Madisonville freshman named 2012 Miss Black Western

WKU freshman AshLeigh Foster, from Madisonville, reacts after being crowned the winner of the 2012 Miss Black Western pageant held in DUC auditorium on Friday.

Kayla Swanson

After months of practice, 14 contestants stood on the stage in the Downing University Center Auditorium Friday night waiting to hear the results of the 2012 Miss Black Western pageant.

However, only one woman could be crowned Miss Black Western.

At the end of the event, Madisonville freshman AshLeigh Foster went from being contestant number six to the 2012 Miss Black Western.

“I was just so proud and shocked at the same time,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting it.”

The 41st Annual Miss Black Western pageant was hosted by Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. The pageant began in 1971 when black women could not be chosen for Homecoming queen, said AKA President Jessica Nichols.

Nichols, a Potomac, Md., junior, hopes the women who participated in the pageant gained a sense of confidence.

“Hopefully they will attack life like they attacked this pageant,” she said.

The pageant began with an opening number and at the end each contestant introduced themselves to the audience and judges.

Throughout the introductions and the entire pageant, the audience showed their support by cheering for their favorite contestants.

“It made me excited,” Foster said. “It made me want to give it my all.”

The contestants then modeled spring wear, bringing a variety of bright colors to the stage.

The talent portion of the competition gave contestants a chance to show the audience their performance skills.

Some women sang, while others danced or performed spoken word pieces.

Next, each contestant was escorted onstage while modeling an evening gown and then gave their personal narrative.

Judge Crystal Hardeman, the residence hall director of Gilbert Hall, enjoyed this portion of the pageant the most, she said.

“They’ve been very heartfelt and from a place of growth,” she said during intermission.

The group of 14 contestants was then narrowed down to a top five and each participated in a question and answer session.

From that top five came Foster, who said the experience was a blessing for her.

“It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life,” she said.

For being crowned Miss Black Western, Foster will receive a one semester book scholarship from the AKAs and will have to organize community service event or project.

Foster said that what she will remember most from the pageant is the group of girls she participated with.

“The girls, they didn’t feel like competitors to me, they felt like sisters and friends,” she said. “God had a plan that these girls would be here with me.”