Desiree Lewis, ’05, to compete in Gambia for Miss Black USA title

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Desiree Lewis, '05Desiree Lewis, ‘05, a first-grade teacher at Mellichamp Elementary School in Orangeburg, S.C., left today for the first leg of her journey to the West African country of Gambia to compete for the Miss Black USA title.

Lewis previously won the title of Miss Black Orangeburg before capturing the Miss Black South Carolina USA title.

She travels first to Washington, D.C., where she will meet her fellow contestants, and on Wednesday, May 23, they will board a chartered flight to Gambia. Then, on Friday, June 1, on African soil, a celebrity panel of judges will determine the winner of the 2007 Miss Black USA crown.

The celebrity panel of judges include Publisher John Blassingame of Today’s Black Woman, Fashion Designer Chi-Chi E; President and CEO of MGM Mirage’s New York-New York Hotel Resort and Casino Lorenzo Creighton; Former star of NBC’s The Apprentice Omarosa; former Miss Black USA 1995 Sheila Rugege-Dantzler; President of the Street Basketball Association Jerrod Mustaf; and Director of Marketing for UZURI Astrid Christensen-Tason. Media personality Jeff Johnson and NBA player Antawn Jamison headline the Preliminary Competition panel of judges.

Actor/comedian Michael Colyar and actress Deya Smith will host the pageant from the historical Senegambia Beach Hotel. The pageant is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

The winner will receive an academic scholarship along with other prizes

The personal interview will be the first segment of competition the women will face. This year pageant producers added a twist to the interview. Each contestant will also be judged on her knowledge of African culture.

“I am truly blessed to represent the State of South Carolina as the first ... delegate (to the Miss Black USA pageant). I am so excited to be competing ... and look forward to using this experience as a window of opportunity for others to follow,” Lewis said.

Lewis received a master’s degree in early childhood education from SC State in 2005.