Days after winning the first annual Miss Baltimore United States pageant Baltimore Ravens cheerleader Amanda Ross sat down with the AFRO for a chat about life in the spotlight.
AFRO: Where are you from?
Ross: I am originally from Columbia, Md.
AFRO: So how does a girl from Columbia up being Miss Baltimore?
Ross: It just kind of happened. I really meant everything I said on stage. I think that whether or not I’m from Baltimore or the surrounding areas shouldn’t matter, as long as I truly meant what I said I think that’s what really matters.
AFRO: What is your platform?
Ross: My platform is to serve the community and to bring greatness to Baltimore. I plan on changing the image of Baltimore and the perception…so bringing more of the artwork to positive light, showing the history we have here, and highlight the good things our youth are doing here.
AFRO: What is the inspiration for your platform?
Ross: I just felt like there is so much more to Baltimore than what people see…It’s not just high crime or drug abuse or the negative.
AFRO: How did you land in Baltimore?
Ross: I attend Morgan State. I will be graduating this December with a degree in physical education. I originally came here for the cheerleading program, which is one of the top programs in the country.
AFRO: You are also a professional cheerleader correct?
Ross: Yes I am a Baltimore Ravens’ cheerleader. This is my first year.
AFRO: Do you think that you will be able to juggle cheerleading and your responsibilities as Miss Baltimore United States?
Ross: I do think I will. I think a lot of my responsibilities as Miss Baltimore tie into my role as a Baltimore Ravens’ cheerleading so I think it will just help me make a greater impact on the community.
AFRO: Do you think your position as a cheerleader played a part in you winning the pageant?
Ross: Not at all. I think they could feel that I was sincere about my plan for the city of Baltimore. I think they knew that I would put my words to action.
AFRO: What is the pageant atmosphere like?
Ross: Well this is my very first pageant. My mentor, Ciera helped me a lot with my look, helped me answer questions, and explained to me how things were going to go. Once we got to the pageant we had the interview process first. We had to answer questions from four judges who asked us questions about the government, about ourselves, and our platforms. From there we had an introduction on stage, evening gown round, a swimsuit round, and an on stage question round.
AFRO: How did you prepare?
Ross: I did a lot of research. I watched the news. I actually put a CNN app on my phone. I practiced with my parents. I practiced my speech and enunciation of my words. Lots of practice went into it. I found out about the pageant two weeks before it happened. I spent an entire two weeks working on my look, the speech, and researching.
AFRO: What did you win, other than the crown?
Ross: I have free entry into the Miss Maryland pageant so I’ll be competing in that in February. We also received gift certificates.
AFRO: Have you already started working?
Ross: Yes my life has accelerated already. I just started with Reading Partners so I’ll start reading to children once a week. I start training today actually. I want to do a lot but I want to do it right, so I’m taking the steps to plan out every move.
AFRO: Have there been any hardships that shape the woman sitting here today?
Ross: There are. There have been a lot of setbacks and differences as far as my lifestyle and friendships. I think everything helps you grow into a stronger person though. One example would be my academic career. I was supposed to graduate last May but now its December. I had to find out what my priorities were and I had to find out where I wanted to go. Now I’m focused.
AFRO: What do you like to do outside the spotlight?
Ross: I hang out with my family a lot. They are my best friends. I also spend a lot of time with my goddaughter because I want her to be a little me.
AFRO: What are your overall goals in life?
Ross: I want to inspire and be a role model. I want people to look at me and say if Amanda can do it so can I. I want to uplift people overall.
AFRO: What would you like the city of Baltimore to know about their new Miss Baltimore United States?
Ross: I want them to know I am so excited to be Miss Baltimore United States and that I can’t wait to get to get to work and start making a difference in the community.