Feature

Discovered Beauty

Kayla Reed didn’t spend year after year during her childhood dreaming of winning a pageant. She was bullied for her appearance and was not strong in her self confidence as a child. She remembers being embarrassed for being bullied. She continued from grade school through high school and on to college. Just before the end of her last year as an undergraduate her mother passed three months before her graduation. Kayla graduated from college at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Mass Communications. She went on to pursue her professional career spending four years in South Korea and since she has returned to the United States she has been in Texas.

The effects of her childhood bullying had more of an impact on Kayla as an adult. Her self-esteem was not high when it came to her physical appearance. Often she would be asked by others if she modeled. Kayla recalls dismissing the question with a response that she is smart, insinuating that because she is smart she couldn’t possibly be a model. At the time she didn’t realize the prejudice she had for models believing that they weren’t smart.

Kayla arrived at a moment in her young adult life where she was asking God how she could “do more as a servant and as a believer.” As she became involved in community service projects such as her own endeavor to inspire and educate single mothers she began to learn more about the world of pageantry and the benefits from community involvement to scholarships. Kayla already had a platform from her own efforts. She had created a class for single moms through a program titled Sister Sue in honor of her mother. It was inspired by being raised in a single mother household with her brother. The program has been running for a little over two years now. The class is set for several hours with information for interview prep, job culture, financial fitness and self-esteem.

As a young woman in the Dallas area Kayla stepped out of her comfort zone and hired the best pageant coaches she could and prepared for pageant competitions. In 2016 she was crowned Miss Black Dallas for a 2017 reign. The experience is something that she will never forget, from the community service projects, such as Habitat for Humanity, to the many service opportunities and speaking engagements, such as the Imagine Me conference hosted by Dr. Jay. While she has just closed out her official year of service, she knows one a queen, always a queen.

The editor was was raised as a pastor’s daughter in the city of Chicago and now resides in southern Illinois and is married to a minister. Don’t mistake her roles as a preacher’s kid (p.k.) and a preacher’s wife (p.k.) as a lack for awareness for what happens in the life of the average woman. She has had acquaintances and friendships over the years with women from all walks of life and the one thing that she has had in common with them all is her faith. Through those relationships she learned that everyone has moments of doubt, discouragement and even triumphs. The key is to have a connection to other believers so they can encourage each other through the ups and downs of life. That is what inspired her to create Nouveau Exposure Magazine. She has purposed to find other believers with testimonies of success after struggle, dreams coming to fruition by applying faith and action as well as lessons on self love. email address: SharondaCawthon@nouveauexposure.org