“Winning was a very rewarding experience and it made all of the hard work worth it,” said junior Jenna Edwards, winner of the Miss UM pageant, which took place Sunday night.
Edwards represented Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority in the competition. She will now move on to the Miss Florida Pageant.
“There really was no sense of competition because we all were well-deserving of the title and we all deserved to be finalists,” Edwards said.
Edwards prepared for the pageant by working out, keeping up with current events and running a charity organization that she started in the spring of 2000.
Edwards is the founder of the Queen for a Day foundation for children, a charity which promotes inner strength in girls who have cancer by raising money to give them makeovers in order to boost their self-esteem, she said. Different organizations, businesses and individuals donate wigs, make-up, accessories and feather boas to Queen for a Day.
Edwards says that she is proud of the nationwide organization that currently supports chapters all over the United States. Queen for a Day currently works at Jackson Memorial Hospital and Baptist Children’s Hospital here in the Miami area. She also hopes to spread the charity’s work to some hospitals in Broward sometime in the near future.
Edwards appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show last April to promote the work she has done with Queen for a Day.
“I was surprised when I got there because it was supposed to be a show about medical miracles, but it turned out to be a show for Oprah’s angel network, and I got to see the first child I treated,” Edwards said.
Oprah donated $10,000 of supplies to the new charity.
According to Edwards it takes a lot of hard work just to prepare for the pageant. She says that she still needs to work on her singing talents and her interview experience for the Miss Florida Pageant.
“I need to continue to work out, have lots of interview coaching and practice my public and extemporaneous speaking,” Edwards said.
Edwards has also been a contestant in the Miss Miami and Miss North Miami pageants.
“My impact on others, and knowing that I am affecting peoples lives in a positive way, is what keeps me going,” Edwards said.