Why Arts In Education Is Important According To Amani Jaramoga, 2018 Miss New York USA Candidate

Whether it was making a pinch pot, performing in a play or dance recital, or singing in the choir, most of us can remember participating in the arts during our school years. But arts education doesn’t just teach skills to future practitioners of the arts. It teaches children the creativity, collaboration, and criti- cal thinking skills needed to succeed in the 21st century.

Amani Jaramoga, who'll be competing for the crown of Miss New York USA, plans to open her own performance art based school in NY. She's currently in the process of developing a curriculum that will be taught within her school and it will be an alternative to STEM education one that caters to education in the arts. The curriculum is called, "MAPS" which stands for Music, Art, Performance and Screen -  "It will serve as the "map" for young creatives to explore their potential and perform at the highest level possible in their discipline. Ursula K. Le Guin once said, "The creative adult is the child who has survived". I will not only make sure that the child survives, I will make sure that the child thrives" - she explained.

If she wins the crown of Miss New York USA Amani will have the opportunity to represent her state in Miss USA 2018. If Shanna Moakler is counted, New York has the third (equal) highest number of Miss USA victories. They also have the third highest number of semi-finalist (or better) placings (33).

I had the opportunity to interview Amani on her preparation for the Miss NY USA Contest. Lets know a little more about this beautiful and inspiring woman through this interview!

You will compete at the Miss NY USA Pageant, how will you prepare the contest ? What unique characteristics would you say you bring to the competition?

I've been preparing for Miss New York USA by volunteering in each of the five boroughs every weekend and meeting the wonderful people of New York City. I think it's important to make sure I understand my fellow New Yorkers and build relationships within the community before I can represent them. In addition, to eating healthy, yoga and meditation I take ballet lessons in my spare time. The unique characteristics I would say I bring to the competition is being relatable, compassionate and eccentric.

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What inspired you to walk on the course of beauty pageants? 

I decided to walk the course of beauty pageants when I realized it would be a platform for me to become a voice and help the people in my community. Although I've already done a lot to help as Miss New York USA I will be able to do much more.

Many misses have said that their dream since a child was to participate in a pageant as prestigious as Miss World (or Miss Universe). It this your case ? And if so, why ?

(Laughs) Yes, definitely! The first pageant I watched on television was the 2011 Miss Universe pageant when Leila Lopes was crowned. I recall just staring in awe because the women were so beautiful, cultured and had accomplished so much. It's always been a dream of mines to travel the world and help as many people as I possibly can. 

Social media seems to play a major role in pageantry nowadays. Do you think this is advantageous to you? Why or why not? 

Social media definitely plays a major role in pageantry and just in our everyday life. I think it's an advantage since it's a way to reach so many people with just a click of a button. I've been able to bring awareness to a lot of social issues and gather volunteers for various projects. Also, I've had the opportunity to connect with a few of the contestants and I look forward to meeting them all in person. However, you have to be very aware of what you're liking and the kind of photos you post, but for the most part my experience has been positive.

Did you face any moment of disappointment with yourself during the pageant journey, and how did you overcome it?

The road to the crown has been a journey of self-discovery for me and I'm in love with the woman I've become throughout this process. This year I've defied my fear of change and accomplished things I once believed were impossible. I faced a few disappointments during this journey but I know God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers. I've come to believe everything is apart of his plan and one day my story will encourage someone to never give up.

What would you advise any young girl out there who has a dream of being a queen one day?

I would advise any young girl out there who has a dream of being a queen to remind her that she already is one.

Who is your ideal beauty queen and how has she helped you to evolve as a beauty queen?

I'd say it's between my mother and Oprah they both inspire me so much! The words that come to mind when I think of a queen is someone who is fearless, fierce and caring and they both embody all of those qualities. 

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We all know Oprah's story, but my mom is one of the most selfless people I know. When I was younger she taught ballet for free at a local community center in one of the city's most dangerous areas. Outside there were chalk outlines and yellow tape, but inside there were children who had a safe haven even if only for an hour or two. The women she taught always write her via Facebook about the positive impact her dance lessons had on their lives. I can only aspire to be half the woman she is. Most importantly, she taught me early on that beauty is more than skin deep it's about the way you treat others which helped me evolve as a beauty queen today.

Thanks to the beautiful Brandi for the interview. Pageants News wishes you all the very best for Miss New York USA pageant.