Meet Justina Hawkins, a senior from the University of Nevada- Las Vegas, who is taking the pageant industry by storm. She currently holds the reigning title for Miss Black Nevada USA!
This month’s campus influencer edition spotlights Justina Hawkins, a hard working senior at UNLV who juggles a full-time student workload and a part-time job while participating in multiple extracurriculars and volunteer engagements, in addition to being this year’s reigning queen for Miss Black Nevada. Anyone who has the pleasure of meeting Justina would know that she is the most confident and determined young woman they have ever had the chance of meeting. It’s a marvel at how she’s able to juggle her social life, philanthropies, and jobs while handling her duties as a queen and a full-time student! With her title, she has made it her mission to impact the community with plenty of positivity. We were able to get an inside look at Justina’s jam-packed life with the interview below!
Kristal: Before we begin, tell us about yourself! (Anything goes: Your Major, Hobbies, Sororities/clubs, hometown, fun facts!)
Justina: My name is Justina Hawkins and I study Psychology and Marketing at the University of Nevada Las, Vegas. I also currently hold the position of Vice President of New Member Education for my wonderful sorority, the Theta Epsilon chapter of Sigma Sigma Sigma! I come from a pretty big family and believe it or not, one of my favorite ways to past the time is hanging out with them. We could really be doing pretty much anything, watching Youtube, playing video games, catching up on our game shows, etc., and it will be one of the most fun things I do throughout my week.
What made you want to enter the pageant industry and specifically Miss Black USA?
Justina: I was introduced to the pageant system through my mother who has competed multiple times throughout the years. A lot of people see pageants as simply a beauty contest but for the most part, it is so much more than that. I specifically chose the Miss Black USA system because even though it has improved in recent years, there is a lack of representation for the Black community in pageantry. This system allows us to thrive and set the example for the girls that look up to us. Many of the women I am competing with are graduate students or are excelling in their career as models, dancers, photographers, etc. It is enlightening to see and it pushes you to strive to do better yourself.
How did it feel to when you won the Miss Black Nevada USA title? What does being Miss Black Nevada mean to you?
Justina: Being chosen to hold the Miss Black Nevada USA title has been a surreal experience. I have always been the type of person to push myself in many areas of my life. Seeing one of your goals come to light is such a surreal experience that can’t be explained. To me, being Miss Black Nevada has meant holding myself to a higher standard. To those that do know me, I am a representation of our state and the community. Not just for black women, but women in general. It is my job to hold myself to a higher standard and but forth my best effort and image in everything I am a part of. Carrying this title has certainly taught me a lot about what I am capable of. I am forever thankful to have been given this title because it has allowed me to learn and grow in ways I never imagined.
With your title, what were your platforms for the 2016-2017 year?
Justina: This year, my platforms have been the Lupus Foundation and Self- Love. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can pretty much attach any of your tissues or organs it chooses to. This is a disease that runs in my family and highly underfunded. My grandmother lost her life to it and I am always willing to try and help to bring awareness.
I also aim to bring about the message of Self-Love to our youth. Being a black girl in this day and age may seem like some elevated, glorious group but in actuality it is hardly ever that way unless you are a certain type of “black”. I always aim to be a voice that shows that you are beautiful, you are accepted. No. Matter. What.
Nationals is coming up, what are you most excited about for it? Anything, you are nervous about?
Justina: I am most excited to travel and explore Washington D.C.. I have only ever been on a plane once in my life so it will be great to go on another adventure in the nations capital! 100% I am most nervous about the final day of competitions. It’s one thing to have faith in your self but extra pressure when you have no many others rooting for you. The last thing I want to do is let down all of my friends, family, and sponsors that saw enough in me to put forth the time, money and effort into my success.
What is your most favorite pageant memory?
Justina: Hands down it has been being able to be a part of the #PreserveYourPretty campaign started through Dr. Myla. Myself and the other Sister Queens (contestants) are a pretty supporting group and being able to put a face to the title through all of their videos has been really fun! If you haven’t seen anything about the campaign I highly encourage you to look up the hashtag on Instagram and join in!
After our interview with Justina, we could see how much of a role model she is for the UNLV community. You can follow Justina on her journey by connecting with her on Instagram: @MissBlackNevada, Twitter: @MissBlackNevada, and Facebook: Miss Black Nevada.
Help fundraise her journey here! www.paypal.me/missblacknevada