Miss UAPB hopes to use platform to boost confidence in others

Alexis Cole begins her reign as the 84th Miss University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff this week excited to have the opportunity to represent her school and to showcase her platform of empowering young people to be confident in who they are.

Her platform is titled “Be True, Be You,” Cole, a senior business and marketing major, said.

“The words are simple, yet profound. I want people to know that no matter what anyone thinks about you, just be what God put you on this earth to be. If you’re doing what God wants you to do, what other people think doesn’t matter.”

Cole, who is from Memphis, Tenn., said her childhood experience with low self esteem and battle to overcome it led to the development of Be True, Be You.

“Growing up I was always taller than everybody else and it made me feel awkward,” Cole said. “I was interested in music and started with piano before moving to the alto saxophone. I was often the only girl who played saxophone in the band and going in I didn’t understand what came with the territory. Some of the boys were resentful and I was scared to showcase the gift that God gave me.”

Cole said her parents got her started in beauty pageants to help her develop a sense of self-confidence.

“The pageants really helped me to overcome my self-esteem issues,” Cole said. “This is who God put me on earth to be. I stood on that and really owned it. Now that I am Miss UAPB, I have the chance to get the word out to others. You don’t realize how big a platform being Miss UAPB is until you are here. I am going to share my story with the community. We worry about what other people think about us, but as long as we are positive and have a humble heart and humble spirit we can be confident in what we are doing. I know that my platform can take people to a higher level.”

Cole said her journey to being crowned Miss UAPB was well-planned.

“I came to UAPB wanting to be the queen,” Cole said. “It was my main goal. I said I would do whatever needs to be done to get here. I had a game plan. My freshman year I focused on my grades and I got to know the people I needed to know. I ran for and was crowned Miss Junior and last year I ran for and was crowned Miss UAPB. It has been a truly humbling experience because not everybody’s plan works out. I just left it to the Lord.”

Cole had a specific mission in mind when she began her quest to become Miss UAPB.

“I felt like the role of Miss UAPB needed to be revamped and brought to a higher level,” Cole said. “I wanted to raise the bar. I am planning a community-service project for sometime this fall that will benefit Shoes for Africa. They are a charity that provides shoes to children in Africa. I watched a documentary a while back that showed kids in South Africa who had no shoes to wear. I decided to figure out a way to help out and I found a place in Little Rock that ships shoes to South Africa. Admission to the event will be a pair of shoes.”

Cole’s first official act as Miss UAPB will be as sponsor of the Jr. Miss UAPB/Mr. UAPB Pageant on Saturday in the J. M. Ross Auditorium of the Hathaway-Howard Fine Arts Center on the university campus.

“The pageant will feature the talent of kids in the community including the Jack Robey Junior High School Marching Band who will open it and two little boys who rap who will perform during intermission.” Cole said.

“The aim and goal of the pageant is to provide a platform where children can shine as the stars they truly are. I chose the theme because I feel that all of our children are shining stars,” Cole said. “They may not be on television for millions to see or have extravagant lifestyles, but they are all children of God, which makes them a shining star in their own right.”

Cole hopes to continue playing the saxophone after graduation.

“I’ve been part of the UAPB Jazz Band during my time here and I really want to continue to play my saxophone after graduation,” Cole said. “I think that’s what I want to do.”