Please tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Shayla. I was born and raised in Daly City right outside of San Francisco. I was raised by my father who was a single parent along with my younger brother. Music always had a big presence in our household. Music from my fathers generation all the way to mines. I love the way Music can touch a person's soul. Thats where my dream to become a singer came from. I am a licensed cosmetologist and have worked as a Wax Specialist at European Wax Center for four years now. I enjoy meeting clients and building relationships with them. I want to own my own franchise one day. Now here I am just getting started into the pageant industry and can't wait to compete this year.
You competed at the Miss California USA Pageant and described it as the best experience of your year. Can you tell me why ?
From the moment I signed up for Miss California, I knew I was in for the journey of a lifetime. I had never competed in a pageant before. All of the months I spent prepping taught me new things about myself, and brought back things I had lost about myself as well. It helped bring back that firecracker I have in me and I was proud to share that in my first ever pageant on the Miss California stage.
Miss USA and Miss America. Which system is your favorite and why ?
I like both pageant systems but I would have to say USA because it is the system I am most familiar with.
What qualities of a queen do you believe you have always had in you?
Compassion. I don't think people should ever stop caring for others regardless of them being a stranger or not. If I had a magic wand and could wave away poverty, crime, and disease I would do it in a heartbeat.
What inspired you to walk on the course of beauty pageants?
After hearing about the Steve Harvey incident at Miss Universe 2015, of course I had to watch it lol. I didn't grow up watching pageants so I decided to watch the whole show. As I was watching,I found myself in awe and inspired by all of these confident, intelligent, aspiring, beautiful and successful women. I thought to myself "Thats the kind of woman I want to be." And I signed up for Miss California soon after that.
Did you face any moment of disappointment with yourself during the pageant journey, and how did you overcome it?
Yes I did. I had moments where I would cheat on my diet, wonder if I was tall and beautiful enough and compare myself to other girls. I listened to former and current title holders share some of the same dissapointments, and I realized I wasn't alone. I had to look myself in the mirror and tell myself that God made me the way I am, and there's nothing wrong with the way he made me. I would also tell myself that if I want to look good on stage to stop cheating on my diet lol!
How has competing in pageants shaped you to be the person you are today?
Competing has shaped me in so many ways! It keeps me in the gym to stay in shape, keeps me watching the news so that I know what's going on in the world instead of avoiding it. It keeps me learning more about myself as a woman and things I care about. It has helped my public speaking skills and fashion sense as well. I have family and friends complimenting the changes they've seen in me. Pageantry has changed me for the better. I love the woman I've become.
How would you inspire those who are deemed not beautiful or not perfectly shaped?
I would tell them that if everyone looked the same the world would be a very boring place. God made all of us different for a reason, and our differences are what make us all beautiful. Love and accept the skin you're in. There's a whole other level of freedom you're missing out on when you're beating yourself up everyday over your appearance.
Who is your favorite Miss USA ?
Yikes this is a tough one! Olivia Jordan was Miss USA when I first got into pageantry and I was blown away by watching her at Miss Universe. I immediately watched Miss USA after to watch her win and felt she had such a genuine sweet personality. She definitely crushed the catty stereotype I thought I was going to have to deal with.
Miss USA 2015, Olivia Jordan
Deshauna Barber has done such an amazing job as Miss USA. A woman in the United States Army who is beautiful, well spoken and petite like me. I was proud to see a black woman with her complexion win. It shattered another stereotype I had in my mind as well. I don't think I could pick one over the other.
Miss USA 2016, Deshauna Barber
Describe a day in Shayla's life
Alarm goes off at 6 am. First thing I do is meditate with the headspace app. Then I'll have breakfast with tea and honey and read some of my bible. I'll spend an hour watching the news before I go to the gym. After my workout I'll come home and eat lunch, take an Epsom salt bath and start my vocal lesson before I finish getting ready for work. I wax away at work, then I head to the rehab facility where my father has been staying. He suffered a stroke a year ago and is paralyzed. That's my time to spend with him and make sure he has eaten and is ok. After that I head home get ready for bed and spend more time watching the news before I fall asleep.