Aarin Carver, is a Freshman at Alabama State University, majoring in Business and Dance. After college, she plans to move back to Baltimore to help run and expand her family’s business, Studio “A” Modeling Etiquette & Dance Academy. (Courtesy photo)
By Taylor Peck
Special to the AFRO
AFRO: How did you get into pageantry?
Aarin Carver: I was introduced to pageantry by my mother, who is a dance instructor and pageant coach. So, technically ever since I was born! I fell in love with pageants and participated in them until about 7th or 8th grade when I decided to stop all my extra curricular activities to focus on my true passion, dance!
AFRO: How did you find out about the Miss HBCU Teen Pageant?
AC: I was actually scrolling through Instagram one day and saw a post about it. I showed it to my mother, who already knew about the pageant. We talked about it and decided to move forward. I believe that God called me back into pageantry to fulfill a purpose and throughout the process I’ve fallen back in love with pageantry.
AFRO: How do you prepare for a pageant?
AC: You definitely have to practice, and you need to have a coach. I’m fortunate enough to have a mom who is a coach. We practice personal speaking, and of course confidence, because confidence is key in a pageant. We work on my walk, my stage presence, my wardrobe and my talent. I chose to dance for the talent portion of the Miss HBCU Teen pageant. There’s also a physical component to my preparation; as a dancer I had to condition and stay mindful of my appearance as a dancer. Though size doesn’t matter, anytime you’re on stage for a competition you do want to look as though you’re prepared and taking care of yourself.
AFRO: Do you think that pageantry has evolved since the days of Miss America?
AC: Absolutely! We’re making history with the Miss HBCU Teen Pageant. Most pageants are typically run by White people, but now we are starting to see more pageants like Miss HBCU Teen that are fully run by a group of Black people. Our pageant supports education through HBCUs and is honestly just the beginning in a new era of African American ran pageants. So, I’m just super excited and grateful to be able to carry this title and be a part of history!
AFRO: What’s the importance of pageantry in the Black community?
AC: I feel like this world has already brainwashed lots of Black women to make us feel like we aren’t good enough. Being in pageants definitely helps a Black girl find her confidence, her strength, her wisdom, her purpose and pushes her to believe in herself, even if she doesn’t win. Just going through the process and being around other sister- queens in a competition can really help with growth overall and we need that in our communities.
AFRO: What advice would you give a younger girl who might be interested in pageants, but doesn’t know where to begin?
AC: My advice would be to use social media for a good reason, and use it to find somebody who is already participating in pageants. You can look on Instagram or even Youtube. And then connect with someone in your life who is there for you to help you find a studio, or coach or mentor. And look for someone who can motivate you and push you to keep going, so when you’re all alone and feel like you can’t keep going, you can lean into them.
AFRO: Now that you’ve won, how do you plan to use your platform?
AC: I definitely plan to use my platform to advocate for HBCUs and for Black students. Now that I’m at an HBCU, I encourage all Black high school students I meet to strongly consider attending an HBCU. I’ve even shared my goals and the Miss HBCU Teen information with the President of the school so now it’s really in God’s hands.
AFRO: Any fun facts that most people wouldn’t know about you?
AC: I love to have a good time. I used to play basketball and my favorite food is mac n’ cheese!
For more information on the Miss HBCU Teen Pageant visit, www.misshbcuteen.com/, and keep up with Aarin on Instagram @showtime.aarin
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