Myja Gary’s Journey From Aggieland to Miss Black USA

Photo+Courtesy+to+Miss+Black+USA+Instagram

Photo Courtesy to Miss Black USA Instagram

Mattie Moore, Contributor

N.C. A&T alum and Richmond, Virginia native  Myja Gary reigns as the new Miss Black USA. After her reign as the 2015- 2016 Miss A&T, Gary continues her royal reign leading and empowering women nationwide. 

Gary attended N.C. A&T in 2012 to 2016 where she studied Journalism and Mass Communications. She was dedicated to being involved, on campus and throughout the community. She was driven by her desire to be impactful to others and herself. 

Gary received her first collegiate title during her freshman year as Miss Holland for  her residence hall at N.C. A&T. During that same time, Catherine “Cat” Hamlin and Reginald Johnson were reigning as Miss and Mr. A&T.

“I saw Cat as Miss A&T and I thought, I don’t know what she does, but I want to be her,” Gary said.

In 2015, she did just that. Gary was crowned Miss A&T on the platform “Still I RISE–Reaching, Inspiring, Strengthening and Empowering the Campus and Community.” 

Photo Courtesy of Miss Black USA Instagram

Becoming Miss A&T was one of the most monumental moments in my life,” Gary said. “It was truly life changing.”

She continued her mission to be involved on campus and in the community during her reign as Miss A&T. One of her most memorable community service events was a program where students wrote encouraging messages to child cancer patients for Valentine’s Day.

”That service initiative really warmed my heart to put a smile on their faces,” Gary said.

On campus, she led an initiative on Tuesdays entitled “Dressed to the T with Miss A&T. This program encouraged Gary’s female classmates to dress in their best professional attire in order to promote women leadership and professionalism.

“Those opportunities made being Miss A&T really impactful because I was able to organize community service initiatives for the community and on campus, ” Gary said.

Gary has been competing in pageants since high school. She has also competed in USA National Miss Virginia, Miss Black and Gold, and Miss HBCU. 

“All of those experiences prepared me to know what to expect when competing for Miss Black USA,” Gary said.

After crowning her successor as Miss A&T and graduating, Gary knew that she wanted to compete in at least one more pageant. However, her focus was going to graduate school and completing her Master’s degree. 

I took some time off and shifted my priorities,” Gary said. “But [I] also kept that goal in the back of my mind until the time was right.”

She graduated from Georgetown University in 2018 with her Masters in Professional Studies, Public Relations and Corporate Communications and began her career in the corporate world. 

After becoming settled at her new job at Zoom, Gary began researching pageant systems and fell in love with the Miss Black USA system’s mission and their celebration of Black women and women of color.

“Considering this would possibly be the last pageant I would compete in, I was very intentional about the pageant system that I wanted to be a part of,” Gary said.

Because of her age, 2021 was the last year Gary could compete in the Miss Black USA pageant. She competed with the platform “Bridging the Gap,” focused on women’s leadership and developing programs that will help further build her community.

Photo Courtesy of Miss Black USA Instagram

“Being that this was the last year I could compete, winning the national title was really full circle for me,” Gary said. “It was amazing, incredible to say the least.”

She also utilizes her pageantry experience to further expand her personal mission to be a mentor for young girls and to shed light on the black pageant system.

In addition to her title as Miss Black USA, Gary is the Internal Communications leader for Zoom. There, she serves as a liaison between executive leaders and employees. 

I find comfort in knowing that my work at Zoom is helping to make someone’s life better through technology,” Gary said.

Additionally, she hosts her own podcast entitled Ask Myj where she explores everything from lifestyle, relationships & dating, career and pop culture as a millennial black girl.   

On top of her responsibilities as Miss Black USA, Gary is still growing professionally and completing her personal goals. Balancing her busy schedule is not easy as she says it was a huge adjustment for her. 

“It was an adjustment,” Gary said. “I was still podcasting once a week and taking a makeup class once a week.”

Despite her busy schedule she continues to find time for self care, setting aside a weekend each month for personal time. She also finds time to hang with friends and has a girl puppy. 

Miss Black USA will be Gary’s final royal title. She wants to give back to the pageant community by shifting to a different role. She hopes to possibly become a judge for competitions to help inspire young women in the field she once pursued.