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      First natural hair pageant aims to redefine beauty

      The contestants of Miss Naturally Crowned Carolina shared what they would do if they won on Good Day Columbia.
      COLUMBIA (WACH)-The Miss Naturally Crowned Carolina pageant is a first of its kind for South Carolina and Columbia.

      The pageant was created by Columbia-natives and best friends of over 10 years, Jessica Boyd and Maureen Ochola.

      Boyd is a 2009 alumna of Spelman College and Ochola graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2010; both are graduates of Richland School District Two schools.

      Boyd and Ochola created the Miss Naturally Crowned Carolina pageant in an effort to further their mission to promote positive images and dialogue about afro-ethnic textured hair, while uplifting the beauty and the dreams of women who choose to wear it.

      On April 12, 2014, ten representatives of Columbia??s natural hair community will compete for the title of Miss Naturally Crowned Carolina and a $1,000 grand prize scholarship or (non-equity) start-up business investment. The 1st and 2nd runner-ups will receive $750 and $500, respectively, also to put toward school or starting their own businesses.

      The contestants chosen to compete for the historic title are: Na??Chanelle Brown, 19, of Anchorage, AK; Iman Edgers, 21, of Columbia, SC; Alyssa Eskew-Scott, 20, of Lexington, SC; Amber Fennell, 25, of Savannah, GA; India Hill, 22, of Columbia, SC; Chanelle Johnson, 24, of Manning, SC; Jahvasha Johnson, 21, of Brooklyn, NY; Tailah Michael, 22, of Charleston, SC; Jasmine Moore, 20, of Columbia, SC; Alexandra Samuel, 20, of Columbia, SC; and Jacquel Taylor, 21, of Sumter, SC.

      Applications to the pageant were accepted from December 6, 2013, until January 31, 2014. In order to be eligible for participation, candidates must be women with naturally afro-ethnic textured hair from the ages 19-26 and residents of Richland or Lexington County, with intent to maintain residence for at least one calendar year.