By Dominique Mack
Kiaira “Kay” Nixon isn’t your typical undergrad. Between juggling life as a graduating broadcast journalism student at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), and her new crown as the 2016 Miss Black Florida U.S. Ambassador, the young beauty queen is always on the go. She currently serves as the Secretary for the National Association of Black Journalists, and has even worked as a correspondent with the Student Government Association on campus.
From early on the Jacksonville native had a niche for entering the world of pageantry. With a passion for service and helping others, Nixon once had dreams of becoming Miss America. She put those dreams aside to focus on school but with the help of her mentors Eunice Cofie (former Miss Black Florida USA 2008) and Khalena Knox (Miss Florida International 2014) she decided to relive those dreams.
With a platform that promotes higher education and educating inner city youth, Nixon is heavily involved with various community projects. Some of her ventures include donating to the Big Bend Second Harvest food bank, mentoring children in Tallahassee’s South Side community, and reading to students in classrooms across the state of Florida. This past year Nixon has participated in the Woman empowerment conference and event joined the Tallahassee’s Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. for their Go RED Black Girls RUN event to promote the Awareness of Heart Disease.
Join us in a Q&A as we follow Nixon’s life as Miss Black Florida U.S Ambassador
What is it like being an African American female in the pageant world?
Being an African-American woman in pageantry is sometimes difficult. Through my experience I find that we don’t get as much support as our counterparts. Where I would like for businesses to sponsor my platform or journey to nationals they would simply think it’s a local pageant at the school or something just in Tallahassee. There are times where others don’t take black girls in pageantry seriously because they haven’t heard of many brown skinned women winning pageants. This is why I love my pageant system. The Miss Black U.S. Ambassador system empowers African-American women by enlightening, educating and supporting our dreams. We are taught about other women who are change agents ranging from African-American queens from other systems such as Kenya Moore, Crystle Stewart and Shauntay Hinton to women activist in the sixties. In March, we traveled to Selma, Ala. to learn about the foot soldiers in the March on Selma, who helped establish voting rights. Being a black woman in pageantry goes far beyond the crown, it’s about educating the community.
What are some of your duties as Miss Black Florida U.S. Ambassador?
My duty as Miss Black Florida US Ambassador is to be a change agent in my community. To speak on issues that are holding African-Americans back. My platform is classy, sassy and educated, an education initiative to promote higher education with a focus on inner city youth and teens. I chose this platform because I come from a neighborhood in Jacksonville where it is more likely to sell drugs and become a prostitute than get a college degree. I want to show young women and men that you don’t have to go down the wrong path, you are a leader and if I was able to get a college education you can too.
How important is it to stress the importance of beauty and positivity to young black girls?
It is very important for young girls to see another black woman who is in leadership because it gives them inspiration. Studies have shown that we often look up to people we can relate to. If images of black women who are fighting, cursing and not embodying self-love are flooding media outlets who do you think little girls are going to look up to?
How have pageants changed your life?
Pageantry has made me fearless. I went from not believing that I will win any pageant at all to being a national state queen. I have also been able to instill words of wisdom to the next generation of future leaders.