2018 Miss Texas USA Candidate Antonia Okafor Teaches Young Women How to Defend Themselves

Tens of millions of women have used the #MeToo hashtag to share long held secrets of sexual harassment and assault. The movement is worldwide and includes women from all races, religions, and social classes. It started with movie stars, but also encompassed Senators, Congresswomen, business leaders, athletes, and most importantly Everywoman everywhere. Self-defense training can help women survive violent attack. Training builds self-confidence, reduces the risk of attack, and conquers fear. 

The gorgeous Antonia Okafor, who'll be competing for the crown of Miss Texas USA, founded just this year, an organization called emPOWERed. EmPOWERedhelps young women on college campuses equip and empower themselves through self-defense. Antonia is currently on a nationwide speaking tour where she is talking to college students about their right to defend themselves - "I’m a very passionate advocate that all people, but especially women, should be able protect their bodies with the tools they need to do so. As we see with the news reports of sexual assault on college campuses, I believe that women, need to hear this message more than anyone. My motto is to take our #MeToo and make them into a #NotMe" - she explained.

In addition to being involved in her organization Antonia is a political commentator. So you will regular see her on Fox News, CNN, BBC and the like, discussing the current and pressing issues of the moment.

If she wins the crown Antonia will have the opportunity to represent the state of Texas at Miss USA 2018. Did you know ? Nine Miss Texas USA titleholders have won the Miss USA title and one, Chelsi Smith, has been crowned Miss Universe. In the 1980s Texas won the Miss USA title five consecutive years from 1985 to 1989, a streak known as the "Texas Aces"

Here we bring you the untold facts about Antonia’s life and also her ideas, objectives and opinions… Have a look!

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

I still can’t believe I get to compete! I love my home state of Texas. So it is an absolute honor that I get to vye for the Miss Texas USA title! 

My preparation involved building the very best team possible. John Benton of John Benton Model Fitness is my physical trainer, Austin Ryde took my photos and did my hair & makeup for them. The MakeUp Zone in Dallas taught me how to do my own makeup! Mariah Chaney helped me with my runway walk and Kelly Sargeant helped with my interview preparation. I also had many more incredible sponsors who helped me become the very best me possible! The Garmax Group is my official sponsor and made it possible for me to assemble such a great team. But really, to prepare for Miss Texas USA, the biggest part was sticking to a daily diet and exercise plan. The same one that has helped me lose over 120 lbs in the last couple of years. 

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Photo : Austin Ryde

I never dreamed of ever being in a pageant. I grew up overweight, bullied and very depressed. Being a beauty queen was the farthest thing from my mind because I never saw myself as beautiful. I want to bring hope to all those little girls who never felt good enough. I want to inspire them and help them see that you can come from a hard and broken past, but God is able to turn your ashes into a crown of beauty-Isaiah 61.

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

I was inspired by the former Miss Rhode Island America, Allie Curtis! She has been telling me about the amazing benefits of pageants for a long time now. It wasn’t until I got to see the last few years of her own journey and triumph that I let go of my past misconceptions about “pageant girls” and tried it for myself. I competed in Miss Texas International just this January. It was my very first pageant. And I’ve never looked back! 


What do you expect to gain by competing in pageantry?

I expect to grow as a person, and boy have I! I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve learned how I carry myself in the present can reflect how we felt about ourselves in the past. I’ve had a hard time believing I’m no longer that 241lbs woman of a couple of years ago. Pageantry has helped me find my inner confidence, fire, my inner queen.


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

Both! One way is that my large social media presence has helped me fundraise for this pageant. I had no idea how expensive it could be!

It’s also disadvantageous because I am a very opinionated person. My job is to be opinionated. You will see me on CNN, Fox News, BBC talking about issues that are important to me. Many don’t like what I have to say. But that’s who I am. 

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

Absolutely! I’ve actually gained weight since my decision to compete! I know, crazy! I believe the pressure of having to be a certain size (a goal I made entirely on my own) has the opposite effect. In order to reverse that, I’ve had to constantly go back to WHY I lost weight in the first place. For me, it was to be a free person. To move freely and express myself freely. I do that when I have control over my diet and exercise. That’s my WHY. 


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

I would advise them to hold on to the fact that no matter what life you currently have right now, you can always make it better! My father went to prison when I was a young girl. I was incessantly teased for my weight, for my dark skin color and just for who I was as a person. But once I embraced all of those unique qualities about myself and turned them into traits that instead made me special, that’s when my life started to change! I hope young girls know that they can be anything they want to be. They have to believe it for themselves first. Their dreams will become a reality after.

Who is your ideal beauty queen and why?

I absolutely adore the current Miss Universe! Demi-Leigh-Nel-Peters of South Africa is such a role model for me! She embodies a true lady. She’s always smiling, humble and gentle. She’s approachable and radiates inner beauty that only adds to her outer one. But best of all she also shares my platform of empowerment through self-defense! Love it! 

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Thanks to the beautiful Antonia for the interview. Pageants News wishes you all the very best for Miss Texas USA pageant