National Miss Woman of Excellence Contestant: Adrienna Etienne

Hello Everyone! My name is Adrienna Etienne, a sophomore at Florida International University, majoring in Public Relations while minoring in Marketing. I joined BFDC Spring 2015 and after the first meeting I automatically knew that it would be a place where I would grow into the women I intend to be. One thing I love about BFDC is the courage the other members have for you. They are your family encouraging you to flourish in all aspects, and they are their to help you not hurt you. It can’t get any better than that!

The country I will be representing is France.

Love,
Adrienna Etienne
FIU Miss Woman of Excellence

Loving Yourself by Guest Blogger Alexis George

Loving Yourself

I remember being told as a seventh grader that I would have to cut my hair because of split ends. When my hairstylist turned the chair around to show me my new look, I broke down. I had never worn my hair so short. At the time, short for me was at the neck. My face felt so open. I was so worried that everyone else would think that my hair was short, but I quickly found that no one had even noticed. It was then that I realized that I was not my hair, or my clothes, or any other materialistic thing that I worried other people would judge me for. Those are just accessories.

At some point in our lives, we may have been told how important it is to love ourselves. I have found that this requires taking the time to really get to know and embrace our strengths and weaknesses. The latter is often times challenging. In a society where validation is sometimes sought through the amount of likes you receive on Instagram and Facebook, or the amount of views you receive on snapchat, self-love is unfortunately standing on a balcony ready to fall over the edge. Media has shaped the way that we view our own beauty.

It is important that we take a moment to reflect on how we feel about ourselves and not reflect so much on how other people view us. Ask yourself, do I wear makeup because I want to, or because I feel like I’m not pretty without it? Do I wear extensions because I do not feel comfortable wearing my natural hair? If you find that you wear makeup or extensions etc. because you are not confident in your natural beauty that is perfectly okay. Feeling comfortable in your own skin is the ultimate goal, but like any goal it takes time, determination, and dedication to achieve them.  

Take steps to build your confidence. Write compliments on post it notes and read them every day, or look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are perfect flawed but that is okay. Find what works for you and stick to it. You have to love yourself more than anybody else does. If you do not embrace who you are then no matter how much someone else loves you, it will never feel like enough. So be sure to explore the deepest depths of your inner self.

If you ever feel like you are not beautiful in your natural skin, just remember that there is “no need to fix what God already put his paintbrush on (J. Cole).” Self-love is the best love, and it is the one kind of love that no one can ever take away from you. Whatever you do, say, or wear own it and rock it.

BFDC Love,

-Alexis

National Miss Woman of Excellence Contestant: Christi Owiye

Hey there everyone! My name is Christi Owiye, and I am a senior at the University of South Florida. I am majoring in Mass Communications and minoring in Africana Studies. I am so excited to be graduating this semester. It’s been an amazing four years, but my time at USF is certainly expiring. At USF, I serve as the Public Relations Chair of the Black Female Development Circle, and I am so proud to be representing my chapter in the Miss Woman of Excellence Scholarship Pageant. Though I am Jamaican and Nigerian, I will be representing the gorgeous nation of Haiti, or Ayiti, for this year’s pageant. It’s an honor. Haiti was the first Black nation to gain independence via a slave revolt, and I hope to symbolize a nation of such pride and strength with grace and appreciation.

The Black Female Development Circle is very dear to my heart, and for this reason, it seemed inevitable that I would participate in this pageant. Within BFDC, I appreciate how unapologetic I am with my sisters. It is in my nature to be authentically me at all times, but with BFDC, this authenticity is accepted and appreciated. I enjoy our sense of humor and our ability to be supportive of one another. I serve as an executive board member for the Black Student Union as well, and my BFDC sisters ALWAYS support me at those events as well. Feeling a sense of community, honesty and support are crucial to building a sisterhood. I am elated that the USF Chapter of the Black Female Development Circle, Inc. enables me to not only be a recipient of these emotions, but a giver of them as well.

As we turn our focus towards the pageant, I feel confident that my sisters will continue to support me in all my endeavors, and I fully plan to do the same. It’s always a great day to be a woman of excellence in royal purple!

National Miss Woman of Excellence Contestant: Kristi Brownlee

Hello everyone, I am Kristi Brownlee. I am representing the University of Miami chapter of the Black Female Development Circle in this year’s Miss Woman of Excellence Scholarship Pageant. I am currently a junior studying Public Health on the Pre-Medical track.

Female unity and empowerment are values that I uphold and advocate for. The reason I joined BFDC is because I was introduced to a group of like-minded women that upheld these same values. I love that the women of BFDC are my confidants and my supporters. Being the representative of my chapter was the least I could do to advocate and promote the values that we hold close to our hearts.

This year, in accordance with the pageant theme –Excellence Around the World –I will be representing the Dominican Republic. This country’s rich and emotional history, specifically pertaining to the struggles and triumphs of Afro-Dominicans, has been influential in my efforts to justly portray and represent it. The racial tensions within this country and the corresponding social segregation are reminiscent of racial disparities in the United States. Thus, in my efforts to be a representation of excellence around the world, I am appreciative of this country’s history and I look forward to what this pageant has in store. Be blessed!

To Educate, Explore, Enhance, and Celebrate Womanhood