RAHWAY, NJ - On Sunday, August 20th, a new Miss Black USA will be crowned in Washington, D.C. Rahway High School alumnus Daphne Lee will be representing New Jersey in the 2017 Miss Black USA pageant. Lee managed to turn her small-town dreams into a nationally renowned career. 

The Miss Black USA pageant showcases the internal and external beauty of women of color. Established in 1987, the pageant’s mission is to “empower women to own their power and celebrate their unique talents, traits, and beauty.” The contestants are judged based on 5 key categories: Personal Interview, Personal Fitness, Evening Gown, Talent, and Question and Answer. The pageant winner will walk away with an academic scholarship, all-expense paid trips around the world, a year’s worth of free shoes from Lilliana footwear, a doll made in their likeness, and much more.

Each pageant contestant must have a platform, which is a matter that they are passionate about. Lee chose Multiple Myeloma Cancer (MMC) as her platform. MMC is a form of bone marrow cancer that has had a major impact on her life. This is a relatively uncommon cancer but throughout the years, doctors have developed effective ways to treat it. In 2016, Lee’s mother was diagnosed with the disease. She is using her pageant opportunity to raise awareness and give hope to others that are battling the illness.

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Lee hopes to become New Jersey’s first Miss Black USA. She credits Rahway with providing her with the opportunity “to share [her] work in arts education” and allowing her to be a role model for the youth by speaking at schools and events around town.

The Rahway community is welcomed to support her with an online donation (www.GoFundMe.com/leedaphne) to help assist with last minute pageant costs like transportation, fees, etc. If you are unable to assist financially, any gesture of support is welcome.

No matter where Daphne Lee’s talents may take her, she will never forget where it all began, her hometown, Rahway.