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Mesquite junior Deondria Murphy won Baylor’s first-ever Miss Green and Gold Pageant on Friday in Waco Hall, beating out 20 other Baylor beauties. Murphy will move on to compete in Miss Texas, and the winner of Miss Texas competes in Miss America.
Q: How long have you been doing pageants?
A: Well, actually this was my very first pageant. I saw a flier and thought, “I could see what this is about it.” I wanted to experience something new.
Q: What qualities do you think made you the pageant winner?
A: I was consistent with my platform, which is empowering women and young girls.
Q: How do you feel about competing in Miss Texas?
A: I am excited and nervous at the same time. I was shocked to even hear my name. I am still processing it.
Q: What influences in your life have contributed to your success?
A: I dedicated the pageant to my little sister. She got cancer when she was 6 and I was 8. She was always positive. All the doctors loved her. She is the reason I also won Miss Socialite, which was based on Twitter votes. She tweeted all day long in support of me. She is cancer-free for 10 years.
Q: Do you think she looks up to you?
A: She says she looks up to me, but I look up to her.
Q: Do you think your sister will follow in your footsteps and compete in Miss Green and Gold one day?
A: My sister was in a pageant before me. She placed second in her school pageant at Hughes Spring High School. I am actually following in her footsteps.
Q: Some people have a negative view of pageants. How do you respond to criticism that pageants are demeaning to women?
A: Pageants are not negative at all. All the girls were positive. There was no drama. We all uplifted each other. We all helped each other.
Q: There is a controversial show on TLC called “Toddlers and Tiaras.” Do you think that young girls should be in pageants? At what age is pageant competition appropriate?
A: It good to let young girls experience it if they are enjoying it. A parent should not force kids to compete, but it can be good for little kids because it shows them they can make a difference.
Q: Is there drama between competitors of pageants, or are you friends with your competitors?
A: Even though it was a competition, it didn’t feel like one. We were all there trying to better ourselves. I made 20 new friends.
Q: What is something pageant girls have to deal with in order to look good on stage?
A: We practiced quite a bit. Twice a week for a month.
Q: What did the pageant girls do to encourage each other and keep the environment positive?
A: Our motto was: All that glitter is green, is gold.
Q: The South has had a racist history, often discriminating against African-Americans. Do you think Baylor has made a statement by electing an African American as their first Green & Gold Pageant winner?
A: Baylor has made a statement. You wouldn’t expect the winner to be an African American, but this pageant was so diverse. I am proud of Baylor. I couldn’t imagine myself at any other school.
Q: How will this pageant, and future pageants, affect our reputation as a university?
A: Although Baylor is prestigious, all of our students have a voice. More women will want to do it. They will want to put their opinions and voices out there.
Q: What have you learned from this experience?
A: As long as I am myself, that’s all that matters. I learned to be consistent.
Q: What message would you like to share?
A: You can do anything you can put your mind, too. You don’t have to become a “pageant girl.” Just be true to yourself.