On March 28, 2024, Texas ChE Sophomore Tayler Edwards was crowned Miss Black UT. Hosted annually by the Black Student Alliance (BSA)–an organization committed to uplifting and empowering students, with the ultimate goal of developing extraordinary leaders and uniting the Black community–eight contestants vied for title and a $1,000 scholarship. 

“While the purpose of the pageant is to celebrate our Black women leaders and allow them to showcase their talents and attributes,” offered Pageant Coordinator, Nia Franzua (rising Advertising Junior), “it is also an opportunity to get a scholarship and network with esteemed individuals. Contestants get to build bonds and sisterhood as they go on the journey together. We need to celebrate black women.”


For Baytown, TX native Tayler Edwards, it was her first pageant. “The pageant was inviting and seemed safe. I got immediate support from other black females and black students just like me.” She had 3 months from the time she entered, until the actual competition. She confided, “I wasn’t the prettiest growing up. Middle school was a tough time.” She would take a leap of faith which changed the trajectory of her life and left her zoned school to focus on STEM, which meant a 2-hour bus ride to Robert E. Lee High School, now STEM Career Academy at REL, where she was the first black female to graduate from the Instrumentation Technology Program. There she found some 'amazing teachers' who allowed her to see her own potential and beauty through continued and consistent encouragement.

Squat, Press, Lift, Repeat

2024 Tayler Edwards PowerliftingContestants competed in five specific categories: opening statement, UT spirit wear, talent, formal and Q&A. Tayler’s pageant talent? A choreographed deadlift dance routine. She has ‘always been into sports’ and has been powerlifting since her senior year in high school (the 2nd year for girls to powerlift). Her team operated without a coach until the English teacher stepped up. “Without her we never would have made it to regionals,” added Tayler. It was at a LEAD Texas event hosted by the Office of Admissions where Tayler solidified her decision to come to UT, where the LEAD MC was also a powerlifter. Tayler now serves as secretary for the UT team. “Powerlifting in an auditorium with so many people in the audience can be a little intimidating,” she adds, “but I like to perform.” Through nationals and other well-attended competitions, she’s learned to look above the audience and drown them out. A useful skill on pageant night.

In Her Own Words

Tayler hopes to use this platform to be a voice for the black community. She aims to be the face and a positive light for the community. She is taking on a lot and will find the balance between school and activities. Her focus in on the cosmetics side of engineering. Her next challenge will be finding the right internship and research opportunities.

2024 Tayler Edwards Steps“I had hardly ever dreamed of having the honor of being this year’s Miss Black UT. I am so undeniably blessed to have been able to walk the stage alongside beautifully empowering and brilliant black women. We all gave everything we had to this pageant, and I feel so lucky to be deemed fit to take on this title. From the camera crew who captured the many highs and lows to @texasbsa for creating this incredible platform and to [the coordinators] for your fevered support and dedication, I sincerely thank you all for allowing me to explore a side of myself that I wasn’t even sure was ready to shine. I extend my deepest gratitude to my family, who further encouraged me throughout this process. I love you all. For the next year, I hope you will support me as I aim to fully embrace the influence of this role by creating more space and a proactive voice for the black community at the University of Texas at Austin. Most importantly, I ask that God give me the courage and strength to take on the challenges to come. Thank you. #missblackut2024

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