Members of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity recently held their annual Miss Omega Psi Phi Pageant in the McNair Auditorium.
With a Mardi Gras theme, the pageant opened with a dance featuring colorful masks, followed by three competitions in swimwear, talent and formal wear. Most of the final attention was ultimately graced upon the crowned winner, sophomore DeErra Bradley.
Bradley, who was honored with the title of Miss Omega 2010-2011, had many obstacles while preparing for the pageant.
“(I had a hard time) balancing my school work and the pageant,” Bradley said. “That was my biggest obstacle.”
As she graced the stage in her black, strapless gown for the formal wear portion of the show, Bradley had no idea that she was to be named as this year’s winner.
“I was overwhelmed (when they called my name),” Bradley said. “I really did not think I was going to win. I was in shock. At practice, I would feel like I was one of the weaker people, so I was very shocked.”
Bradley had an idea of what she wants to do with her new title as Miss Omega this year as well.
“As Miss Omega I would like to network a little more because I was never out on campus,” Bradley said. “I kind of always keep to myself. And I (also) just want to be of service to the fraternity whenever they need me.”
Sharmayne Brothers, sophomore, was the winner of the swimwear competition and was also deemed first runner-up of the pageant. Brothers, like Bradley, had her difficulties as well throughout her process.
“(The most difficult part) were the questions and answers because I don’t really like speaking in front of people, and I didn’t want to mess up the answer either, but I think I did well,” Brothers said.
LaKendra Rivers, junior, took home the most awards as the winner in talent and formal wear, the fraternity’s vote for Miss Congeniality, and second runner-up.
“It felt really good (to be honored with so much that night) and it wasn’t even about winning,” Rivers said. “My main goal overall was to just be Miss Congeniality because that was their (the fraternity’s) choice. So I felt that as long as they felt like I was good enough then everything was good.”
Rivers, like Bradley, had her difficulties as well throughout her process.
“(The hardest part of the entire process was) the walk on the formal wear,” Rivers said.
She smiled and laughed jokingly as she said “I hated walking…and I won formal wear which is crazy!”
Evan Gilliard and Yasmean Dixon, FMU graduates of 2009, were the hosts of the pageant. Gilliard and the rest of the workers that put the pageant together had a lot going on as far as setting things up for the big event.
“It was hard work,” Gilliard said. “It took a lot of hours coming up with themes and ideas to actually make it work and making the girls practice hard and pushing them.”
In the end, Gilliard’s favorite part of the entire process was just that – the end.
“(My favorite part) was the crowning of Miss Omega,” Gilliard said. “Seeing the girls’ faces after the whole thing was said and done.”
No contestant left empty handed that night. They all received awards for their participation in the pageant.
Jalissa Newton, senior, was the 2009-2010 Miss Omega Psi Phi. Newton said she has gained much from becoming Miss Omega and she is proud of what she has accomplished as a result.
“I gained a closer relationship with the Omegas as far as helping them out with different things and just coming together to make their events successful,” Newton said. “It helped me with better time management and better prioritizing.”
She took part in helping the girls during their practices as far as giving advice and making sure that they had what they needed for the big day.
“I actually enjoy being in the back helping the girls because I’d rather be in the back helping them than being in the forefront hosting,” Newton said. “I had fun with all of them! I was just cheering them on back there, trying to keep them motivated because it’s easier said than done. You look up there and there are a lot of nerves and it takes a lot of nerves to do that. It’s nerve-racking!”
Newton, who had won the year the title of Miss Omega the year before, described how much effort she and the other people that put the event had to go through. She applauded all of the girls for their effort but had much to say about Bradley as this year’s Miss Omega.
“She had confidence and she presented herself very well,” Newton said. “She spoke really well and intelligently to the judges and her talent was good. It was the way she carried herself and her confidence level. It’s not what you say and what you do; it’s how you say it and how you do it.”
After experiencing what it is like to put together a pageant and working hard for a title such as Miss Omega, several of the girls had advice for girls who aspire to be like them and go for the title.
“I would definitely say balance your schoolwork and the pageant because that was something that I really struggled with and, I mean, if you really want it, go after it and pray because I did,” Bradley said. “I prayed a lot because I really wanted it.”
The first and second runners-up had some words of advice for future participants as well. “Think positive and don’t give up,” Brothers said. “It’s not really that hard.”
Rivers had another outlook about the pageant.
“I would say that you could do anything that you put your mind to, regardless of people talking negative,” Rivers said. “It’s not always about winning. It’s about having fun and enjoying life.”