Beauty pageants aren’t exactly known for their inclusivity. Most of the past winners have been caucasian women with long straight hair that adheres to western beauty ideals. But times are definitely changing (for the better) because the 2019 winner of Miss Teen USA, Kaliegh Garris, was crowned on Sunday. And she happened to already be wearing a crown in the form of her jaw-droppingly stunning natural hair.
18-year-old Kaliegh Garris was, until this weekend, Miss Teen Connecticut, and is a theatre student with dreams of becoming a trauma nurse. And as if her radiant personality wasn’t enough to have the whole crowd cheering when she bagged the title, she also sported her natural curls on stage. This might not seem like a big deal, but considering that sleek hair is generally attributed to winners, this is definitely progress.
Here’s a sweet snap of her taken moments after she was crowned Miss Teen USA for 2019:
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CONGRATULATIONS to @kalieghgarris for winning Miss Teen USA while rocking her natural hair ??????❤️ #KalieghGarris Embrace your hair. Embrace yourself. Let your hair and true self shine ❤️ #ébène #premiumhaircare #premiumskincare #ebene #NaturalHair #CurlyHair #hairgrowth #beautifulskin #healthyhair #longhair #NonToxicHairCare #NaturalHairKids #cabellonatural #rizosnaturales #naturalhairgrowth #Transitioning #healthyskin #veganfriendly #hydratedhair #NoMoreChemicals #handmadecosmetics #CheveuxNaturels #cheveuxbouclés #ebenenaturals
What a beaut!
And Kaliegh is not just a pretty face. She founded a movement called ‘We Are People 1st’ which aims to educate people on how to talk to and treat people with disabilities. This was inspired by her sister who is in a wheelchair. In other words, she is definitely a worthy winner!
So how does this natural-haired babe keep her coils so fresh and fabulous? She spoke to Refinery29 and broke down her haircare routine. ‘The night before, I finger curled every single piece of my hair in the shower, which led to a very long shower, but it was for the greater good,’ said Kaliegh. ‘I know what I look like with straight hair, with extensions, and with my curly hair, and I feel more confident and comfortable with my natural hair.’
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Just as you are! ???? @sotmq – 2019 is the year of the black pageant queen! ??? #NiaFranklin was crowned Miss America 2019 in September, and #KalieghGarris was crowned Miss Teen USA 2019 this weekend while rocking her natural curls ? Congrats @kalieghgarris! • • • #missteenusa #missusa #missamerica #pageant #blackgirlmagic #melanin #blackwomen #teens #naturalhairstyles #naturalhair #afro #shareblackstories #congrats #winner
This is the first time in 20 years that a crown was put on natural hair, meaning it was about damn time! And it couldn’t be a worthier winner. Congrats, gurl!
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