While we are constantly running to redefine and reshape our looks, here are two intellectual, smart and beautiful women who won prestigious titles while proudly flaunting their natural looks.
We live in a world where people compete to make themselves look better and beautiful every day. Beauty standards projected by magazines, social media and celebrities have influenced our sense of style and have also redefined our concepts of what can be considered beautiful. While we are all modifying our looks and fixing the "imperfect", there are some people who embrace their natural looks and inspire us to do the same. The 2019 beauty pageant for Miss USA and Miss Teen USA saw the winners flaunt their natural curls and completely own the stage.
According to MSN, the beauty pageant that took place on Thursday crowed Miss North Carolina Cheslie Kryst, a full-time attorney, as Miss USA 2019. Rocking her natural long beautiful curls, the 27-year-old described herself as the "weird kid" with a "unibrow" who is now part of the first generation of truly empowered women.
The confident beauty told reporters that she was not nervous during the elimination and was just happy to be in the finals. "All I could think was, 'This is really cool,'" she said to MSN when asked about her feelings as she waited for the winner to be announced. She also recalled that watching her mother ride a horse-drawn carriage in a parade when she was named Mrs. North Carolina in 2002 inspired her and developed her interest in pageants.
"It was a time in my life when I didn't' know who I was and wasn't confident in myself. I was that little weird kid who had a unibrow and didn't have any friends. My hair was always pulled back. I thought I want to be just like her," she told MSN.
Kryst, who competed against other beauty queens who worked as various professionals such as journalists and entrepreneurs, is a civil litigation lawyer who does pro-bono work for prisoners. She is licensed to practice law in two states.
And just a week prior to this win, Kaliegh Garris, an 18-year-old girl from Connecticut, was crowned Miss Teen USA 2019, reported People. The girl who accepted the crown in great joy and disbelief held her face in her hands and cried as she jumped up and down in delight. She flaunted her natural curls as she accepted her sash and crown and took her first ramp walk as Miss Teen USA.
The girl who shook as she walked proudly on the stage with her deserved title and voluminous natural hair, has exhibited her beautiful curls throughout the competition. Garris has worn her natural hair through all national and regional Miss USA pageants, occasionally tying it into an updo. However, she has also experimented with different looks in the past.
Garris told Refinery29 that she prepped her hair by herself before the competition. “I know what I look like with straight hair, with extensions, and with my curly hair, and I feel more confident and comfortable with my natural hair,” she told in the interview quoted People.
The 18-year-old girl is not just beautiful but also a very talented and accomplished teen. Apart from being a trained dancer, she has also founded an initiative for disabled people called We Are People 1st, in honor of her disabled sister Chauntel. The movement is focused on educating youth “on how to respectfully discuss/speak to people with a health issue or disability.” She also hopes to fight the stigmas associated with disabilities through the initiative. The teen also hopes to pursue her dream of becoming a trauma nurse in the future.
The two women who proudly flaunted their natural look were not just symbols of superficial beauty standards but are great examples of intellect and empowerment. Here's to more inspiring women like them! May we know them, may we be them.