LaToya Mayo of Southeast is crowned Miss Black DC USA on Saturday, Dec. 10 during the pageant at Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church Family Life Center in Northeast.
LaToya Mayo of Southeast is crowned Miss Black DC USA on Saturday, Dec. 10 during the pageant at Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church Family Life Center in Northeast. (Mark Mahoney)

Proving that it destiny is innate and not just prescribed, LaToya Mayo, D.C.’s latest “it” girl, won big Saturday when she was crowned the new Miss Black USA DC.

At only 22 years old and with virtually no previous pageantry experience aside from the Miss United States Organization competition two years ago — where she did not even place in any category — Mayo said her win shows the importance of believing in yourself and encourages others to showcase their talent.

“I chose to compete in this pageant because I believed that I could win,” Mayo said. “Pageants such as these provide a platform for women who wish to be a role model in their communities and use their voices to empower others.

“Though I lost in the prior pageant I participated in, that only seemed to give me more confidence to try again,” she said.

Receiving a $5,000 scholarship for her grand win at Saturday’s extravagant pageant, Mayo plans to use her platform to redefine the essence of being a black woman and to advocate for educational equality.

“I’m from southeast D.C., so I know all too well all of the negative things that go on throughout the community,” she said. “Though I went to Trinity Washington University for my bachelors, I remember as a youth all the negative things others would tell the youth, like all the things that they could not accomplish.

“With my crown, I plan to try to change that by visiting school systems in the district, encouraging students and letting them know that anything is possible,” Mayo said.

Though her journey has only just begun, she already has plans to continue to be active in her community even after she passes the crown.

“When the time comes for me to hand over my crown and I am tucked away at American University for graduate school, I still very much plan on assisting girls who want to pursue pageants and those who have already joined, because it’s all about giving back and uplifting others,” Mayo said.

Lauren M. Poteat

Lauren Poteat is a versatile writer with a strong background in communications and media experience with an additional background in education and development.

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