July 29, 2016
Nikki’s story is inspired and one that fits perfectly into our mission here at Inspire Greatness Aveda Institutes: education, leadership, community and beauty, or as Nikki says, “I am learning how to build an effective lesson plan during the day, and how to perfectly blend eye shadow at night.”
Just recently, the Mrs. International Pageant, hosted in Jacksonville, Florida crowned the their winner. Inspire Greatness Aveda Institutes was pleased to sponsor Nikki Black, Mrs. Arizona International in her competition for the crown. Although she didn’t take home the title this year, her story of how she suddenly became Mrs Arizona International is worth a listen. Nikki is also sister to one of our Aveda Institute Phoenix cosmetology educators (and an Aveda Institute Denver graduate), Rae Black, who’s been a support with Nikki’s styling, hair and makeup. Before the competition last week, we caught up with Nikki to learn more about her experience.
Q: What is the Mrs. International Pageant all about?
A: The Mrs. International Pageant showcases the accomplishments of today’s married woman by giving them the opportunity to share their passion, commitment to their families and affiliation with the platform they support. This pageant system has been around for 27 years and is led by Mel and Mary Richardson. This system is successful due to its high ethical values and adherence to rules and regulations. I am honored to be a part this organization.
Q: Tell us how you got to this point and where you hope to go from here?
A: A last minute turn of events brought me here. I watched my friend spend the year as Mrs. Arizona International 2015. I thought it was an awesome opportunity for her but I did not necessarily see myself in her position. The Saturday before the Mrs. Arizona International competition, she called me and said a contestant had dropped out and asked if I would be willing to take the spot. After some consideration, and talking to my husband, I decided to go for it. On Monday my paperwork was complete and I was an official candidate. On Friday, I met with the official Pageant Coach after rehearsal. I competed Saturday morning and by that afternoon, I was crowned Mrs. Arizona International 2016. I was absolutely stunned, grateful and ready to promote my platform on a larger scale. As I move on to compete in this pageant, I will support my passion for teaching by sharing my love for Montessori education. I will also put time and effort into building a network of veteran teachers who are willing to share their experience with newer teachers. My long term goal is to build a foundation that supports teachers on a physical, mental and spiritual level. I believe that when we care for our teachers, our children excel and the future is bright.
Q: Why is this opportunity important to you?
A: This opportunity is important to me because it challenged me to really think about the kind of contribution I want make to the world. Pageantry, especially in this circuit, is about much more than beauty and evening gowns. It is about giving married women a way to give back to their communities and build a legacy that will thrive. It is also a wonderful opportunity to spread the word about Montessori and why I believe it is such a rich and inspiring method of education that really puts the children and their needs above all else.
Q: What has this journey been like since it started?
A: This journey has been a whirlwind! I am currently wearing two hats: Montessori teacher and Pageant Queen. I am doing my best to be successful in both areas, which means I’m spending time in front of my computer and wearing 5-inch heels! I am learning how to build an effective lesson plan during the day, and how to perfectly blend eye shadow at night. On top of that, I am maintaining my commitment to being the best wife and mother I can be; without the support of my family, none of this would be possible.
Q: What’s a typical “day in the life” with your current title?
A: A typical Saturday, prior to an appearance, would require waking up very early to get my makeup and hair done by my talented sister-in-law and Aveda educator, Rae Black. While I am gone, my husband wakes the children up and gets them ready for whichever sports’ game they may have that day. After cheering on my kids, I would go home to change into my appearance outfit, spend a couple hours at an event and then return home. Once I am home, I am mom again! My family and I may eat out at a restaurant or I would prepare dinner. We may catch a movie on Netflix or a new release in the theater. Then, suddenly, it is bed time for my children and work time for me. I usually stay up about three or four hours after they have gone to bed. I use that time to catch up with my husband, then I spend at least two hours on school work and Pageant work (which is a conservative estimate). I try my best to take Sundays completely off and dedicate my time to my family.
A typical weekday requires getting my children and myself dressed and ready for school. We arrive at school at 7:30 am and stay until 4:00 pm. Once we arrive at home, I would prepare dinner, then take one (or both) of my children to which ever sports’ practice they are participating in at that time. Once we arrive back home, the kids take showers and prepare for bed time. Once the kids are tucked in, I get busy with school work, Pageant preparation and planning for the next school day for another three to four hours. Then I go to bed, and we start the process all over again.
Q: How do you prepare for competition? Do you have a ritual or routine?
A: I am preparing for competition by doing a lot of research. I want to be knowledgeable about this pageant circuit, as well as the contributions of former title holders. I stay in close contact with my Pageant Director and Pageant Coaches, who provide tips on maintaining confidence in new situations and ways to present my best self. I also practice mindful meditation, which allows me to calm my nerves and stay open to new experiences. I will be using mindful meditation each day in Jacksonville—especially in the hours prior to competition.
7. What are your favorite Aveda products and why?
My love affair with Aveda started at least 10 years ago. It began with the Be Curly Curl Enhancer. For the longest time, I was searching for a product that would respect my natural curl, while adding definition and shine. What I did not expect was the softness that Be Curly gives my hair. I have also used Brilliant to add extra shine. I have recently fallen in love with the Be Curly Co-Wash and Dry Remedy Oil. I am really looking forward to exploring the skin care and cosmetic lines that are equally amazing. I love Aveda for their commitment to producing natural, plant-based products and the responsible sourcing of high-quality, naturally derived ingredients.