The wrong shoes may have tripped up Si’Mone Mathenia, but it didn’t prevent her from taking the Miss Black Oklahoma crown on Aug. 2.
“My original shoes broke,” Mathenia said. “I was supposed to go recover the other shoes and I forgot — stressful week.
“I had to wear the shoes I had with me, but they weren’t high enough. I thought, ‘OK, you’ve got to fake it til you make it’ … and in the midst of my turn in my evening gown, I tripped.”
Mathenia said she had a moment of absolute terror on the inside but, on the surface, she was able to remain poised, recovering gracefully and instantly.
“Nobody could see that little transition … ,” she said. “My mom videotaped it and you couldn’t tell.”
When she was announced as the new Miss Black Oklahoma, she was shocked.
“[I said] ‘That’s me.’ Then the tears started to flow.”
Mathenia said winning was about more than recognition.
It was her third attempt at vying for the Miss Black Oklahoma crown.
There had been some who had told her to just give up, she said.
“It was really just proving to me that I’ve looked past the negativity that was thrown at me … to say ‘look how far you’ve come.’”
Mathenia takes pride in the responsibilities that have come with becoming a pageant queen.
“As Miss Black Oklahoma … I have to make appearances and when people call me I have to be ready,” she said. “One thing I like to say is, ‘if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready,’” she said.
It’s a policy she applies to the rest of her responsibilities as well.
In addition to being in OCCC’s nursing program, Mathenia serves as the Black Student Association’s club president and as co-chair to OCCC’s Leadership Council. These are facets of her life she said are all closely intertwined.
“The BSA has truly helped a lot … ,” she said. “It’s helped me adjust to different personalities and different age groups.
“I would like to say it helped the leader come out of me and that can go underneath my crown as Miss Black Oklahoma.”
Mathenia said, under her guidance, she hopes the Black Student Association can help drive graduation rates up among black students.
“I want them to realize their leadership potential and go for it,” she said.
Mathenia said that she’s always recognized leadership and has benefited from outlets that have nurtured those qualities within herself.
She said organizations like BSA inspire young people toward doing their best.
“It’s a lot easier when you have people pushing you,” she said.
Mathenia said she wants students to be bold in an educational way and understand the value of networking.
She said she looks back on her time in the President’s Leadership Class as a special opportunity that taught her a lot about herself.
Through OCCC and by participating in pageants, Mathenia said, she’s now undaunted by challenges and has found a confidence that will guide her to even more success in the future.
She said she may even have her eye on the Miss America crown somewhere down the road.
Mathenia goes on to compete next in the Miss Black America Coed pageant Nov. 28 through 29 in Houston.
It is a pageant program that manifests the spirit of the “coeducational” tradition, according to its website, referencing the “strong heritage of women who have integrated into male-populated schools.”
For more information about Mathenia or Miss Black Oklahoma, visit www.missblackoklahoma.com.
To learn about the Miss Black America Coed pageant, visit missblackamericacoed.org.
For more about OCCC’s Black Student Association, email firstname.lastname@example.org.