2018 miss black uga

Contestants in the 2018 Miss Black UGA Pageant surrounding the winner, University of Georgia Sophomore Christelle Anani.

University of Georgia Sophomore Christelle Anani had never competed in a pageant before college until she won the 2018 Miss Black UGA Pageant earlier this month.

Anani, a marketing and international business major from Lawrenceville, competed and won the 41st-annual pageant hosted by the Zeta Psi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority on April 14.

“I promised myself that in college I wanted to become a better version of myself,” Anani said. “I realized I can do anything I put my mind to, and putting that thought in my head led me to be in the pageant.”

The theme of this year’s pageant was “‘Queen-ish: A New Queen Crowned,” a spinoff of the television show “Black-ish.”

The competing women held different platforms, upholding a specific cause to promote. Anani’s platform focused on self love and positivity. One of her goals was to inspire other women and girls to love who they are and be themselves.

“We want the winner of the competition to be graceful and elegant, and when she presents herself on campus she is a spokesperson for our community,” said Delta Sigma Theta President Taylor Wilson said. “She should care about the community and community service, have good grades and be an example.”

The pageant was originally created because of the exclusion of black students from participating in the Miss UGA competition, Wilson said.

"There is still a lot of community involvement, and it’s beautiful that we have more opportunities now.”

- Taylor Wilson, Delta Sigma Theta president 

“When black students first got here, we weren't allowed to participate in the Miss UGA Pageant,” Wilson said. “We had to create our own space to do some of the things that white students could do.”

To be able to compete in the competition, potential women do not have to be a part of the sorority. They send in transcripts, an application, an essay and go through an interview process. More than 30 women applied this year, and six made it to the actual pageant.

Tickets are $15 at the door and $10 if bought beforehand. Wilson said almost $500 was raised at the door alone. All of the money raised at the event, both from the competing women and from ticket sales, goes toward a scholarship for senior high school girls in the Athens-Clarke County community.

This year’s event raised enough money, for the second year in a row, to offer scholarships to three girls who are planning to pursue a college education.

“This year we had over 100 people at the pageant,” Wilson said. “Most of the people that attend are usually supporters of the girls, but this year there was more student involvement than we anticipated.”

The pageant has five different parts: an opening dance, a platform speech, talent, evening wear, and question and answer.

“We want to promote body positivity throughout the competition.”

- Taylor Wilson, Delta Sigma Theta president 

“We don’t have a bathing suit portion, or make the contestants show more of their body than they are comfortable with,” Wilson said. “We want to promote body positivity throughout the competition.”

Judges pick a winner based on points accumulated from each section. Different pageant winners typically judge the competition, including the winner of Alpha Phi Alpha’s Black and Gold Pageant and the current Miss UGA Holly Haynes.

Although the event was more popular when it first began, Wilson said Miss Black UGA is still important for the community.

“Our community is more open to black students competing in the Miss UGA competition,” Wilson said. “However, it still hasn't taken away the meaning from this event. There is still a lot of community involvement, and it’s beautiful that we have more opportunities now.”

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