The She Is! Miss Virgin Islands 2008, and my second pageant platform featured queen! It was such an honor to have a former Miss Virgin Islands state title holder take part in my project to promote the benefits of pageantry in relation to building self esteem in young women. Having been a first runner up before capturing the title, Shamika has proven above all else that she is a fighter. She mentions the support she received from the MAO, and through the Miss America pageant system she realized her purpose and passion for assisting her community through her involvement with HIV awareness and prevention! Check out the entire interview below:
Tell us about yourself:
My name is Shamika Thomas. I am a 28 year old resident of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. I am a graduate of the University of the Virgin Islands with a BA in Biology and I’m currently completing my Masters in Public Health at Benedictine University. During my reign as Miss Virgin Islands in 2008-2009, my platform was Prevention and Awareness of HIV/AIDS. I currently work as a Director of a HIV prevention program. I am completely honored to be a part of this project!
Why did you compete for Miss VI?
I competed for Miss Virgin Islands because it afforded me the opportunity to represent the USVI in Miss America, but it also provided the opportunity to further my education through the scholarships provided.
What did you learn about yourself during the pageant?
It is as Miss VI that I really realized my true passion about public health issues. I am a very vocal person and being Miss VI gave me an outlet to share and discuss my opinions not just locally but on a national and international level as well. I also learned that being humble, having faith, and remaining positive goes a long way.
What did you do to prepare for the pageant?
The year before I was selected as Queen in 2008, I was the first runner up to Ms. Janesha John in 2007. It is from that very moment that I was able to reflect on how I could improve my platform and other components I felt a queen should possess. For the whole year, I took charm and poise classes, improved my modeling technique, and strengthened my platform issue to one that I was really passionate about. I began to search for a song for performing talent that not only demonstrated my vocal ability but told the story about how my life was being transformed. This journey was not without trials, but I persevered despite the many obstacles that I faced.
Do you think that pageants are a good opportunity for young women? Why or Why not?
I do feel that pageants are a good opportunity for young women as long as they remain humble and recognize that a crown does not define who you are, it is only one aspect of you. It is an experience in your book of life, not the title of the book. Even if your attempt at the crown is not successful, know that it is not the end of the world, but a learning experience for another great opportunity. Pageants can build character and self-esteem. Thus, I would recommend any young women to explore the possibilities if they are interested.
What has been your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience as Miss VI was the overwhelming responses and support I received in Las Vegas and California. I truly felt like royalty.
Has pageantry assisted you in accomplishing any professional or personal goals? How has it done so/ not done so?
Pageantry has assisted me in accomplishing my personal goals as I changed my career path from dentistry to public health after fulfilling my yearlong commitment to service in HIV prevention. I have since enrolled in graduate school to study public health and I currently work in the HIV prevention field.
Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this project