy and wanted to give up, but I felt as though I would be letting my supporters down. After a week I realized I to become mentally tough and stay as positive as possible. The contestants were extremely kind and gracious enough to lend me clothing throughout the competition. Once I overcame that mental obstacle it made it easier for me to represent my home. I managed to be the recipient of extraordinary kindness and gain friend around the world. Becoming and remaining positive made my experience priceless.
What did you do to prepare for the pageant?
I started attending the gym and eating healthier. I also worked on my interview skills and my talent. I did not have a lot of time - roughly 4 weeks- but I made the time that I had count.
Do you think that pageants are a good opportunity for young women? Why or Why not?
Most definitely. I especially think that pageants that offer scholarships like the Miss America Competition are great opportunities for women. The focal points in these pageants are not solely on beauty. It is about being a community service oriented, a great speaker, being mentally and physically fit and successful academically. These attributes are not only essential for a pageant but for life in general.
What has been your most memorable experience?
Performing in the talent finals for the 2012 Miss World Pageant has got to be one of the most memorable and cherished memories. The contestants were very supportive and it was truly an honor to share my talent with people from across the globe.
Has pageantry assisted you in accomplishing any professional or personal goals? How has it done so/ not done so?
I have won over 20,000 in scholarship funds from competing in pageants over the years. Almost half of that amount came from the Miss America Pageant System (Miss VI 1st runner in 2008 and 2009). I am currently working on my M.S degree and eventually will pursue my PhD in Education. Pageants have also helped established me as a role model with in my community. Personally I love to travel and I was able to visit a few cities in China during the Miss World Pageant. After a pageant is over I walk away with more than just a trophy, sash and flowers. That is the reason why love competing in pageants.