WKU alumna impacts community through empowerment

Andrea Denise Bolden currently holds the local title of “Miss Bowling Green” and is preparing for the initial stages of “Miss Kentucky United States.” Bolden is a WKU alumna who received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in student affairs. Bolden said she has a passion for Bowling Green and WKU communities and wants to empower others.

Taylor Metcalf

Owning your own beauty business, competing in beauty pageants and making time to work in the community can be difficult, but Andrea Denise Bolden has found time to do it all.

Bolden is an Elizabethtown native who went to WKU in 2008 for her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in student affairs. She also owns and runs Bolden Beauty Industry, a business that offers services in hair, clothing and cosmetics. She has since become a working piece in the community, and she doesn’t plan to stop.

Bolden currently holds the local title of “Miss Bowling Green” and is preparing for the initial stages of “Miss Kentucky United States,” which will take place from Feb. 15-17 in Van Meter Hall.

Katy Moody Cusick, a part-time director of the “Miss Kentucky United States” pageant, said her goal for the upcoming event is to make it bigger and better.

“We have a great number of contestants, but they’re also quality contestants,” Cusick said.

Because she grew up in foster care and took a chance by going to WKU, Bolden said she feels a passion for working with other children who are currently growing up the same way she did. She volunteers with foster care as well as Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana troop 1861, where she helps children, especially young women, feel empowered. She also volunteers with Feeding America, the Warren County NAACP and the Bowling Green Housing Authority’s Mobile Grocery, helping out where she’s needed and lending emotional support to girls and women.

Thursday, Bolden will be attending a service project, “Hearts for Kids,” on campus. The program will be a Valentine’s Day card-writing party.

“I’m going to provide Valentine’s Day cards to a local Head Start program and a foster care agency,” Bolden said. “Just individually wrapped candy and cards.”

After traveling from her hometown to try college life, Bolden said she fell in love with WKU. She was a shy freshman, she said, but she wanted to try new things and get involved. She was crowned “Miss Black Western” and “Miss Black and Gold” during her time on campus.

Bolden stressed the idea of students getting out into the community and getting involved in what WKU has to offer.

“You come to college, and there are all these opportunities,” Bolden said. “Western has always been good about that—providing tons of opportunities for people to get involved in. I encourage other girls, women, college students, whoever to just get out there and do it. There’s not a wrong time to be your true self.”

Bolden said she is just an “everyday woman” who has a passion for her community and wants to empower other people. She said when a person is able to live their own way and follow their own path, they simply shine a little differently from the rest.

“Because WKU has given me so much, I want to be able to share a little piece of my story with other students,” Bolden said. “Whether they’re first-generation students, students who came from foster care or students who came from adverse backgrounds.”

In the future, Bolden said she plans to continue her work in the community in hopes of empowering others.

Features reporter Taylor Metcalf can be reached at 270-745-6291 and taylor. [email protected].