For Queen and (Ram) Country
Miss WSSU eyes Ebony magazine title
(pictured above: Miss WSSU Vanity Oakes with Mister WSSU Keenan Easter.)
City native Vanity Oakes has already made her reign as Miss WSSU memorable.
The senior marketing major was crowned Miss CIAA in February. Now, Oakes, who is set to graduate next month, is hoping to go out with a bang, by gracing the cover of Ebony magazine as its 2014 HBCU Campus Queen.
The competition, which is based solely on online votes, is an annual event designed to showcase HBCU queens from across the nation. The top 10 contenders will be featured in the magazine’s September 2014 edition, and the number one queen will grace the cover. Voting is already underway at ebony.com, and supporters may cast as many votes as they wish for the queen of their choosing.
Oakes, whose mother and brother are WSSU alumni, said she always knew she too was destined to become a Ram.
“It had a deep place in my heart,” the 21-year-old said of WSSU. “Being that it was in my community, I just wanted to represent and celebrate the university as much as I could. I just love the school so much.”
Oakes, a cheerleader, Dean’s List scholar and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., said her experiences at WSSU have lived up to her lofty expectations. The crown has afforded the North Forsyth alumna a level of visibility that extends far beyond the campus.
“It’s actually been more than what I expected, just receiving praise and recognition in places that I never imagined,” she related. “I can go out of town and people will recognize me from seeing my picture.”
Oakes enjoys informal mentoring relationships with several high school students outside the city, some of whom are now considering attending WSSU as a result of her guidance. She has also been involved in several local initiatives, addressing youth in a variety of programs. She is even slated to return to Mineral Springs Elementary, where she attended as a girl, to deliver the commencement speech at its upcoming fifth grade graduation.
“That’s been the best feeling that I ever felt in my life, how I can have an impact on somebody’s life without ever meeting them,” she said. “…I just want to be a positive voice, someone that they can talk to.”
Oakes says she is humbled by the admiration and support she has been afforded as Miss WSSU. She is hopeful that her family of alumni, fellow students and community supporters will come together one more time and cast their votes to help her win the Miss HBCU crown.
“This will bring national recognition to not just our institution but our city as well,” she noted. “I would just love to represent our city and our institution to the fullest extent. I just want to do as much as I can to represent the best I can.”
Royal Court Advisor Orlando Mitchell said Oakes has done a “remarkable job of representing the university.”
Mitchell, who holds a place in his alma mater’s history as the first-ever Mr. Livingstone College, believes Oakes has what it takes to win the coveted Ebony HBCU Queens cover.
“I think Ebony would benefit by having Vanity as their face,” he said.
Voting for the Ebony HBCU Campus Queens Contest is open now. Oakes’ bio and promotional video can be found at www.ebony.com/campusqueens/153.