HAMPTON, Va. (August 23, 2019) –Hampton University rising sophomore, Nupol Kiazolu was recently crowned Miss Liberia USA 2019-20, in her first ever participation in a pageant. This year was the 17th Annual Pageant, which took place on Liberia’s Independence Day, July 26th at the Suzanne Roberts Theater in Philadelphia, PA.
“Ms. Nupol Kiazolu is just one example of the best and the brightest students that we have here at Hampton University. We know that she will continue to succeed and represent her ‘Home by the Sea’ in all her future endeavors. Congratulations!” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.
Kiazolu is a political science major on the pre-law track from Brooklyn, NY. She is an activist and organizer, the President of Black Lives Matter Greater NY and the Founder and CEO of Vote 2000, where partnered with DoSomething.org, the organization aims to get young people to register to vote. Kiazolu was also featured in Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 class of 2018, which spotlights extraordinary young women, girls and femmes making waves in their industries or passions of choice.
Contestants of the Miss Liberia Pageant are scored in six categories: preliminary interview, African wear, talent, platform, evening wear and final interview question. The winner of the pageant receives a monetary award as well as an all-expense paid 10-day trip to Liberia. As the winner, Kiazolu will also attend speaking engagements, make appearances and be able to network with like-minded individuals.
“Past winners and contestants have gone on to create nonprofit organizations focusing on clean water in Liberia, sexual abuse advocacy, mentorship, and a host of others. The Miss Liberia in the US Scholarship Pageant is more than just a beauty pageant. It puts its contestants and winners in a position where they can be strong advocates for their various platforms and ultimately implement it and watch it grow,” said Renee Wilson, Pageant Director of the Miss Liberia in the US Pageant.
Here is an excerpt from an interview with Nupol:
How did you get involved with the Miss Liberia Pageant?
I’m not really a pageant girl, I’m an on-the-ground activist and organizer. But this is something that I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl. I grew up around a lot of people who have been in pageants but I never thought it would become a reality. Everything feels so surreal!
What was your experience like?
The whole pageant experience was phenomenal. Going in, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it would be like it is on TV, catty and competitive, but really it was a sisterhood. We supported each other throughout the week, gave each other critiques and after the pageant, we are still keeping that sisterhood alive.
How were you feeling during the actual event?
I was so nervous! But then I got a pep talk from one of my friends and she said to just be yourself. Be the one who speaks out, the same one that is advocating for Liberia. Be who you are. So that’s what I did.
What is your platform for the pageant?
My platform is rebuilding the infrastructure in Liberia through health care, socio economic infrastructure, criminal justice infrastructure and education. As a human being, we all have rights to these things but people in Liberia are struggling. Some people don’t have electricity, sanitation facilities and the country’s literacy rate is only 47 percent. It’s just not right.
What’s next for you?
I actually have some really great things in the works. I’m working on an HBCU initiative to get more young Black students to vote. I chose to attend Hampton University because of the great history that Hampton has. I couldn’t see myself at any other school. I just love HBCUs, so shining the light on HBCUs is extremely important to me. As for the rest, you’ll just have to stay tuned!
Kiazolu plans to be an elected official and a civil rights/defense attorney after she graduates from Hampton.
About the Miss Liberia Pageant: Developed by the Liberian United Women in Progress (L.U.W.I.P.), a non-profit, non political community based resource group headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, The Miss Liberia in the U.S. Scholarship Pageant was born out of the need to create a forum for young women of Liberian descent here in the United States to embrace and promote their culture, express their talent, beauty, and accomplishments. The pageant is now in its seventeenth year. Today, the Miss Liberia in the U.S Organization is even more passionate about community service and education and is making significant strides in these directions. Our goal is to develop women who seek to improve the lives of others, as well as achieve their personal goals. The Miss Liberia in the U.S Organization is partnering with community based groups to continue to give Liberia a voice right here in the United States.