Originally from Savannah Ga. and holding the title for Miss Black Savannah, 18-year-old Briana Ward is a freshman chemistry major here at Georgia Southern University who was crowned Miss Black Georgia. The spoken-word poet and advocate for the empowerment of women of color everywhere also has dreams of running for Miss Black USA in the future.
Q: Do you feel that people need to know about Miss Black Georgia?
A: Most definitely, because all you hear about is Miss Georgia, mainly Miss America, or Miss USA. But there’s another system you can run in. There’s tons of systems you can run in and I particularly picked this one system because it’s for the empowerment of black women. I love black women and I love my skin. I love women of color and I feel like women of color are very unappreciated at times so, getting young girls involved in this will really help us stand out. I feel as black women, we need to take our confidence and our strength back most definitely. Running in this really helps me get that message out there and it’s not that I only stand on that platform but that’s one of my big things that I want to get out there to other girls.
Q: What do you do with your title and what is your platform?
A: For my title, with Miss Black Georgia, I have to do one appearance a month but I can do more. My platform is ‘Kissing Cancer Goodbye’ and it’s basically pediatric oncology research because I want to be an oncologist. It’s just the promotion of cancer research, but I dibble and dabble in just a little of every appearance. I love talking clearly, I love speaking, and I’m very big on education too.
Q: When did you start getting into pageants?
A: I started pageants recently, not long at all… Now I can remember doing some when I was younger but I wasn’t heavy into it and I wasn’t as serious about it as I am now, knowing that I can impact as much as I do. So, I would say I did a few when I was younger, like no more than five but I can barely remember those. I want to say right when I got into high school l got back into it. Then I got back into it really heavy senior year, heavy with the big titles.
Q: Would you say that this is something you’re passionate about?
A: I’m not passionate about the pageants, I’m passionate about the work I can do through the pageants and after the pageants.
Q: What are some misconceptions of pageantry that bug you?
A: When people hear “pageants” they think, “pretty, stuck up, girl who says this platform, who says all this good stuff, and she does nothing with her title. She just sits there and looks pretty in her pictures.” That is so not me. Yes I’m pretty, but I work hard at everything. Nothing is handed to me through pageant season. Yeah, they’re paying for me to go to school, but guess what, I have to keep up a certain GPA to keep that scholarship or they’re going to take that money back and my mom’s going to have to pay. Outside of that, “their platform is going to be about something they know nothing about and they don’t act on it.” It’s like, “you did all that just to win?” To me, it’s more than winning. It’s like, you really have a chance. People look up to you now. I really have to stay focused because I am I guess a figure and girls look up to you, and I have to be careful of what I do and what I say.