Photo: Instagram/@kalieghgarris

Miss Teen USA Wins While Rocking Her Curly Fro and This Is Major!

It’s been a great past few weeks for the natural hair community! Last week discrimination against natural hair became illegal in California, Afro-Latina influencer Ada Rojas recently launched her new curly hair line  Botánika Beauty and an 18-year-old woman from Connecticut named Kaleigh Garris was crowned Miss Teen USA this Sunday and she received her new title while rocking her naturally curly fro. This is worth celebrating!

Let me take a second to just rejoice in the fact that our current Miss Teen USA is a Black woman! Kaleigh who is a student at Joseph A. Foran High School in Milford and enrolled at the Educational Center for the Arts as a theater major competed sporting her natural curls, which is a major deal in the pageant world especially because once upon a time it wasn’t even allowed.

What made this moment even more special was that on top of Kaleigh winning and beating her runner-up Kaitlyn Vogel who was representing North Dakota, she was crowned while wearing her natural coils.

This is beyond inspiring and not just for us grown ass women but for all the young brown and Black girls with naturally curly hair. We live in a society that has been dictated by Eurocentric beauty standards for centuries and it’s only been in recent years that we’ve finally seen some progress on that front because WOC have had enough! Just think of all the young brown and Black girls who will now feel inspired and proud to rock their natural hair after seeing Kaleigh in her curly glory!

This gorgeous curly haired queen has a lot she wants to achieve. She plans on attending Southern Connecticut State University after graduating high school to study nursing. She wants to be a trauma nurse. In fact, she’s already volunteering at Yale New Haven Hospital — she’s not playing games here.

I can’t even describe to you how I first felt when I saw the clip of Kaleigh receiving her crown. My heart was filled with joy and I couldn’t help but relate to all the emotions she was probably feeling in that moment.

To be a Black woman who unapologetically wore her natural hair during an American beauty pageant — something that was banned for years — and to be honored for her natural beauty had to have been a powerful moment for her as it was for many of us watching. We certainly felt all the Black girl magic of that moment. Black women are beautiful. Natural hair is beautiful and it’s about time the world caught up and realized that.