On Sunday night, Kaliegh Garris took the crown as Miss Teen USA wearing her naturally coily afro. The 18-year-old hails from Connecticut, and is a student at Joseph A. Foran High School in Milford, as well as enrolled at the Educational Center for the Arts as a theater major.
The natural and curly haired communities were so proud, applauding the pageant queen on her Instagram page where she posted a photo of her crowning moment.
“Lookathere say it ain’t so a #naturalcutie rocking her fro during a pageant! Who said natural hair ain’t glamorous? Yep yep she’s gorgeous,” said @901naturalcutie.
“So happy for you!!!! Thank you for repping all the curly haired women out here & showing the ones that think curly hair isn’t elegant/professional they are wrong!” @_curlyishmel commented.
While this isn’t the first time a black woman sported a natural afro in a pageant — in 2017 Miss Jamaica, Davina Bennett, wore her ‘fro in the Miss Universe competition, and Deshauna Barber took her final walk as Miss USA with her natural hair — this was a first for the teen pageant. We’re hoping this opens the door for more black women to take these national and global crowns while wearing their natural crowns, no matter how kinky or curly.