Hey Dolls! I’m uber excited about today’s post! Last year I was honored with the chance to interview Tampa’s very own Miss Usf 2012 Bionqua Lynch! The biology major beauty competed in the 2012 Mr. and Miss University of South Florida scholarship pageant last April after being encouraged to do so by her friends. Upon competing and/or snatching wigs, Lynch completely dominated the Miss UsF pageant and went home with the crown title! Here at Shatterproof Glass Dolls, we love to support strong, empowering women and Miss Bionqua Lynch is just that and so much more. Thank you so much for sharing your time and partaking in this interview with us Doll, we’re greatly appreciative . GO BULLS!
1. In what ways has your life changed upon receiving the title of Miss Usf?
Well my life has gotten a lot busier. I would say that it’s given me the opportunity to be more of a role model and reach out to a wider audience. Before I was just influencing the people that are in my everyday life such as my family members, the students that I mentor through NCNW’s Young Ladies program and also my friends. It seems as though I inspire them to want to do better especially when it comes to school because that’s something I take very seriously. But it definitely widened the audience I was able to reach!
2. What made you run for Miss USF and have you done any other pageants before in the past?
Honestly I would go to a lot of my friends pageants and I never, ever thought that I would do a pageant. I was really a tomboy growing up and I don’t know, I just didn’t see myself being a pageant girl and I didn’t understand what pageants were really about. So when my friends basically told me, “Bionqua, you’re smart, you’re pretty and you’re talented, you could totally win a pageant” and I was just like “ha, ha you’re funny I don’t do pageants, I’ve never done a pageant before.” And for them to push me to do the biggest pageant of the school?! I was like, come on guys. It wouldn’t hurt to try it though, I’m really up for trying new things. So Christina Hughes who was running for SGA president last year and is also apart of NCNW, is a good friend of mine and she was like “Bionqua I’m submitting your application, I’m signing it right now let’s do this.” By that time I was like okay this girl is really serious. If people really believe that I can do this, why would I shut my eyes to an opportunity? If there’s an opportunity that I can take I’ll take it and see what happens.
3. How long have you been natural and what does it mean for you to carry your title while at the same time owning the natural you?
I’ve been natural I would say, forever. I had one perm in my life. My mother permed my hair because she thought it was like a coming of age thing. My mother is Puerto Rican so her hair is straight and she really didn’t know how to handle my hair. So when I was going to middle school she thought that I would want my hair to be straight because I hated my hair growing up. The combing, the pulling, I would cry, I was very tender headed. Then on top of that I played sports a lot so after a while I couldn’t stand being on the dryer for two hours getting my hair done every week. So she personally cut my hair every two months until it (the permed ends) finally grew out, and I’ve been natural ever since. Other than that one perm I’ve always been natural. High school is when I accepted my natural hair and was like ” this is me and I have to embrace that.” Once I embraced it and started wearing my hair natural instead of in braids, others started to accept it. It was hard, you have to be confident to wear your natural hair and try different things. But once I gained that confidence and I stuck with it being Miss USF and having natural hair is not that hard because this is who I am. Honestly, with me winning the title it wasn’t even a question of doing something different. This is my hair and this is how I wear my hair, therefore this is how you’re going to see me whether I’m Bionqua or Miss USF.
4. Do you have a specific hair regimen and if so would you care to share?
Okay, so I usually don’t advise people to take my hair tips because a lot of people don’t know about my health issues as far as me having celiac disease and being allergic to gluten. My body is just very sensitive, period. When the natural fad finally started to come out they started to come up with all these hair products and I’m just like really, where were these my whole life? They have the remedy for everything now. It’s funny because I tried to stay away from my typical products like Garnier, Loreal and Pantene. I tried to switch to these natural hair products with more organic ingredients, and the funny thing is whenever I use them the next thing I know… I break out. Every time I try something new I’ll know that I’m allergic to it because my neck breaks out, flares up and gets itchy. You would think that because it’s natural it would be better. So honestly I stick to the regular stuff like Garnier Fructis shampoo and conditioner. I don’t shampoo all the time but I have sensitive scalp so I when I do I use Selsum Blue every once and a while to keep the itch out. Then I use Herbal Essence Hello Hydration conditioner because it makes my hair soft and manageable. I’ll leave it in for a few minutes and then I’ll comb out my hair with luke warm water and then rinse, finally ending with Garnier Fructis leave in conditioner. Another thing that I realize works is Shea Moisture and Argan oil.
