Kayla Hardimon poses with a Girl Scouts group

Photo courtesy of: Kayla Hardimon


Kayla delivered her message to this Cincinnati Boys and Girls Club group

Photo courtesy of: Kayla Hardimon


Kayla enjoys visits with young girls after speaking

Photo courtesy of: Kayla Hardimon

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Miss Black Ohio seeks to inspire young women throughout Ohio

Kayla Hardimon seeking financial support for Miss Black USA pageant

Junior Ohio University student Kayla Hardimon is adjusting well to her new role as Ohio royalty.

After being chosen Miss Black Ohio last summer, Hardimon, a broadcast journalism major, has spent the past few months visiting schools, churches and other organizations throughout the state. Her platform, "A Woman's Worth," seeks to empower young women and promote a healthy self-image.

"Everything I've done has been focused on the empowerment of young women," said Hardimon. "A woman who sees herself as beautiful will be so much more powerful and believe in herself so much more."

Hardimon has worked with both the Girl Scouts and the Boys and Girls Club to help foster positive self-image and self-esteem in young women. Although many of her events are held throughout Ohio, she is seeking more connections in the Athens area.

She is currently planning events with numerous student organizations.

Earlier this quarter, Hardimon spoke at the Ohio University Women's Center to spread her message of women's empowerment. Susanne Dietzel, Women's Center director, came away impressed by the message.

"We very much enjoyed her visit, and her message was right on target," said Dietzel. "She has done a fantastic job as Miss Black Ohio, and I wish her luck in the Miss Black USA pageant."

One event she hopes to realize would be a "wear red" fashion show to support the"Heart Truth Campaign," a partner of Miss Black USA.

"The truth about heart disease is that it's the number one killer of women. Out of every four women that die, one of them will have died from heart disease," said Hardimon. "I want to do a 'red dress' or 'wear red' photo shoot event that would help raise money for me and also spread the truth about heart disease."

In addition to her role as Miss Black Ohio, Hardimon is fundraising to help finance her trip to the 2012 Miss Black USA pageant on Aug. 5. She estimates that it will cost $1,450 to compete in the pageant, in addition to the $1,000 she has already raised for two mandatory $500 ads for the event's program. So far she has received various donations, has started a letter writing campaign and is seeking professional sponsors.

Despite her busy schedule of appearances and fundraising, Hardimon has stayed focused on her primary role, as a student at Ohio University. After graduating with a degree in broadcast journalism, she plans to attend law school and eventually become a state representative. As a role model for young women, she knows how important the balance is between school and her role as Miss Black Ohio.

"I know that for me to be the best role model for young girls, I need to be focused on education," said Hardimon. "But for me to be the role model I need to be, I have to be at the events. It's a give and take."

Hardimon also said she wants to hear from organizations and people on campus who are willing to help inspire young women.

"I am looking to find organizations or people on campus who are willing to work with me or support me in the things that I am doing," said Hardimon. "There are so many things that I want to do to help young women, and I'm willing to work with everyone on this journey."

For more information about her role as Miss Black Ohio, including upcoming events and ways to contribute, visit her blog or send an email to kaylahardimon@gmail.com