How the Miss Black and Gold Pageant Changed Me

By Taylor Vinson, The Black Bear - Last year, I participated in the Miss Black and Gold Scholarship Pageant hosted by the Sigma Theta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

When I first signed up, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. It’s always been my fear and dream to perform poetry in front of people, and when I learned of the talent portion in the pageant, I saw it as an opportunity to achieve that. I’ve always been a shy girl and making friends can sometimes be challenging at first.

I’d like to think I’m outgoing in my own way, but sometimes, it takes a while for me to show that.

The pageant was a great way for me to step out of my comfort zone.

Taylor poses with Pageant coach, BnG 2011 and MUA, Tiara Hudson-Johnson, and Hair Stylist and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Kathryn Blair
Photo credit: Nate Slaughter.

We practiced a few times a week and had to learn an “Alpha stroll and step,” We had to prepare a speech, a talent, and sell ads to local businesses for the ad book. We also had to walk in a swimsuit on stage and answer a question in a formal dress to illustrate our intellect. It took a lot of work!

Overall, the pageant meant growth to me. After practicing so much and growing closer to my pageant sisters, when I won the title of Miss Black and Gold 2014, it meant so much more to me than when I started. I had overcome my fears. I knew, then, that I could do everything I’ve always wanted to, as long as I put in the time.

On Nov. 8, 2014, I had my district’s pageant, where I competed against five other Miss Black and Gold winners from other schools. The second time seemed like even more pressure because I had won before. Now, I had to do it again. I was so stressed during the weeks up until the pageant. I felt like everything I had grown to be had to be proven again.

When I stepped on the stage for the second time trying to win the crown, I promised myself I would do my very best and I not let my fears hold me back. So that’s what I did. I honestly felt excited at the end of the show because I knew I had done my best. Even though I didn’t end up winning, I realized that I didn’t have to keep proving to myself that I’ve grown. Getting on that stage again, being apart of the Black Bear staff and founding Missouri State’s first performance poetry club, Untamed Tongues, is my proof, everyday, of how much I’ve grown and that our dreams aren’t as far away as we think they are.

I highly encourage the Miss Black and Gold Scholarship Pageant on campus. It’s the only thing on campus that is set to highlight African-American women. The pageant builds sisterhood, leadership, and empowerment. It really changed the way I view myself. I’m stronger, more confident, and driven than ever. I know I can accomplish my goals with hard work.

The Miss Black and Gold Scholarship Pageant is held to highlight the beauty, intellect, and leadership of African-American women. The Sigma Theta Chapter hosts their pageant every spring semester at the end of Alpha week, but practice begins the previous fall semester. If you’re interested in participating in next year’s pageant, contact Greg Crew at for more information.

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