Arts and Living Editor
A little over a week after winning the title of Miss Black and Gold Louisiana, Lydia Johnson sits in Café DeMon, blueberry scone in hand and ready to lock herself in one of the group study rooms of the library to finish up schoolwork. As a senior biology major, her schedule is full.
“I wouldn’t say that I imagined myself to become the person I am today,” Johnson said. “I knew I wanted to grow into someone who was sure of themselves and was a leader for other people.”
Johnson remembers being unsure of herself throughout her childhood, having been teased often. For her, growing up meant becoming more confident and being a leader. Always hoping to challenge herself, Johnson had never been in a pageant before entering to compete in Northwestern State University’s Miss Black and Gold.
“I do advocate to be yourself despite what either people think about you,” Johnson said. “So, I was like you know what, I’m going to practice what I preach.”
From preparation to stepping on the stage, Johnson felt nervous. She noted JoAnna Fisher, the former Miss Black and Gold winner for NSU’s competition, was a source of encouragement believing “she was everything that you’re supposed to be.”
The inspiration from other contestants also helped Johnson overcome her anxieties.
“Everyone was just doing their best and showing their qualities and characteristics on stage,” Johnson said. “[They were just] pushing past the nervousness to show who they are.”
The same unsureness filled Johnson in the Miss Black and Gold Louisiana competition until she stepped onto the stage. She said it was all it took for everything to begin to flow.
Winning the title, however, was a complete shock. There was only one thought in her mind when her name was announced as the 2020 Miss Black and Gold Louisiana.
“No way,” Johnson laughed. “It was very nerve-wracking but then I thought you know things do come into fruition.”
The newfound platform has made Johnson feel empowered, and she has already began working on projects to give back to the community.
A middle school in Benton, Louisiana was recently destroyed by a tornado, and Johnson has been focused on gathering school supplies and helping them with anything else they need during its time of recovery.
“I like to do more volunteer work geared towards children because they are the future and the foundation,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s primary message to others is to stop worrying about other’s perception of you and trust in your own ability to be wonderful. She is excited to see where the journey of being Miss Black and Gold of Louisiana will take her.
“I feel like being Miss Black and Gold of Louisiana will help me go places,” Johnson said. “Not only by just using the title but being the person I was meant to be through the title.”