The Journey to Miss Ghana USA 2017: Part I
July 6, 2017
On this day, all the contestants met up at a Brooklyn apartment hosted by the Miss Ghana USA CEO and directors.
As my roommate (1st runner up) and I approached our fellow pageant sisters, a brief wave of intimidation passed through both of our bodies. I specifically noticed some of their faces were slightly unexcited. Yet, my excitement and joy radiated through my bright smile. Then there was a shift.
My petite frame may have shocked the other women, in contrast to my bold and outspoken personality which is apparent through my social media platforms. My bare face, too, may have took the ladies by surprise, in contrast to my glamorous image on social media as well.
I think here is where shallow judgement got tossed out the window.
I went on to embrace my pageant sisters and compliment them. I would not allow that brief wave of intimidation hinder the true woman I am. Envy, jealousy, and malice often find ways to create gaps between women, but I refused to be a victim. This was not a competition to me. This mindset would serve me well in my journey.
The CEO and directors facilitated a debrief of the pageant contracts. As we discussed the Miss Ghana USA reign obligations, I had a moment of nervousness. After discovering that Miss Ghana USA must have a specific geographic location status, I began wondering:
“I’m studying abroad this fall and potentially a whole year…what if I win, could I even fulfill these duties?”
“Does this mean I have to drop out of this pageant?”
“God why would you bring me this far just so I would be told I am not qualified?”
Again, I would not let this brief moment of nervousness hinder the true woman I am.
So, I asked the Holy Spirit what to do and He reminded me of who I was and why I am here in the first place…
I remained calm, focused, and positive.
I inquired about the conditions under which Miss Ghana USA can traveling during her reign.
“Spread your wings!”
-the CEO responded.
Then I advocated for myself, as usual, and I discovered a resolution.
“Wow God, you would even want my reign to be a testimony…” I thought.
Later on, the Miss Ghana USA contestants and directors set out for community service at St. John’s Bread & Life in Brooklyn. This was a new experience for me because I had never been to a food pantry nor do I know of the ones that exist in my city.
It was wonderful to watch how this system serves community members. When I discovered that anyone was eligible to receive goods from the food pantry, it humbled me to see people of various socioeconomic background utilizing this resource.
We returned back to the apartment and began rehearsing our opening number, which was composed of traditional Ghanaian dances such as ‘Adowa’ along with modern moves to afro-beats.
I had never performed an Adowa dance and it was quite an experience messing the dance up but receiving correction along the way. This particular dance cannot be distorted as each move must properly reflect a traditional narrative.
(For more info about Adowa, please see this link: History of the Adowa Dance)
I was determined to get those moves right, and I did.
July 7, 2017
On this day, dress rehearsal was honestly exhausting and long. There were last minute changes and shifts, but all the contestants followed directions and allowed the directors to bring the organization’s vision to life.
I had tons of suggestions, but I had to withdraw for a moment and allow the Holy Spirit to remind me that this was not my show.
I believe I wasn’t the only one who learned a serious lesson about balancing leadership while remaining a team member.
However, an insecure moment came. As it started to creep in, I realized I was comparing myself to another contestant. She displayed so much grace and poise. There was this quietness about her that I was nearly envious of.
“Maybe I’m just too much…I need to calm down…I have way too much energy and I talk way too much,” I thought.
But I had to remember, my outspoken personality is laced with grace and respect. Not many people posses that combination. It is what sets me apart, as a leader.
Afterward, I appreciated the different but equally beautiful forms of grace and poise, we both had.
That night, my roommate Janart, her sister Yvette, my assistant Sandra, my manager Abena, and I lifted up the Lord’s name in worship. With hearts of thankfulness, we committed coronation night into God’s hands. We sealed this journey in the Blood.
July 8, 2017
Coronation day arrived.
At first, I had no butterflies. Then, my nerves kicked in when I had to smile long periods of time on stage. My bottom lip quivered and it would not stop even when I took deep breaths. I guess my mind was so focused on the fact that every move I made and every word I spoke, were under heavy scrutiny.
Backstage, I was irritated for so many reasons. Yet, the calmness and rationality my assistant and manager demonstrated, rubbed off on me. After noticing how they remained at ease in moments I yelled at them or disagreed with them with poor attitude, I realized it was really not that serious.
All my outfits were in-tact. I looked gorgeous. I had my talent piece memorized. My platform is amazing. There was really nothing to worry about.
So why was I worried?
Then, the worry faded away. The Holy Spirit whispered again, reminding me that there was a promise waiting for me…
I refrained from comparing my on-stage performances to the other contestants’ because I remembered that I was set apart.
I kept reminding myself that this entire journey is for God’s glory, so less of me and more of Him.
I kept reminding myself to be kind and supportive to my pageant sisters, as everyone wanted to “win” and nerves were at an all-time high.
I made sure envy, jealously, malice and selfishness did not dwell in my heart.
The outcome of the coronation shocked me, as I was surprised that my roommate was crowned 1st runner up. This woman joined our journey about 1 week prior to coronation night, yet still managed to win the hearts of the audience and judges. I wondered,
How could this happen?
Then I thought about these simple things: Janart had no expectations to win, rather to just humbly enjoy the journey while she could. She genuinely loved the entire team of hardworking, smart, and talented women. She was always willing to lend a helping hand.
She wished everyone well as this was not a competition to her either.
A person with this kind of heart can never lose at anything in life.
So God exceeded her expectation.
When I was crowned, the only thought in my mind was:
“Wow God, You kept Your word.”
It did not sink in until the end of coronation night.
That is when I began to cry, uncontrollably.
I realized, this was just the beginning of a renewed and restored life.
Those who have believed in me and supported me, were able to witness God’s plan come into fruition.
July 9, 2017
On this day, I attended the NYFW Men’s show to congratulate Demass Mensah for the showcasing of his brand ‘Heritage Links’. Demass was also one of my pre-pageant apparel sponsors!
While there, NY based designer of ‘Par patreq’ introduced himself to me and wanted a few photos. The sudden flashes of cameras took me by surprise. This sort of attention was so new, but ironically it humbled me.
That evening, the Miss Ghana USA 2017 official photoshoot was held at Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY.
Another insecure moment came, but this time I felt bad about winning…
God reminded me this position already had my name written on it. I have been prepared to handle the responsibilities to come.
Everyone else will still get to where He desires for them to be.
But this is where He desires for me to be…
The journey to renewing broken communities in Ghana and redefining beauty in my generation, starts now.
Thank you to my sponsors and supporters! You will reap every seed you have sown into my vision.
© 2017 Lucy Yeboah All Rights Reserved