I met Brittanie back in 2015. At the time, we were each modeling in an annual runway show for a reputable Chicagoland prom and pageant dress boutique. She enthusiastically entered the room with such an infectious smile and introduced herself with an ease of grace and confidence. Personally, I'm a huge fan of a genuinely nice girl, as I'm sure that we've all come across some Regina George's in our lifetime.
Upon discovering that she attained her Bachelor's of Arts degree in Broadcast News from EIU and her Master's degree in Pubic Affairs Reporting from UIS, I have dubbed her the Olivia Pope of the pageant world. She keeps her Twitter followers up to date on current political affairs, while making a name for herself as an influencer. Oh, and she does it all in six inch heels! Okay... maybe not in a pair of Tippy Tops, but I bet she could! What can't this girl do?! Therefore, it's no surprise to me that she was selected to represent our home state of Illinois at the national Miss Black USA 2016 pageant this summer!
Thankfully, I scored the chance to get in touch with the busy beauty queen, landing an exclusive interview to learn all about her and her endeavors. Enjoy!
BJ: Let's start at the beginning, how long have you been competing in pageants?
BB: I entered my first pageant in 2009 competing for the title of Miss Illinois Teen USA. So my journey began 7 years ago!
BJ: What was your motivation to compete in your first pageant?
BB: I have always been drawn into the modeling and acting world. Therefore, I began taking acting/modeling classes in middle school and walked in a few mall and church fashion shows. I knew that pageantry would open the doors for me to walk on more runways and meet people in the entertainment and modeling industry.
BJ: Girl, how does it feel to be the newly crowned Miss Black Illinois USA?!
BB: It’s awesome, I was chosen out of 16 other young women to represent Illinois at the national Miss Black USA competition in August! The reality of being a beauty queen and public figure didn’t really hit until I attended a Vision Board party for girls aged 7-12 years old. One girl was completely shocked when I walked in the door. I was asked if I was a princess and the girls took turns wearing my crown. It really opened my eyes that they’re seeing a black female who was in their shoes and someone they can look up to and that alone is an awesome feeling.
BJ: You're very involved in the community, what do you hope to accomplish throughout your reign?
BB: My platform is to raise awareness for ovarian cysts and ovarian cancer. In November, I began to raise awareness by opting out of wearing pants and only skirts and dresses using the hashtag #NoPantsForOvarianCancer, I did it for a month until my birthday on December 20th. People were sending me messages of support and praise saying they too were sufferers so I think it was mildly successful.
I’m launching round two of my campaign again in February wearing no pants, even whenever I make appearances in honor of the disease.
Also, after the Vision Board party, I’m more drawn to encourage young girls of color to achieve their dreams and to truly go after what they want. When I was younger I was a complete nerd to the definition and spent a lot of my time reading and in the library. One of my personal goals was to receive my Masters’ Degree like my mother. I saw her studying for it when I was younger and I was able to follow in her footsteps last May, so I want to serve as the Nerd Ambassador and promote education for young women.
BJ: Between us, can you share what your talent you will be bringing to the Miss Black USA stage?
BB: Piano – I’ll keep it a mystery as to what song I’m performing but here's a hint: It’s by the King!
Its really been trending lately, What does #BlackGirlMagic mean to you?
BJ: We all have them, name the pageant essential that you can’t live without!
BB: Eyelashes – I went without them once for a fashion show and now I always keep them with me!
BJ: You can only choose one! What is your favorite and go-to beauty product?
BB: Mascara- Currently I coat mine twice with Covergirl’s Lash Blast Volume and Covergirl’s Flamed Out Mascara
BJ: As a pageant girl, what is your favorite moment in pageant history?
BB: Miss America publicly apologizing to Vanessa Williams and allowing her to be the head judge back in September was awe inspiring!! I loved it, it really brought her reign to a full circle. Plus to do it in front of millions instead of behind closed doors was perfect! There’s no better way that moment could have been done.
BJ: How has pageantry influenced you as a person?
BB: Pageantry gave me poise and a sense of purpose. I love competing and what better way to work on myself than practicing the piano, working out, and looking gorgeous! Pageantry also allowed me to explore myself so I can present my best representation to the judges. The months spent preparing for competition, I always write down my future goals, accomplishments, and reflect on the woman I want to portray to the judges. I didn’t really understand this concept until my last pageant. There’s so much more than walking on stage and I worked with some pretty amazing coaches who allowed me to define Brittanie.
BJ: Any words of advice to readers and future competitors?
BB: Be prepared and know yourself! Know who you are and who you want to be. And don’t be scared, nerves are visible on stage so check them backstage.
Connect with Brittanie
Facebook - Miss Black Illinois USA 2016 - Brittanie Nikki
The Miss Black USA Scholarship Organization is a national scholarship competition that celebrates young women of African decent.