By Naomi Bonman
SAN BERNARDINO, CA- In the majority of National Beauty Pageants it’s rare that we see a curvy or plus size woman being represented, and as a result we then see a decline in the self-esteem of young girls who don’t feel pretty because they cannot identify with what is being represented. This why Lia Freeman, San Bernardino resident, decided to get involved and run for Miss California Plus America 2014, in which she was crowned.
“I decided to compete for my community”, Freeman stated. “I see girls with low esteem and I wanted to give them someone to look up to and inspire them.”
Freeman flew to Atlanta on Monday, June 30 to compete in Nationals where she hopes to bring the crown home; however, with or without the National crown, she will still promote her platform of empowering inner city youth between the ages of 10 and 24 through the promotion of physical, mental and emotional well-being within them. Through her organization, ‘Lia’s Got Good Cense’, located in San Bernardino, Freeman educates youth in the areas of health, education, and finances. She has dedicated her life to working with children, as well as volunteering with those with special needs, veterans, and senior citizens. She is also a advocate of literacy, which she was inspired to promote being that her Grandmother has been a librarian in San Bernardino County for over 25 years.
In addition to her philanthropic activities, Miss Freeman is a standout contestant in the competition because she is a mixed breed being Latina and African American. Not only is she bi-racial, but she is one of the first who has decided to wear her hair natural despite some of the judges stating that she should straighten her hair.
“I am honored to represent California and all of what the Miss Plus American pageant systems stand for, celebrating the inner beauty of each contestant and commitment to our community. With a Latin and African American background, I love that California embraces all. I am an Afro wearing, salsa dancing girl with love for country music, a true diverse Californian!” Freeman said.
Miss Freeman is definitely breaking barriers and providing an inspiring outlet to our youth that if they dream it, they can achieve it by going out there and making things happen. She encourages other young adult mentors to assist youth in finding their passions and bettering their community by finding activities that youth are interested in; such as a dance party, bowling night, skate night, etc., led by a young mentor that they feel comfortable with.