Friday, July 15, 2011

By Dyra Agus Prasetyo

With only three semi-finalist placings, the District of Columbia is one of the least successful jurisdictions at Miss Teen USA. But now a smart student from George Washington University will be trying her luck to win the teen version of Miss USA pageant. Will the capital of the USA gain their first Miss Teen USA crown in 2011? So, Let's meet the 18 year old Miss District of Columbia USA 2011 Imani Bentham!

1. Would you tell a lil bit bout your self

Hey. My name is Imani Bentham. I'm an 18 year old sophomore at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. I'm studying International Affairs and Chinese. I hope one day to become study law and broadcast journalism. I love to laugh and have a good time with my friends. I also love to dance and watch plays. Most of my friends describe me as outgoing and kind of silly. I just like to have fun!

2. Why did you take apart in Miss DC Teen USA? Does it bring a better life opportunity for ya?
I participated in the Miss District of Columbia Teen USA pageant because a friend of mine thought that I would do well in the competition. This was my very first experience with pageants and it was a lot of fun. It was great to meet all the other girls that were competing. It was a life changing experience. The pageant itself taught me to believe in myself and believe that I am a beautiful person inside and out. I became more confident and more self-assured. With every experience I have had because of winning the title, I hope that I inspire the same in the people and especially the younger girls that I meet along the way. It has given me the opportunity to influence lives which is more than anyone could ask for

3. Which one serves more in you life, your education, experiences or your title?
I think throughout this year I have learned that it is important to manage and balance education and my pageant responsibilities. Both have given me the opportunity to learn so much about myself and where I want to go in life that I appreciate both greatly. Success in education is something that I have always believed to be extremely important and it continues to be important in my life. I understand the vast possibilities that pageants can afford me but I wouldn't have become the person I am today and the winner of the title without my education and my past experiences. All in all, I think everything is important in cultivating the best person you can be.

4. Could you tell us, The Capitol looks like?
The Capitol is beautiful. It is a unique experience to study and be so close to the Capitol, the White House, and the monuments. Being in the Capitol you are surrounded by history as well as the constantly changing legislature and political environment. My friends and I love to watch the sunset from the Lincoln Monument. DC is a beautiful place and pictures just don't do it justice. You must come visit!

5. So what is the trend in Washington DC that still influences you today?
The reason I came to DC is to be close the politics and be in the center of the hustle and bustle because I was interested in law and International Affairs. I felt is was important to keep my finger on the pulse of everything happening. When Obama was elected students from my school were minutes away from the White House and ran down to celebrate at the gates. The relevance of everything happening in DC is the most important thing to me.

6. According to you, what is the biggest contribution that all teenagers can do to develop their country / environment ?
I think the best thing that young people can do to better themselves, their country, and the environment is to continue to pursue their education and follow their dreams. Its just important for young people to be committed to their success and everyone around them will benefit.

7. After passing your crown later, what would you do? Interested in competing to Miss division or another teen pageant?
After passing on my crown, I'm going to continue my education I don't know if I will continue competing in pageants because I will age out of the Teen division of the competition. I have grown a lot in the past year but I think that I have to grow more and learn more about myself before I compete in the Miss division of the pageant. In a few years, I believe that I will have matured and blossomed enough to be comfortable competing in the Miss USA pageant.

8. Who is your idol? Do you believe that today's superstars a suitable as a good role models for every teen?
My idol is my mother. She has been there with me through the good times and the bad. What some children and what I sometimes forget is that parents have their own lives, their own feelings, and their own problems. We are a part of their lives. But, my mother manages to make my sister and me feel as though her world revolves around us. My mother has been through a series of trials and tribulations but has emerged as a strong women and a great mother. I don't believe that many of the young women in the spotlight today are the best role models. I think recently there has been an emphasis put on quick, easy routes to fortune such as reality TV shows. However, the shows have displayed such debauchery that the only think that young people can learn is how not to behave. People are confusing famous with infamous and I think the times need to change.

9. If you are chosen as Miss Teen USA, what would do first to show to public that you are really deserved to win?
If I won Miss Teen USA, the first thing I would like to do is to create a campaign against bullying. After getting to know all of the contestants over the past year, it has become clear that bullying online and in schools is a serious problem. Many of the contestants spoke very candidly about the problems that they have faced with bullying and self-esteem. It has become a passion of mine to make sure that young women love every part of themselves. It is very troubling to see that so many beautiful people are being subjected to ridicule and personal attacks. Bullying leads to so many other issues such as depression, eating disorders, and even suicide. It is important for me to attempt to but an end to a problem such as this. The influence and weight of the title of Miss Teen USA would be a wonderful opportunity to bring this problem and platform of believing in yourself to the forefront of the public eye. I would like to make sure that using the title I make an effort to decrease bullying through emphasizing self love.

10.The last one, do you think your self as the citizen of your state, your country or the world?
I definitely believe that I am a citizen of my state, the country, and the world. My dad was actually born in Barbados and moved here when he was younger with the rest of his family. I was lucky enough to witness him become a citizen of the United States. I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel to different countries and experience the different cultures that the world has to offer. Through my work and school experiences, I get the same opportunity to meet different people on a daily basis. A few years ago I travelled to India for community service. I realized in India that although I was across the world in a completely different country, the country and its people share similar problems as those in America. I also recognized that although there was a language barrier I was able to communicate with students I was teaching easily without speaking much. We used our love of sports, art, and food to learn about each other and become comfortable with each other. Diversity is so important in a person's life. It makes it easier to picture yourself in some one else's shoes and see things in a different light.

Thank you Imani… It’s an beautiful interview, and We do wish you luck at this year #TeenUSA pageant
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