Miss Black America D.C. Metro 2010 (and District native) Kamilla Collier-Mullin talks with Niteside about her new foundation, at-risk youth in D.C., and how she stays motivated after the loss of her parents.
Niteside: Did you always want to be in pageants growing up?
Collier-Mullin: My story is not one that most pageant girls have. I had my own stereotypes about woman who participate in pageants, like a lot of people. But a very good friend recommended that I try it out. I did and I loved it. I fell in love with the mission of the pageant and what it does to give back to the community.
Niteside: Young women in the District look up to you, what would you say to someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps?
Collier-Mullin: Be mindful of both your short-term goals and long-term goals. Most importantly know your purpose and recognize your opportunities.
Niteside: What’s been your shining moment thus far?
Collier-Mullin: I think one of my favorite moments so far was realizing that sometimes opportunity comes in a vehicle that you’re not even looking for. I was at a march and met a young girl who was about 12. We connected and I know that I’ve had a huge impact on her life, and giving back to young women like her is really what this is all about for me.
Niteside: You’re launching the Cecey Foundation this month, what’s its purpose and why did you want to start it?
Collier-Mullin: The Cecey Foundation is my heart's joy! It’s named after my mother, was lost to violence in D.C. I wanted to start a foundation that will give back to young kids in the DMV who were in the position that I was in when I lost my parents. The foundation will provide funding so that the children can stay in school and have the basic necessities to live. We want to be the foundation that is there to support them.
Niteside: After losing your parents at such a young age, what kept you motivated?
Collier-Mullin: I just got up. I wish I could say at 10 years old that I had this profound thinking, but I really didn’t. I just knew that I had to keep going. I didn’t really start mourning until my twenties when I realized this was real, I can never share another Mothers Day or have her be there at my wedding, she’s really gone.
Niteside: How did you get past it all?
Collier-Mullin: Until you complete your past, it’s going to be waiting on you in the future. I went back to the place she was murdered and held a candlelight vigil. It helped me to let go and find closure. Now I can discover new joys and create new happiness. As long as you wake up and have breath, God wants you to be happy.
Niteside: What do you hope the youth in your foundation walk away with?
Collier-Mullin: I want them to know that creating their own happiness is possible and that it does get better. I have to make sure that is duplicated in our world.
To contribute to the Cecey Foundation log on to: www.ceceyfoundation.org