Miss Black Georgia U.S.A. familiar face to some on installation
Kimberly Jones, daughter of Gerri Jones, chief, Base Realignment and Closure plans and Integration office, gets crowned Miss Black Georgia U.S.A. 2010 Dec. 6 at the Lions of Judah Event Center in Stone Mountain. Kimberly will go on to compete for Miss Black U.S.A. this summer.

What began as an attempt by Kimberly Jones to earn extra scholarship money for college may end with her being crowned as the next Miss Black U.S.A.

Kimberly, daughter of Gerri Jones, chief, Base Realignment and Closure plans and integration office, took a big step toward becoming Miss Black U.S.A. by winning the Miss Black Georgia U.S.A. 2010 Pageant Dec. 6 at the Lions of Judah Event Center in Stone Mountain.

"She's just the type where if she puts her mind to something and goes after it, she can achieve it," Gerri said.

Still, Gerri said it was a bit of a shock to learn that Kimberly was entering the contest. "She (Kimberly) is a first-year law student at the University of Georgia, Athens. I thought law would take up a majority of her time," Gerri said, adding that it was also shocking because Kimberly had limited experience competing in pageants.

Kimberly had previously competed in a pageant while in South Cobb High School and while attending college at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Although Kimberly won the Howard University pageant and was crowned Miss School of Business, she said she wasn't initially interested in the Miss Black Georgia pageant.

However, a friendship with Shayna Rudd, the Miss Black U.S.A. 2009 title holder and fellow student, inspired her to try.

"She (Rudd) told me it was a good way to get scholarship money," Kimberly said.

Kimberly said her mother was influential in choosing her dress for the evening gown portion of the pageant and with helping her to keep a positive mindset.

Like the Miss America pageant, the competition has several events competitors are judged on.

All contestants are evaluated on their personal interview, personal fitness, talent, evening gown and question and answer responses.

"We bounced things off each other (such as) what song to sing and what to wear," Gerri said.

In addition to her mother, Kimberly said she also relied on her older sister, Nikia.

Although Nikia lives in Connecticut, Kimberly said she still provided a valuable support system, performing practice question and answer sessions with her over the phone.

"I was in Connecticut, so I wasn't able to do much other than small things," Nikia said, noting she was still always available via phone and e-mail. "Overall, I was a support system, just there to push her when times got tough. That was my major role, (as) a friend and big sister far away."

Distance meant little to the Family, who describe themselves as extremely close-knit.

Their closeness grew out of the multiple moves the Family had to make as a result of their father, Hosea's, career as an Army chief warrant officer, said Nikia.

"Being a military Family, we always had to rely on each other," she said. "We've always been a close Family and that bond has never broken."

Gerri believes the traveling also helped play a role in Kimberly's victory.

"As a military Family member, she's been in many different environments and different schools, but she was always able to adjust easily," Gerri said.

"We're very, very proud of her. She's a beautiful young woman who is already serving Georgia well," Nikia said. "When she wins Miss Black U.S.A., which I'm confident she can, she will serve the nation just as well."

For Kimberly, that journey will begin this summer.

In the meantime, Kimberly said she'd like to focus on her platform of improving education, especially for high school girls, within her community.

The idea stemmed from her own high school days, where she saw students get pregnant and either drop out or decide not to go to college.

"I think it is an opportunity to be a role model," Kimberly said. "I can relate to them more because I just graduated less than five years ago."

She will be visiting her old school Feb. 3 to do just that, hoping to emulate the success she's had in getting three of her friends to go back to school.

No matter what happens in the future, Kimberly's Family is proud of all she has done so far.

They also want to thank all the people from Fort McPherson who have wished her well, Gerri said.

Kimberly was a summer hire this year at Fort McPherson, interning in human resources.

In addition to the well wishes, Gerri said if anyone has any opportunities to speak within the community, Kimberly is available and looks forward to the opportunity.

As for her own opportunities, Kimberly said it has been a blessing and encourages others with dreams to reach for them.

"It's been a great experience and if anyone is interested they should go for it. The worst that can happen is you're told no," she said. "Always try for whatever you want to do."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16