Alcorn alumna Arielle Buchmann selected to compete in Miss Maryland USA Pageant
If it weren’t for the advice of two of her friends, Arielle Buchmann never would have considered entering the Miss Maryland USA Pageant. Her friends, who are past winners of the pageant, informed her of the opportunity to use the event as a way to address issues that are close to her heart.
“My friends inspired me,” said Buchmann. “They shared how great their experience had been and how it can be used as a platform. I never knew that the pageant could be used in that way.”
Buchmann, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Alcorn in 2013, will be competing in the Miss Maryland USA Pageant Saturday, October 31 and Sunday, November 1 in Bethesda, Maryland for a chance to represent Maryland in the 2016 Miss USA Pageant.
“I’m really thankful that I am getting a chance to compete. This is an amazing opportunity. I’m extremely excited, but I am also very nervous. This is so far away from my comfort zone, so I am still not quit sure what to expect. This will force me to conquer my fear of what others think of me and focus on what I see in myself. This will help me gain confidence, which is something I’ve often struggled with in the past.”
During her pageant run, she plans to bring awareness to female genital mutilation, which is the cultural practice of the partial or total removal of the external genitalia of girls and young women. The custom is practiced in western, eastern and northeastern regions of Africa and parts of Asia, Europe and North America.
“I think it’s important to know about this issue because it’s a dangerous practice. It kills so many girls and women every year. There are no health benefits to this practice and it’s harming innocent young girls by causing them physical and mental health issues. Nobody should have to suffer with this in their lives.”
Buchmann hopes that her stance on this issue will encourage female genital mutilation victims to speak out against this custom and seek emotional and physical help.
“The victims and survivors need to speak out in order for change to happen. They also need to know that people will listen and help. Most importantly, they also should know that there are ways such as reconstructive surgery that can allow them to have fewer health issues.”
On a lighter note, Buchmann will also endorse natural beauty by staying true to her own style and not getting the typical pageant hairstyle.
“I don’t want to change my hair for the competition. People always expect the same look to be the definition of beauty. I shouldn’t have to conform to society’s standards of beauty to be considered beautiful. It’s important to stay true to yourself because that is when you will really feel most content with who you are. It’s nice to put on make-up sometimes, but cosmetics should never define your beauty. You should feel just as beautiful without it as you do with it. At the end of the day, it’s what’s inside that really counts. Not everyone is capable of being a wonderful person with a beautiful heart.”
Buchmann is asking the Alcorn community to aid her in covering pageant expenses such as pageant sponsorship fees for the hotel, food, and pageant clothing. Donations can be sent to her gofundme page at https://www.gofundme.com/cz34q784?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=email&utm_content=campaign_link_t&utm_campaign=welcome.