DULUTH, Ga. — When Cearah Hamilton heard her name pour out of the speakers at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center in suburban Atlanta, announcing her as the winner of the 2014 Miss Black U.S. Ambassador Scholarship Pageant, she was so high off the moment that she could have levitated right off the ground.
As the crown was being affixed atop her brow, the Minnesota native pointed towards the horizon, from where she says her blessings flow, and gave thanks to her Source for helping her overcome obstacles to succeed — including one when she first arrived in town that could have impacted her mental well-being during the competition.
“Someone actually stole my carry on bag at the (Atlanta) airport,” she said of the world’s busiest airport. “God allowed me to get through all the obstacles that I needed to get through. This is my season and I’m ready to walk in it.”
Ciara Thompson, Miss Indiana, was equally awed when she took the Miss Teen U.S. Ambassador crown.
When asked what this moment meant to her, she paused for a moment to allow the gravity of winning this national event wash over her.
“Oh, so many opportunities and so many open doors for me. My future seems so much brighter now,” said Thompson, the soon-to-be freshman at prestigious Indiana University. “I get to work from my platform and I get to support all kinds of different charities and a variety of things that I will be doing. And I’m just excited to get started.”
The 2014 Miss Black U.S. Ambassador featured contestants from across the United States and District of Columbia that competed in five categories: Panel Interview, Fitness, Talent, Evening Gown, and On-stage questions.
The Miss Black US Ambassador and Miss Black Teen US Ambassador Scholarship Pageant LLC was founded to illuminate the breadth and depth of the talents of scores of African American girls and young women, which is often overlooked in society.
The pageant, in collaboration with Dr. Ruth Joyce Colbert Barnes Foundation & The Oklahoma Sovereign Arts Foundation, exists to give a once in a lifetime opportunity to young African American women. As Ambassadors of Change, each young woman embarks on the journey to encourage, empower, and enlighten, communities, states, and nations. These young women are a rising voice in the community that seek to make a difference, by providing educational forums and events that focus on health disparities, poverty, violence and major issues plaguing the African American community.
Hamilton said she is ready for that challenge.
“Honestly, I was backstage holding some of my sister queens’ hands and we were praying. And basically I was asking God … I said, ‘Lord, if this is my season, allow it to be so. And if not, allow someone else to walk through that door.’ And I was at peace with that, honestly. And, so, when I heard my name, I was in awe,” said the Century College sophomore whose passion is boxing and fitness. “I was excited and I said ‘Lord, I am ready to walk in it. Let’s go. I’m ready to work.’ And I am happy and overjoyed that the judges saw something in me to give me this opportunity and I’m not going waste it.”
The previous year’s winners — Whitney Johnson, Miss Black Teen US Ambassador 2013 and Jazmine Scroggins, Miss Black US Ambassador 2013 (above) — helped crown their successors. Miss Black Teen US Ambassador 2014 and Miss Black US Ambassador 2014 began their first day of the job on July 20th with their official contract signing and photoshoot with nationally-renowned celebrity photographer Derek Blanks. The National titleholders were styled by celebrity stylist & make-up artist, DeMario Ward and hair was styled by Design Essentials.
The national pageant also served as the launching pad for Design Essentials® Hydrience Collection Strength To Shine empowerment initiative.
“We want to recognize beauty inside and out, and Miss Black US Ambassador represents the embodiment of ser- vice and style,” says ShaMarla Jones, Marketing Coordinator for Design Essentials®. The Design Essentials® Style Team that beautified the contestants consisted of Francesca Adams, Aaron Tracey Whitaker, Ereka Fielding and Stephanie Davenport.
Maurice Johnson, a star on the popular television show “Devious Maids”, and Crystal Neal, recording artist and fitness expert hosted the competition.
Take a look at the other winners below:
The Final Results:
TEEN First Runner Up: Miss Teen Maryland, Taylor Williams, will assume the duties of Miss Black Teen US Ambassador 2014 if the titleholder for some reason Miss Black Teen US Ambassador cannot fulfill her duties.
MISS First Runner Up: First Runner Up: Miss Oklahoma US Ambassador, Kiana Billups, will assume the duties of Miss Black US Ambassador 2014 if the titleholder for some reason cannot fulfill her duties.
TEEN TOP 5:
Ciara Thompson, Miss Black Teen Indiana US Ambassador – WINNER Taylor Williams, Miss Black Teen Maryland US Ambassador – 1st Runner Up Caitlyn Kramer, Miss Black Teen Arizona US Ambassador – 2nd Runner Up J’haria Dallas, Miss Black Georgia US Ambassador – 3rd Runner Up Rosemarie Miller, Miss Black Mississippi US Ambassador 4th Runner Up
MISS TOP 5:
Cearah Hamilton, Miss Black Minnesota US Ambassador – WINNER Kiana Billups, Miss Black Oklahoma US Ambassador – 1st Runner Up Brittney Janssen – Miss Black Missouri US Ambassador – 2nd Runner Up Katara Grissom, Miss Black Tennessee US Ambassador – 3rd Runner Up JaNae Vinson – Miss Black Nebraska US Ambassador – 4th Runner Up
TEEN/MISS PHOTOGENIC Award:
Teen: Mackenzie Millet – TEEN ALABAMA – A special panel selected the delegate who exemplifies beauty through the lens of a camera.
Miss: Elizabeth Caver – Miss Alabama – A special panel selected the delegate who exemplifies beauty through the lens of a camera.
Community Builder Award:
The Community Builder Award is an award voted on by the contestants themselves. This award is given to the state ambassador who reflects the respect and admiration of her peers, and who has been voted as the most con- genial, charismatic and inspirational participant.
Teen: Deja Kirk – TEEN Oklahoma Miss: Cearah Hamilton – Minnesota