The moment was truly royal, as Victoria Saleem, a Grambling State University senior digital art major accepted her crown as the reigning Miss Black Louisiana. Saleem said being crowned was the beginning of a new adventure in her life.
“I am incredibly grateful to have won the Miss Black Louisiana title, and I feel as though God is taking me through a breakthrough period in my life,” Saleem said.
The newly crowned Miss Black Louisiana said participating in a pageant is something she’s always imagined herself doing since she was younger, but competing in pageants was never an option for her until recently.
“I decided to take a chance,” she said. I told myself if I ever wanted to compete in pageants now is the time. I wanted an outlet where I can serve my community on a larger scale and I felt that the Miss Black Louisiana USA organization would allow me to do so if I won.”
The three-hour pageant was held on November 15 in Baton Rouge, La. Saleem felt that the talent portion was both her strongest and weakest area of the competition. She wanted to showcase a talent that was meaningful to her so she chose speed-painting as her talent.
“I took a risk doing this talent because it was different and it had never been done before,” she said. As it turned out, being different worked out for my benefit because it turned into my strongest area of the competition.”
The Mansfield, La native is set to graduate December 19, and says she is more than happy that Grambling State University will become her alma mater. She chose to attend Grambling State University because it was where her entire family had gone to college.
“I wanted to continue the legacy and share some of the same experiences they had at a HBCU,” Saleem said.
Saleem is the current secretary and Miss Art Guild 2014-2015 for GSU Art Guild Club, an art organization on GSU’s campus, and a member of the Alpha Theta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
The queen holds herself to high standards and works for the sake of her own honor and for the sake of young teenage girls who are seeking a role model.
“I am always aware that I could be impacting someone’s life because you never know who could be watching you,” she said.
This was Saleem’s first pageant and her artistic, loyal, and driven characteristics helped her tremendously to win the title she said. She believes that some of the qualities and attributes she has that will help her represent the Miss Black Louisiana USA title sufficiently is having self-worth, great-work ethic, and being motivated.
“What motivates me is the fact that I know my loved-ones are counting on me to succeed,” she said. I believe that in order to succeed you have to be a philanthropist and use your God given talents for the betterment of other people.”
Saleem’s dream job is to eventually produce cartoons on her own television network. In 10 years she hopes to see herself with a loving family, on the rise as an artist and to lead the corporate world.
“Once I graduate from college I plan to attend graduate school and my goal is to work for Turner Broadcasting Inc. as a graphic designer in the Cartoon Network Division, and then work my way up the ranks to Art Director,” she said.
The future cartoonist said if she had fifteen minutes on primetime television she would discuss her platform, “Support the Arts”, and discuss its values in education.
“My platform is about promoting and celebrating the positive impacts that art reflects on communities,” Saleem said. I want to encourage schools to reintegrate art programs back into school curriculums so that it can be available to all students and to demonstrate how municipal involvement in the creation and implementation of art policies enriches communities.”
Saleem hopes to be an inspiration through her title and encourage others to believe that education comes first and that your service to the community starts locally, but can eventually change the world.