Traditionally, beauty pageants have always been a superficial competition, focusing primarily on the physical beauty of its contestants. Falling in line with the traditional standards of beauty, most of the women who have participated in these events have had to subject themselves to extreme diets, and the pressures of having to alter the way that they look, just to meet the standards of those judging them.
It has been a real challenge in the past for black women to gain this sort of recognition because of their natural curves, and naturally kinky,curly, or coily hair textures.
As the natural hair movement continues to gain popularity, and make its way onto the beauty scene, more and more women of color are stepping out and being recognized for their true, natural beauty.
Meet Dawn Matthews, Miss Black Florida USA 2015!
For four years, Dawn Matthews has been relaxer free. Starting with a big chop in 2011, she claims she has been through it all from heat damage to protective styles gone wrong. “It’s definitely a journey but its worth it, some days it’s rough and other days I feel like my hair and I can conquer the world. Dawn will compete in the 2015 Miss Black USA pageant held in Washington DC in August. She hopes to not only win the title but also to use her platform to broaden the scope of pageant perfection. “I think it’s important in the world of pageantry for black women to showcase their natural hair or even just embrace natural styles. Little girls with kinks and coils need to know that they don’t have to put chemicals in their hair or flat iron their hair to feel like a Queen and feel glamorous.
Dawn Yvonne Matthews has managed to inspire all those around her to achieve greatness. Using her personal setbacks and triumphs as motivation, she finds fulfillment in enlightening at-risk minority youth and young adults on the importance of education and cultural pride.
Born and raised in Delaware, Dawn’s family put a heavy emphasis on learning in their household. She recognized the importance of education early in life and considers education to be the great equalizer. Dawn received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Master’s in Educational Leadership from Virginia State University. Her personal mottos include, “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up” and “Education is the great equalizer”.
Her love for children and young adults is accompanied by her love for travel and music. Dawn has spent time in Cozumel, Mexico, Nassau, Bahamas and spent time in Cape Coast, Ghana volunteering in local primary schools. She hopes to visit all 50 states and every continent.
Dawn aspires to open a non-profit organization whose goal is to instill the importance of education and cultural pride to at-risk and minority youth. She will be representing Florida during the 2015 Miss Black USA national competition in August in Washington D.C.
We wish you the best of luck Dawn!