I'm Jazmund Walker - a youth mentor, motivational speaker, college counselor, model, and writer from Birmingham, Alabama. I hold a B.A. in communication studies from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Writing and mentoring youth are my passions. I have been published in The Birmingham News, Birmingham Home & Garden, and Health Magazine as a freelance journalist. In addition to serving on the YMCA Youth Center Advisory Board, I am a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Currently, I work full-time as the communications and outreach coordinator for C.A.M.P. (College Admissions Made Possible) – a non-profit organization that empowers students at underserved schools by equipping them with the necessary tools to gain access to college. Part-time, I work with the Birmingham Education Foundation by bringing people together to discuss community issues and take action toward changing opportunities for students in Birmingham City Schools.

 

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The Natural Hair and Health Expo Beauty Pageant was the very first pageant I competed in. I attended the Natural Hair and Health Expo three times since it started so I was excited to participate in their first pageant to show my love for the Expo while lifting up the natural hair community. I’ve been rocking my natural hair for eight years and I love living a healthy lifestyle as a pescatarian of 12 years. Plus, I’ve always dreamed of being in pageants since I was a teen, so this pageant was a great fit as it combined all three of my interests. To prepare for my first pageant I welcomed constructive feedback from our pageant coach for areas of improvement after I made it through the preliminary. I read articles on pageantry, signed up for pageantry e-newsletters, and watched videos from various pageants. Miss Universe 2016, Pia Wurtzbach, is my favorite to watch, and so is Miss USA 2012, Nana Meriwether. They’re just amazing in competition. I studied many other pageant queens’ on-stage poise, interview style, and overall etiquette. I practiced for hours on my stage presence. Eventually, I created my own signature style and personal brand of confidence to bring to the stage during competition time. All of the contestants were amazing competitors in every category, so I didn't know that I would actually be the one to take home the title. The moment my name was called on stage, I just praised God. I was shocked and super excited. 

Prior to auditioning for the pageant, I lead a demure life with a 9-5 and an evening job, both in the non-profit arena. I seldom indulged in a social life due to my schedule.  However, when God wants you to realize your purpose must be shared on a larger platform, God will push you out of hiding, and I’m so glad He did. Now, I'm in the public more and I'm able to combine the work I was already doing in my community with my pageant reign. Things are no longer routine in life, in a good way. My social life, social media, and day-to-day activities have definitely sky-rocketed and I couldn't be more excited about that. My reign has allowed me to meet magazine editors, national bloggers, and various celebrities. I have spoken at awesome events and made appearances at different locations within the southeast. From brand ambassador, public speaker, role model, being your own publicist, and becoming a natural hair influencer, you automatically wear many hats as a pageant queen. 

 

Thankfully, the entire pageantry experience for me was a very positive one that challenged me in all the right ways. Other than the blessing of receiving the title and the joy of making my family proud, one of the biggest gifts I walked away with was a beautiful sisterhood with eight phenomenal women. The eight contestants I competed with were so positive, supportive, and caring from the very first moment we all met.  I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to do it with than those amazing women and everyone associated with the Visions Beauty Distributors team.

 

For my reigning year, I plan to spread the message of my platform, which is loving your natural you --  inside and out. It is my hope that young girls, and women alike, find inspiration and solace in seeing more women embracing their kinky, curly, or coiled hair in the media and in everyday life, thus seeing their natural selves as beautiful and worthy simply as they are. It is important for all people to know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. The natural hair that grows out of the scalp is simply a natural part of who we are, just as our natural body, nails, and skin are, but oddly enough kinky, curly, or coiled hair is still not as acceptable or embraced as much as other hair textures. I believe beauty pageants should encompass the full spectrum of women’s beauty because beauty comes in a variety of body types, age groups, and hair textures. Natural hair should not be a topic of debate but rather an acceptable way of being. The Natural Hair and Health Expo Beauty Pageant answers to this need.

 

In addition to doing more pageantry and modeling, my next project to tackle is creating my own inspirational online talk show for young women on how to overcome life’s obstacles. This has been a project near and dear to me for many years because I learned to overcome personal obstacles throughout life ranging from having low self-esteem issues, being bullied at a young age, growing up in public housing, battling poverty, and being a first-generation college student, just to name a few. This is what drives me to break barriers to pursue excellence and inspire others to do the same. I simply want to encourage others to see that they are not their circumstances.

 

Pageantry has introduced me to a more fearless, confident self!  Little did I know what God had in store for me just for taking a leap of faith and trying something new by competing in my first pageant. I'm more than blessed to serve as your first Miss Natural Hair and Health Expo Beauty. The pageant was just the beginning. My story is still unfolding.