Miss USA, not to be confused with Miss America, is an annual pageant that has been around since 1952. It gathers women from around America, and the winner goes on to compete in the Miss Universe competition.
Marquita Anderson, a journalism graduate student at Roosevelt University, is in the running for the title this year. Anderson seemed very excited to be able to finally enter the pageant after a lifelong love of the pageant world.
“I’ve always wanted to do a pageant, but my mom wouldn’t let me,” Anderson said. “When I was an undergrad, I just went to it, because I didn’t need my parents’ permission. I’ve always watched them on TV.”
She added that her mother gave her the ultimatum of dancing or doing pageants, and she chose dancing.
Anderson recalled the time when she was introduced to the pageant scene.
“I was approached by a couple of people in the pageant world, and they asked me if I was down for doing the pageants,” she said. “I was also pretty close to some recent title holders. The time and the place kind of came together.”
With the recent headlines about the racial attacks on Miss America winner Nina Davuluri, some people would be discouraged from participating in an American beauty pageant.
Anderson, however, remains resilient and strong when it comes to such issues. In fact, it seemed to only have made her want to work harder.
“We, as Americans, find something to criticize,” Anderson said. “That was just another thing, for people to pick on her and to pick on the pageant industry. Just to have something to be negative about instead of being positive. Personally, I don’t think that changed my mind or view about things. It makes me want to work harder. It makes me want to prove myself more and … makes me want to represent where I come from and my culture.”
Anderson said that many students and professors have been supportive of her decision to run. Two professors she cited in particular were Tyra Robertson and Billy Montgomery from the department of communication.
“Tyra has always been supportive to me,” Anderson said. “And Billy has been really supportive. He took some of my photos that I’m trying to decide which I’m going to use for the pageant. … They were some of the first people who knew about it.”
Outside of running for Miss USA, Anderson is busy at work and school. Between working as a stylist at Ann Taylor and being a production associate at WVON 1690-AM, she also manages to balance being a student, as well as being involved in various organizations on campus.
Anderson gave many reasons why she should be chosen to be the next Miss USA, as well as what she thinks Miss USA should represent.
“I should be chosen because I feel like I am a great representation of what Miss USA can be,” Anderson said. “I believe that [Miss USA] is intelligent, inspiring and someone that has a passionate, giving heart. I am really inspired by many people, but at this point I am a mentor for young ladies.”