Sunday, November 08, 2009
A Courageous Beauty: Mrs. Maryland Essence 2009-Tamika Hall
Angie: Have I got a treat for you! Tamika Hall provided me with a video for this interview. She's very techie savvy and I'm jazzed! I hope you enjoy it too. The interview with my questions and Tamika's answers are below the video. So you have options... watch first and then read the amazing interview or read the interview and then watch the video. Choices, choices!
Angie: Tamika, how did you learn about pageants?
Tamika: I grew up watching pageants on television. It’s funny when I was little I never thought pageants were something I could be part of. Then when I was Nineteen I saw an advertisement in the back of a magazine for Miss Teen of the Nation. I told my mother I wanted to do it and her response was, “Well do it then!” I’ve been hooked ever since!
Angie: What is your platform?
Tamika: My platform or life’s mission is to eradicate dating violence through my program, “Love Doesn’t Leave Bruises!” At the age of 14 I was in an abusive relationship. Because no one was talking about it, I went to my friends for guidance. They were going through the same thing and gave the wrong advice. As I got older I learned that what I’d experienced actually has a name called “Dating Violence.”
My mission is to make sure that schools around the nation are educating their students about dating violence in some form or fashion. Teens are influenced by their peers… with whom they spend the bulk of their time. They MUST have the right information about healthy vs. unhealthy relationships. This is the key to breaking the cycle of violence.
Angie: How do you build your platform and promote your work?
Tamika: I am blessed to travel the country speaking to youth, teens, and adults about dating violence prevention www.tamikahall.com . I speak to thousands of youth each year. I am also the state spokesperson for Liz Claiborne’s MADE (Moms and Dads for Education to Stop Dating Abuse Education), and I have an online radio program called, “Tough Talk with Tamika”; and I have recently re-released my award winning book, “Love Doesn’t Leave Bruises!” www.lovedoesntleavebruises.info
I definitely use the power of the internet, social networking such as facebook, twitter, and blog tours in order to promote my platform.
Angie: Why did you decide to compete?
Tamika: I decided to compete in the Essence pageant system because I was looking for something different. I wanted a pageant that was looking for the total package – the woman who was truly beautiful on the inside as well as outside. I also competed for the Essence title as it is a great way to get the word about Dating Violence.
Angie: Was this your first pageant?
Tamika: No this wasn’t my first pageant, but this was my first time with this system, and it was a GREAT experience. Everything about Essence was first class! They even had a husbands program where the husbands were treated like royalty during the weekend. This is the first pageant I have ever experienced that cared about making sure my husband and I both enjoyed ourselves.
Angie: Was/is competition scary?
Tamika: I wouldn’t call competition scary…I enjoy it. I am a married woman, entrepreneur, and mother of four…this is my extra-curricular activity. It is wonderful meeting women from around the country.
Angie: What personal fear did you have to overcome?
Tamika: When I first started competing in pageants, I had to overcome the fear that people would not think I was pretty enough. I am very dark skinned and as a child I used to really hate my complexion. I have done a lot of soul searching through the years and now, ten years into competition, I am a confident woman who knows who I am in Christ. At this point in my life I don’t look to people to validate my beauty – I look to Christ.
Angie: What about your first competition, were you super confident?
Tamika: Oh my goodness! I was super duper confident when I entered the Miss Teen of the Nation Pageant, but I had no idea what I was doing! Good Lord, you should have seen my make up…and hair…what a nightmare! I just knew that I was supposed to be the winner :-)
But, my first competition I didn’t even make top ten, but what I did do was watch the winner and see what she did that I didn’t do. My mother gave me her notes, and a month later I competed for the title of Miss Northern Chesapeake MAO and won. Looking back on pictures I was still a HOT Mess, but I had potential. The judges liked what they saw, so much in fact that one of my judges coached me before the Maryland America pageant that year. I ended up placing top ten and winning the preliminary swimsuit competition.
Now that I am older and wiser, I never enter a pageant super confident as to whether I should win or not. What I do is prepare for the pageant making sure that I am my best self on competition day and understand that God is the ultimate decision-maker in all things.
Angie: What did you have to learn to compete?
Tamika: In the beginning, I had to learn how to put on make up, how to pick out wardrobe, wear my hair…the whole deal. I had to learn how to stand out during my interview and on stage.
Now I’ve had to learn how to BALANCE everything in my life, because, Angie, my children could care less that I am Mrs. Maryland, that I have been on television or written books. They care about spending time with me and my husband as a family…and they always want to know what’s for dinner!
It has been a fun ride.
Angie: What does the Mrs. Essence pageant stand for?
Tamika: The Essence system is about showcasing the “Essence of today’s Modern Woman.“ Today’s married woman must contend with being able to balance home, work, and her own personal ambition. This pageant system gives her the opportunity to set personal goals and live for herself again!
Angie: Tell us about what you have been able to do as Mrs. Maryland Essence 2010:
Tamika: I’ve been blessed to do so much. In the last seven months I have made over 65 appearances, most of those have been speaking engagements, or radio and television appearances. I love being Mrs. Maryland!
Angie: Please tell us about a goal, why it's been a goal, and what it means to you?
Tamika: Honey, I’m trying to be the next Oprah :-D To run an empire and inspire women and men to be their very best!
Short term, my desire is to speak in at least four schools each month regarding dating violence prevention. To get, “Love Doesn’t Leave Bruises!” into as many teen hands as I can, and to continue to help break the cycle of violence.
