By: Kenzel Williams
While volunteering at this year’s Phoenix Fashion Week, I had the opportunity to go backstage. Behind the black curtain was a frenzy of crew members working hard while models got ready for closing night. I needed help, so I went up to a person who looked like she would know what to do.
Turns out she is Supranational’s Miss Arizona.
I’m dumbfounded. Out of all the people I could have walked up to, I happened to go to who is essentially one of the prettiest women in the state of Arizona. But she’s more than just pretty.
Although this was only her first year of pageantry, Nadia Monique has already crammed a lot into her schedule.
“I do show productions and try to be as motivational for other people as much as I can,” said Monique.
From Phoenix Fashion Week to her YouTube channel, she’s making sure that her reign will not go to waste.
She’s even in the process of planning a fashion show of her own, but this event is more than just celebrating fashion. Monique wants to address world problems, including racism, sex trafficking, and LGBTQ+ discrimination.
“I want a message to come from the show,” said Monique. “We want to talk about what people don’t talk about.”
Some of the designers, who are her friends, are looking to focus on a topic they’ve personally dealt with.
“One of my friends is huge in the foster care system,” said Monique. Her friend, the designer, will incorporate this into their part of the show. “Instead of music playing, there’s stories playing. We want it to be very emotional and have the audience interact and feel for their stories.”
Monique and her team are planning a documentary about behind the scenes of the fashion show. She’s hoping to show people that events like this are more than just fashion. The event is planned to take place sometime in December or January.
While interviewing her, I noticed how genuine and passionate Monique was about her work and her title. Her advice for young people?
“I don’t want to say something like ‘keep going.’ I want to say something bigger than that,” Monique said.
According to Monique, your age doesn’t define your work ethic.
“I want to break the stereotypes of my generation,” she said.
Some people may view today’s youth as lazy and addicted to social media, but they’re more dedicated and hardworking than some may think.
“I felt like I wasn’t going to win because they’re not going to want such a young representative for the United States,” she said. “I want people to know: yes, I’m really young and I’m the youngest one competing, but I made it.”
Despite barely reaching the age to vote, or 18-years-old, Monique has done way more than the average teen and is working and competing with ladies who are significantly older than her.
Monique also stated that she’s not the “typical image” for beauty pageants. Being a young Latina woman competing with older models who are majority Caucasian, she might feel like she doesn’t fit in. That’s not stopping her from making her mark. “I’m going to show them that you can do millions of things,” said Monique.
Monique’s title is representative since it doesn’t matter what background you come from, as long as you work hard and prove people wrong. Miss Arizona is a pretty big title, but she wants her followers to know that she and people like her are human, too, and that they go through the same struggles as everyone else. Monique’s sister passed away a few months ago.
“After my first Miss Arizona Latina pageant, she told me to keep going,” said Monique. “Right after she passed away, I got the opportunity for Miss Arizona. For me, this title comes from her in a way.”
Her hard work is driven by the fact that she wants to make her sister proud. Her transparency, combined with her work ethic, makes Monique an upcoming force to be reckoned with in the pageant industry.
Monique may only be 18-years-old, but she’s already made big strides in her career. Her success is a reminder to her peers to not just accept the bare minimum but instead to strive for success.
One last word from the queen herself?
“You can do it, too. I promise you. Don’t ever dream too small. Dream big.”