Pageant seeks ‘diamonds in disguise’

Cayla Maurer, Verge Editor

Eight women will compete for the title of Miss Black EIU at the 44th Annual Miss Black EIU Scholarship Pageant at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Miss Black EIU contestants are: Whitney Turner, Brianna Littlejohn, Tionna Alderson, Sade Martin, Alexandria Neff, Anisha Coleman, Carolyn Davis and Mariah Scott.

This year’s pageant theme is “Diamonds in Disguise: A Ladies Guide to Refinement.”

Contestants will be judged in five areas including: creative expression, talent, African garment, evening wear and an impromptu question.

Alexis Lambert, a senior psychology major, is this year’s coordinator of the pageant after being crowed as Miss Black EIU in 2014.

Lambert said this year’s pageant is bigger and better as far as an organization because of the meetings, interviews and practice that has happened.

The first Miss Black EIU Pageant took place in February of 1971 when African American women wanted a place to showcase their talents and represent their culture, Lambert said.

Lambert said she enjoyed taking part in Miss Black EIU because she got to see the historical significance behind the pageant as well as learning more about herself.

“Actually winning it was like ‘Oh my God! I’m a part of something bigger than myself,’” Lambert said.

Moniesha Curry, a senior psychology major and co-coordinator, said all participants have to put in countless hours, effort and energy into becoming what it takes to win this pageant.

“It is very time consuming,” Curry said. “It’s like taking on another class.”

Brinton Vincent, a graduate advisor for the Black Student Union, said the contestants have been preparing for the pageant for four months having three to four hours’ worth of practice each night.

“It’s great to see the girls flourish and grow into young women,” Vincent said. “They expose some very personal parts about their home lives and pasts.”

Vincent said that people who walk into this pageant will experience something completely new to them.

“This is not your typical Miss America Pageant,” Vincent said.

Curry said it is important to attend this event because it is the last event for African-American Heritage Month and it shows who African American women are.

“The pageant showcases African American culture and it also shows diversity within,” Curry said.

Doors will open at 5 p.m. for a social hour.

People will have the opportunity to see portraits of all the contestants, read contestant biographies and have snacks.

Tickets are available online for $8 at and $10 at the door. VIP tickets are also available online for $10 and $15 the door.

Cayla Maurer can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].