CHICAGO–Young Black women from across the city competed for the Miss Black Illinois USA 2015 title, but only one went home with the crown on Saturday
Destiny Lee, Miss Black Dupage County, received the title and a $5,000 prize package, which includes scholarship funding, a photo shoot, a round trip plane ticket and hotel accommodations to Miss Black USA. The competition took place at The DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place. Radio personality Dana Divine and Chicago writer/producer Richard Gallion hosted the event. There was a live performance by Vocalist/songwriter Nola Ade.
Before Lee’s name was announced, she quickly realized that she was the winner and immediately covered her face in surprise.
After the pageant, loved ones and attendees swarmed the 24-year-old, offering her congratulations and compliments. When asked how she felt, she was at a loss of words.
“I just don’t have words right now to even explain,” she told The Chicago Defender.
The 24-year-old holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Education from Eastern Illinois University. Her platform is cleverly called Create Your Own Destiny. Lee currently works with an afterschool program and said she will use her new title to continue working with youth.
“I will keep using my platform each and every day because I want to inspire young boys and girls, I want them to be encouraged,” she said.
The contestants don’t focus on just their image, but instead they compete in three categories: the interview, personal fitness and evening gown.
During the interview portion, Lee was asked who she called her hero. Getting teary-eyed, she explained to judges that it was her mother because as a single mother she still provided for her children and worked hard.
“She is my hero because she is always an example of a leader, a strong woman and she always maintains a positive spirit, I have always looked up to her for that,” Lee said.
She will compete in the Miss Black USA pageant in Washington, D.C. next year.