Miss America contestant Cierra Jackson was advised by many not to rock her natural hair on stage, but she did so anyway. The Spelman College graduate won the competition’s swimsuit segment, but lost out on the crown. Even so, she has no regrets.
“I’ve had so many people tell me that I shouldn’t wear my hair naturally curly on stage, but there is a purpose behind that vision,” she said during a Ledger‐Enquirer interview. “It’s to show people that you can still be successful, you can still be amazingly talented and still reach all of your goals. I think that’s a universal message that anyone can grab on to and hold on to in their lives… I’ve been so blessed that the Miss District of Columbia Board has been so open to allowing me to express myself in that way and embraced me choosing to present myself in an authentic way… I know that it happened this way because God destined it to be this way.”
Some believe that if Jackson wore her hair straight, she would have gotten closer to winning the crown. That may be true, but what the naysayers fail to realize is that Jackson knocked down a wall the night of the pageant. She opened the door for other women with kinks and curls to be just as naturally beautiful as she is. Jackson may not have won the crown, but she certainly shifted public opinion and won our hearts.