By Eiman Zuberi–

Junior Alexis Murry can usually be seen sporting a track and field jacket and running shoes. But now, she has temporarily traded her athletic gear for a sash and a crown.

The track athlete officially won the title of Miss Black U of L, which was held in March, but Murry doesn’t plan on stopping just yet. Her next step is the Miss Kentucky pageant.   

“I loved every moment of it and had a lot of fun,” the Maryland native said. “Winning was also awesome.”

She also said she loved getting crowned by Clark Davis, who was Miss Kentucky 2015.

However, Miss Black U of L wasn’t her first accomplishment in the pageant world. Murry also entered Louisville’s first Miss Omega pageant last year and won the title. This recent title, in which she beat out five other contestants, will take her to the Miss Kentucky pageant this summer. Murry says she is very excited to take her pageant skills to the next level.

“It was a great experience,” Murry said. “I learned a lot about myself. Like I learned a lot of girly type things. With me being an athlete, I don’t any girly things.”

Although she doesn’t see herself as a pageant girl, Murry says doing this definitely helped her step out of her comfort zone.

“My goal is definitely to win Miss Kentucky. I was not expecting to get this far but I might as well,” she said.

The categories are simple. There’s the introduction, swimsuit portion, talent portion and questioning on stage. There are also interviews before the actual pageant. That, Murry says, was her favorite section because she feels like she does well in interviews naturally. But her least favorite section is the swimsuit section. 

“When I first walked out I was like, ‘Oh God,’ but I tried not to show it. The cheers from the audience helped a lot. It’s nerve wracking because you don’t know what the reaction will be,” Murry said.

But Murry isn’t one to walk away from a challenge. This title is only another accomplishment in her growing list of extracurriculars. Aside from track and field, she’s also a member of Zeta Phi Beta sorority, SCORE, National Panhellenic Council and Bourgeoisie Modeling Company.

Her platform in the pageant is called Pretty Strong. The goal is to empower and encourage youth to love themselves. Murry says that although she wouldn’t say she was bullied, she was definitely teased in her youth, mostly for her dark complexion.

“I also witnessed others get teased to the point where they wanted to change their whole face,” she said.

She also said that although her platform will not end bullying completely, it will teach young girls that if “they love themselves, nothing someone else says can hurt them.”

“I start with younger girls, before the teasing gets set in stone. I love helping others, no matter the age but I feel it’s more difficult to deal with at that age,” she said. Her passion to help others has even inspired her future career path. Initially focusing on sport psychology, the psychology and exercise science double major now wants to go into therapy or counseling.

Over winter break, she helped throw a Christmas party at Mary Hurst, a home for abused and traumatized girls.

“The girls were telling stories about how they feel ugly and they have marks and scratches. They had all been through a lot,” Murry said.

She says she’s lucky because she has great support from her family, especially her older brother, who she calls her “backbone.”

When asked who her role model is, she said her parents.

“Both of them have taught me how to be strong and how to stay passionate about what I’m doing and to give 110 percent and to never give up. Those are the basics but they have helped a lot throughout my life,” Murry said. She said balancing track and school and now pageants gets tough, but her parents have guided her a lot.

Her family also been very supportive during her pageant competitions.

“My mom is excited because I wouldn’t do anything girly-girl. I like dressing up because it is not something I would do everyday,” Murry said. She proudly said she did her own makeup for the pageant, with a little help from YouTube tutorial videos.

She also gets massive support from her teammates, who came to her pageants.

“Sometimes they try to make me laugh during the serious moments on stage,” she said. “But I’m there for them and they’re there for me.”

Although school is top priority for Murry, she is very excited to begin her journey as a pageant queen.

“I’m still trying to stay cool. It has not hit me that I’m doing the Miss Kentucky pageant. I never would have thought this in a million years,” she said.