A former Miss Black Ardmore Pageant winner is bringing something new to the proceedings this year, and she hopes Ardmore girls will benefit.
Zaundra Grant, an Ardmore native, Miss Black Ardmore winner and bestselling author, will serve as a judge for this year’s pageant. She said she wanted to give something back to Ardmore when she returned and planned I Am Becoming, a workshop for girls and their mothers, set for the night before the pageant, as a result.
“I want them to understand they’re the only ones in their way,” Grant said. “I want them to give themselves permission to get out of their own way.”
Grant said the event will be free and open to the public, and she plans to hold subsequent ones. The workshop is meant to hone in on personal motivations, long-term goals and developing confidence. Grant said the presentation will touch on four main points: Who you are, what do you want, why do you want it and what’s stopping you?
“It could be a little emotional, and I intend for it to be that way,” Grant said.
The workshop will begin with a spaghetti dinner at 7:30 p.m., followed by recognition of the Miss Black Ardmore contestants and recognition of local sponsors.
Grant said she’ll speak about some of her personal experiences during the presentation.
“It’s not pretty, it’s just real,” Grant said.
Next up will be a vision board party, where guests will use magazine clippings and art supplies to put together motivational collages to take with them. Grant said after the workshop, pageant contestants will receive facials and skincare advice.
Grant won the Miss Black Ardmore pageant in 1990, earned her bachelor’s from Langston University, then her MBA from the University of Phoenix. She said the pageant was an important, positive experience for her as a teenager.
“It was the thing to do back then, it was kind of a rite of passage,” Grant said. “My heart hurt when I heard there were only four girls this year.”
She said there were between eight and 12 contestants during her competition, and it gave her an opportunity to bond with the other contestants.
“I think it’s a matter of personalities,” she said. “These days, (teenagers) have more things competing for their attention than we had. Overall, when you think about pageants, they used to be a bigger deal.”
There will be 75 spots available in the workshop. Grant said materials would be provided, but guests can bring their favorite magazines for their vision boards if they’d like.
“Before we can start, we must stop,” Grant said. “Stop fear, negative self-talk, and fearing judgement from others.”
Dinner will begin at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 29, at the Courtyard Marriott on Rockford Road in Ardmore. Guests can register at https://bit.ly/2FhfjPt.