5. What would you like to say to young women that are having issues with self-love and confidence? What advice or words of wisdom would you share with them?
I would say that the most important thing is to realize is that you can’t satisfy everyone. I think that the main reason many people try to maintain a certain look or style is because they try to conform to society’s ideas and I don’t think that’s important. I find that young people put too much importance on that. It’s easy to tell someone to love yourself first and others will love you for accepting yourself, but it’s easier said than done. So I think the most important thing for them to realize first is that what other people think and say is not exactly as important as you might think it is. I know in high school everything seems like it’s the end of the world but it’s really not. So once they realize that, they can go on to finding themselves, creating their own image and loving themselves and getting past all that. Just don’t care so much about other people’s opinions, because it’s just an opinion.
6. Who and what inspires you?
The who that inspired me would be my parents, they’re very hard working people and have led by example. I believe that I can do anything because I’ve seen them do it. I’ve seen them come from nothing and make something of themselves, you know buy their own house, cars, raise two children and send them to college on their own. They definitely inspire me. As far as what inspires me, this campus. Being here and seeing what other students do makes you want to be proactive, it makes you want to get involved in something and go out and change the world. We have so many different organizations that are doing so many different things, so much is getting done in one small area. It really does make a difference. Something that also inspires me is children and young adults. Children for one, their innocence kind of reminds me of the child inside of me. A lot of people say that I’m goofy, overly active and hyper, but I feel that people lose sight of the good things in life at times. There’s so many simple things like, the sun is shining you know? There’s so many things to be grateful for and kids remind me of that a lot. As far as young adults, I work with at risk youths so it just inspires me to see how much they can go through and still move on and progress.
7. How do you balance your academics and your role as Ms. USF?
I plan every day to the T. There’s been times when I’d actually forget to eat because I was just running all over the place, and I don’t get hungry I just get headaches. So yeah, simple things like that I’d forget. But it really does take a lot of organization. Its kind of like if you want to get something done you’ll make it happen. This is definitely my hardest semester yet and every year I try to make my schedule easier and instead I end up making it harder. I never used to do this but I find myself pulling a lot of all nighters because its just one test after another. I mean I’m doing alright so far, I try to maintain but I wouldn’t take back being so involved for the world.
After the last question, I explain to Bionqua what a Shatterproof Glass Doll is and if she’s ever had any Shatterproof moments upon becoming Miss USF. Her reply is as follows:
One moment that comes to mind was during Walk a Mile in Her Shoes where I didn’t really know what it was about but I was like ” guys walking in heels? This I must see.” To hear a woman’s story about how her husband set her on fire and hit her in the head with a hammer four times and she survived, it just blew my mind . Then to be a part of that and be able to raise awareness and influence men letting them know what’s going as well as informing them on something like this with women that are taking a stand. That was one of my Shatterproof moments as Miss USF. * she asks me to explain the definition again in which she replies* I like that. I definitely feel that we were able to show that definition to the men that day. Sometimes they don’t understand that even though we are women and we get emotional, we are strong. We are just as strong as we are sensitive or weak and everyone has their weak moments. At times I feel guys put up a front to be strong all the time but in reality that’s not how people are, that’s not how we were made. So the fact that women can embrace that and show both sides at the same time is amazing.
8. What is your platform during your reign as Ms. USF? What goals do you wish to achieve?
The program that I work with is called Young Ladies so the platform doesn’t really have a name because we’ve expanded now but at that time I called it Young Ladies and it’s through NCNW. We started two years ago and basically what we do is go to at risk high schools and we speak to the students and mentor them. So we do activities with them and we’ve become friends even like sisters to them. I still actually keep in contact with some of the girls that I worked with last year. This year I became one of the committee chairs so I run the program and I’ve extended it, as a result we now we have a segment called Gents where we mentor young men. Its great and it’s been amazing. I love them and I feel that we’ve gained more from them then they’ve gained from us. So that’s my platform and I’m really passionate about it, I really love these kids. It’s a lot of work and being Miss USF and a Biology major, it’s been very trying but those kids really brighten my day. My new goal is to generate more attention to this program. I feel like it could be so much more and we could get more people involved. I really want people to experience what I’ve experienced.