The beauty industry has long been criticized for its lack of diversity for Black women, but California’s latest pageant is breaking barriers and shattering stereotypes. In a historic moment, five stunning Black women have been crowned as winners in the state’s beauty pageant! This remarkable achievement not only celebrates their individual talents and unique features but also sends a powerful message about inclusivity and representation within the world of beauty.
The HeartShine Pageant System is a California-based beauty pageant that crowns five Black women winners each year. The Pageant was founded in 2012 by Dr. Tonya Davis, who saw a need for a positive and affirming space for Black women to celebrate their unique beauty.
Each year, the HeartShine Pageant system hosts two pageants: the Miss HeartShine Pageant, for women ages 18-28, and the Ms. HeartShine Pageant, for women ages 29 and up. Both pageants are open to all Black women, regardless of experience or background in pageantry.
Each of these young women is immensely talented and accomplished in her own right. For instance, Fletcher is a model and entrepreneur who has graced the covers of magazines such as Vogue and Elle; Johnson is a singer-songwriter who has released her own EP; Johns is a student at Stanford University; Oyewole is an activist working to empower girls and young women of color; and Woods-Robinson is an actress who has appeared on television shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “NCIS: Los Angeles.”
Black women have long been underrepresented in the world of beauty pageants. In fact, it wasn’t until 1971 that a Black woman was even allowed to compete in the Miss America pageant. And, while there have been a handful of Black Miss USA winners over the years, they are still vastly outnumbered by their white counterparts.
So, what does this recent win mean for representation in pageants? Well, it’s a step in the right direction. It shows that beauty pageants are slowly but surely becoming more inclusive and representative of the population as a whole. And, hopefully, it will inspire more Black women to compete in these types of competitions.
This moment is definitely changing the pageant industry. For years, the industry has been criticized for being exclusionary and elitist, with only a narrow standard of beauty that catered to White women. But now, with five Black women winning major titles in the California beauty pageant, it’s clear that the industry is evolving to become more inclusive.
In a society that often tells Black girls that they are not enough, seeing five Black women crowned as winners of a beauty pageant is a much-needed dose of inspiration. These young girls can now see that they, too, can be beautiful and valued just as they are. This is an important step in helping them to love themselves and reach their full potential.