Angie: There's an idea in society that pageants are just skin deep. How would
you answer that?
Tamika: I really think that it depends on two things, the pageant system and the woman wearing the crown.
There are some pageants that exist merely for financial gain, while others are around to truly empower women to be their very best. On the other hand, it doesn’t matter how noble a system is, if the woman wearing the crown is only interested in personal gain then this will diminish the meaning of the title.
Personally, I seek out those system that are interested in impacting the world and I wish that the negative voices of society would stop and think about the fact that for every woman or system that is in this for personal gain, there are literally thousands of queens around the country logging thousands of community service hours each year.
Angie: Alrighty, readers, this is not a planned plug from yesterday's interview. Mrs. Colorado and Mrs. Maryland Essence have never met to my knowledge and these interviews were done independently. They had no idea what the other said. In fact, they were both in my inbox about the same time. How's that for coincidence? Both queens mentioning the hours of service! OR--are we seeing a truth here?? Do you think pageants hurt or help women? Why or Why not?
Tamika: You have to be a strong person to compete in pageants…I mean where else do you learn how to accept rejection/loss with a smile? Where else do you learn how to examine yourself, strengthen your weaknesses, and go back into competition again and again? Where else do you learn how to endure panel style interviews, one-on-one interviews with heavy hitting judges, and stand out in a crowd, than in pageants.
For the right individual pageants are an incredible training ground and certainly help. For me, I have never had fear of a job interview because I have endured a 12 minute panel interview in the Miss America State System. For me, I know how to enter a room and stand out without saying a word, because stage presence is key in competition. I am blessed to speak on a national level, and I know that my speaking ability was developed with pageantry!
Angie: Yeah! I agree and love the way you said it. The media has given Americans the idea that pageant girls/women are not intelligent and accomplished. What kind of an education do you have?
Tamika: I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre and a Minor in Hispanic Studies from Washington College. My education was partially funded through scholarship money received from pageantry!
In addition to having a degree, I am an award winning author or six books, two of which are bestsellers, I am the CEO of my own publishing company, PR firm, Entertainment Production Company, and T-Shirt Design company.
Angie: What is your "day job?"
Tamika: I am an educator in the Caroline County public school system.
Angie: Do you have other creative talents you pursue?
Tamika: Yes! I am a playwright and have an entertainment company called, P31 Entertainment. P31 stands for Proverbs 31, which is the woman that I aspire to be. I will be producing three plays I have written in 2010: The First Lady Diaries, How to Love A Saved Man, and Take What I Can Get.
Angie: Do you think it is important for a person to look their best?
Tamika: ABSOLUTELY! If nothing more than to please yourself! If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good the world looks like a better place and you will be more productive in it!
Angie: What drives you to reach out to other women?
Tamika: Wanting to break the cycle of violence and low self-esteem that many of us struggle with as women. Think about it, a healthy woman, means a healthy and happy household. A woman that is confident and whole will raise confident children.
Angie: Please tell us about the RAISE Your Expectations Events:
Tamika: The RAISE events are a new tool I will be using to educate teens about healthy relationships. RAISE stands for Raise your Awareness Increase your Standards and Expectations! RAISE is a fun, hip, fashion-forward approach to teaching teens about healthy relationships and was created by Tamika Hall, bestselling author of "Love Doesn't Leave Bruises! A Young Woman's Guide to Conquering Dating Violence."
Our goal is for schools, churches, and non-profit organizations throughout the Country to host RAISE events for the youth in their area and to reach more than 1000 youth each year through events or our fashion statement tees!
Angie: Would you share about your fashion favorites, flair, or a tip that makes you feel beautiful?
Tamika: My fashion faves are skinny jeans, stilettos, and a sassy top!! Now that it is winter time, I love to sport fishnets with my dresses and skirts.
Angie: What are your plans after your title ends?
Tamika: My goal is to continue promoting my book, Love Doesn’t Leave Bruises! Which is a fictional story based on my own personal battle with dating violence, to have the RAISE events gain momentum and be produced on a national level, and to continue writing and producing great books and plays.
Angie: What compliment do you receive most often?
Tamika: Hmmm. You want to embarrass me now :) I am often complimented on my smile and my eyes. People are also taken with my ambition and being a nice, Godly woman which means more to me than any physical compliment I could ever receive. I strive to be more like Christ everyday and my ultimate goal is that God will be pleased with me and my worship.
Angie: What are you most confident about?
Tamika: In who I am in Christ. Knowing how God sees me helps me to be confident.
Angie: How did you earn that sense of confidence?
Tamika: I grew up in church, both of my parents are preachers and it’s funny…but I did not start to gain a true sense of who God is until about two years ago. I’ll put it this way, we go to church, and often hear “Let go and let God,” but I never really knew how to do that until I was placed in a situation when all I could do was trust God.
Honey, when the bills are due and there isn’t enough finance to cover your circumstance you will do one of two things…sink into a depression, or trust that if God watches over the sparrow he will surely take care of His children.
Angie: How Can you be reached?
Tamika: I do alot, so the best way to reach me is through my websites:
www.mikatoure.com (fun pageant apparel)
www.zazzle.com/praizeinmotion* (Christian Apparel)
If you are interested in having me speak you can also email me directly: mrsmarylandessence09[at]gmail.com
Angie, thank you for this wonderful interview, May God continue to bless you!!
Angie: Tamika, I can't wait to have the opportunity to get to know you more. I loved doing this interview with you too! God bless your work!