Going Against The Status Quo: Why Kára McCullough Matters To Us


Last Sunday the 2017 Miss USA pageant took place in Las Vegas, and we were all wowed by the amount of diversity amongst the contestants. The one contestant that stood out was Kára McCullough who ultimately took home the crown.

Defying the hair status quos of beauty pageants, McCullough gave up silky and glossy straight hair to unapologetically rock her natural curly tressè. "When I chose to wear my hair natural I decided to embrace what made me feel comfortable, embrace what makes me feel the best and brightest on stage. But also embrace what other people can relate to" McCullough told Refinery 29.

But of course McCullough had her doubts. "When I choose to wear my hair curly, I was afraid," she told Refinery29. "I didn’t know if people were going to accept it...if anyone was going to be receptive to it at all." Her fears? Normal which is more touching. To be honest, I would have been doubtful of EMBRACEing my crown in a world-renowned beauty pageant where women compete to represent our country in what is considered the Olympics of the beauty industry. And we all know how curly and afro hair are negatively perceived on a global level. Hence why McCullough is the person us women and even our children need to see.

As she stated in her post pageant interview with Refinery 29, "beauty pageants lack diversity." There are scarce representations of women of color with kinky, curly, and other forms of afrocentric hair in these elegant events. By wearing her natural hair and then going on to win, McCullough inspired me to break the grain even more and EMBRACE the crown in elegant settings where curly and afro hair are considered unfit for the occasion. I was definitely moved by Kára McCullough.

What made me shout like I caught the Holy Ghost, was the crowning ceremony. The reigning champ Deshauna Barber—Miss USA 2016, took her final walk and crowned (pictured below) McCullough in her natural hair. The Black Girl Magic was everywhere trumping the pageantry grandeur. The forces were definitely with us on Sunday night. McCullough represented the natural hair community and she did it well.


Brief Bio: Kára McCullough is a physical scientist at the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She has an outreach program called the Science Exploration for Kids, which offers tutoring and STEM-based activities for children in grades six to eleven. Her duties include going to schools to host science projects, tutoring, and other STEM-related presentations.


Congrats to Kára McCullough, Miss USA 2017. We wish you the best as you represent America in the Miss Universe Pageant later this year.

Embrace The Crown

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