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My Black Is Beautiful Ambassador: Update

The time is finally here! The six ambassadors for the My Black Is Beautiful contest have been revealed at the BET Awards.

Last month, I wrote a post about my participation in the contest, which sought to find six women to represent the campaign as ambassadors and inspire other women to be their best selves.

It’s a bittersweet moment for me. While I was not selected as one of the final six (the public voted for the ambassadors on Facebook), I am extremely proud and honored to have made it as far as I did in the competition.

In fact, I, along with the other 11 finalists, was featured on BuzzFeed in an article, “12 Women Who Are Impacting Their Community In A BIG Way.”

mbib buzzfeedI’ll continue to strive to make education something that any and everyone can receive – especially being a scholarship recipient myself. I believe that if you want to go to college, pursue a career, and DREAM BIG, you should have the opportunity to do so, regardless of money or background.

I’m living my dreams thanks to God and the support of family and friends who have stopped at nothing to help me get where I want to go. If I can, even in a small way, give back to them and others, so that they can achieve and reach what they’re seeking, I’ll do it.

Thanks again for the votes…and as one of my favorite quotes says…

” Never, never, never give up” – Winston Churchill

So, if the contest happens again next year, I’m going for it! 🙂

Honoring Female Heroes

Strong lead female characters are becoming more prominent in entertainment and have stories still to be told – it’s just a matter of getting out there and telling them! This was a theme that I took away from the Emerging Female Hero Conference that Women In Film & Television, led by president Anita Long, hosted at the Hilton Houston Southwest.

Day one of the two-day event featured panelists ReShonda Tate Billingsley (best-selling author,  Let the Church Say Amen), Lily Koppel (author, The Astronaut Wives Club) and actress & acting coach Eleese Lester. The panel, moderated by Patricia Gras, discussed topics about writing, publishing, acting and how to find good stories – among other things!

Selfie with author of the "Astronaut Wives Club," Lily Koppel.
Selfie with author of “The Astronaut Wives Club,” Lily Koppel.

WIFT-Houston also honored a local hero, Melanie Lawson, for her dedication to the Houston community. She received WIFT’s Jade Award, presented to her by another journalist and Houston’s first Latina TV reporter, Elma Barrera. The organization gave Barrera the award last year.

Lawson had plenty of support in the crowd as she accepted her award, notably her parents Pastor Bill Lawson and Audrey Lawson, her longtime partner, John Guess, Jr.FOX 26’s Isiah Carey, KPRC’s Mary Benton, and an entire table of ABC 13 supporters including weekend morning anchor, Samica Knight.

Check out my story above (if you haven’t already!) to hear what Lawson has to say about her award and why women should support each other.

Crisis in Comfort

Who do you turn to in times of grief? For people who have been through traumatic events such as natural disasters and shooting incidents, sometimes it’s easier to connect emotionally with animals than human beings. That’s where HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response comes in. The organization sends teams of canines and their handlers into disaster areas (think environments like after Hurricanes Katrina and Ike hit) to support people and help them cope.

HOPE uses volunteers who are specially trained to deal with these high stress situations. According to the website, they’ve been called to schools and military bases and appeared during the 9/11 Ten Year Memorial in 2011, the Arizona wildfires in 2013 and supported the relief efforts after tornadoes struck Indiana in 2012. The site also says that these teams respond free of charge.

HOPE recently teamed with the Public Safety Institute at Houston Community College Northeast to hold training, testing and workshops for potential new HOPE volunteers.

Learn more about what they do in the story I produced about the training, below.


My Black is Beautiful

About a month ago, I saw a tweet from Houston’s Voice about My Black is Beautiful, a contest designed to unite African-American women and promote their beauty inside and out. According to the website, this is their first “nationwide search for six empowering women who can help us inspire black women and girls to become their best selves.”

Those six will become ambassadors who will possibly make appearances at events and appear in product ads for the contest sponsor, Procter and Gamble. Well, *drumroll please,* I’m one step closer to becoming one of those six: I’m a finalist!

From April 26 to May  17, the search took place in four markets: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and DC/Maryland. However, the audition process actually began April 11 when anyone who was interested had until midnight to submit an application online. Out of those who applied, 100 semi-finalists were chosen for a live interview in one of the four markets I listed above. I went to the Dallas interview May 10, met some wonderful ladies and came home with CoverGirl products from the Queen collection.

Dallas Semi-Finalists
Dallas Semi-Finalists
CoverGirl Queen Products
CoverGirl Queen Products

Out of the 100 semi-finalists, the top three from each market advanced to the finalist round (for a total of 12). Videos and pictures of the finalists from the live interviews will be posted to the My Black is Beautiful Facebook page. From May 28 to June 1, the public will vote for their favorite six who will then be named grand prize winners.

My goal is to be one of the six! Winners will be finalists for one year and also will travel to the 2014 Essence Music Festival – an event tied to the contest.  You can vote for me here.

One more note: I have to mention that my dress was designed by my good friend Ksania Lerner. I believe true beauty does come from within and that confidence is sexy and I definitely felt ready to take on anything in that dress. Check out more from her line, Alexenia.

Remember: May 28-June 1, Please vote here!