Candiace Dillard is the reigning Miss United States 2013. “If I had to use one word to describe my experience, it would be surreal. When you pour yourself into something so intently, there is definitely an expectation that you will succeed. The truth is, though, nothing can prepare you for the moment when you actually bring that dream to fruition,” said Dillard. The one takeaway Candiace wants women and girls to get from her journey is to never give up on the life you have imagined for yourself. “It may not always come packaged exactly as you pictured it, but it WILL come. And it will be all yours,” Dillard shared.
“Pageantry has given me so many nuggets of wisdom. The most important lesson, though: be in love with yourself. No one; not judges, not pageant directors, not contestants can love you and see greatness in you if you do not first see it, believe it and manifest it in yourself. Be humble, be authentic and ALWAYS be ready,” Candiace said.
When Candiace was a student at Howard University, she started a non-profit organization called My Sister's KeepHer. Through this program, Dillard has been able to translate her efforts into a platform centered on the women's empowerment movement.
To date, My Sister's KeepHer has connected with over 15 schools, with plans to expand globally, Candiace told The Pageant Planet. “I have recently partnered with the United Nations (UNICEF) and their Menstrual Hygiene Management program to help bring awareness to the disparities in menstrual hygiene and reproductive health,” Dillard said. Candiace informed us, African countries like Kenya, Rwanda and Ghana, young women could be absent from school for weeks at a time due to mismanagement and almost no education on proper menstrual hygiene care. What is more upsetting is that these young girls lack access to basic supplies that we take for granted, namely sanitary napkins. To find out more information about the MHM initiative, Dillard invites you to visit UNICEF's WASH in Schools (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) website at WinsMapping. You can donate to the Menstrual Hygiene Management program by clicking on the "Get Involved" tab.
Update: Candiace Dillard Joins the Real Housewives Cast
We all might have a guilty pleasure on indulging in reality television every once in a while, okay every week. Now we have an even better reason to sit back and indulge this upcoming spring.
What show will she be on?
Just announced today, former Miss United States Candiace Dillard took to Instagram to announce her newest venture... reality television. The 31-year-old entrepreneur and beauty queen will make her debut on the BRAVO Hit Series Real Housewives of Potomac.
The trailer for the third season dropped on Wednesday where we got a glimpse of some of some of the shade Dillard will inevitably throw this season. When questioned by a fellow castmember about where she came from and about her history, she delivers the soon-to-be-famous line, “I came from Jesus.”
From pageant queen to entrepreneur
Dillard won the title of Miss United States 2013 and is now owns her own pageant coaching business, Candiace Dillard Pageant Consulting. She has competed in the National Miss American Coed, Miss Maryland USA and Miss District of Columbia USA systems before winning her national title.
Besides pageantry, Dillard is the co-owner and president of Prima Hair Collection based out of the DMV area. Her fiancé Chris Bassett surprised her with a proposal last year with her friends and family around.
She previously worked in the White House under President Barack Obama’s Administration and his 2012 re-election campaign. She served in the White House Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, where she was the bridge between the African American community and the White House. She studied broadcast journalism at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Dillard will be the only newcomer to join the OG’s on the show, and we cannot wait to see what she and all the women stir up this season when it airs on Sundays beginning April 1. After following her pageant commentary on social media for some time, we know we will be in for a treat and tons of one-liners! Someone pass the popcorn.
Contributed by Brittanie Nikki Brooks