Former Miss Claflin Ariel Manning now has her eyes set on another crown - Miss South Carolina USA.
Manning will represent the City of Orangeburg in the pageant, which will take place on Nov. 19 in North Charleston. She was selected after standing out in a casting interview process.
“I am so excited to represent the City of Orangeburg and Claflin University,” said Manning, who was Miss Claflin 2010-2011.
Manning and other contestants will be judged based on their performance in evening gown, swimsuit and interview competitions. The winner of Miss South Carolina USA will compete in next year's Miss USA Pageant.
She is a member of the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College and the world-renowned University Concert Choir. Her diverse portfolio of campus organizations also includes Friends of the Earth, the American Chemical Society and the Claflin University Theatre Ensemble.
She is a senior biochemistry major who last year had a summer internship at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Previously, she has presented original research on uncontrollable cell growth causing cancer.
Recently, Manning and Miss Claflin 2011-2012 Leighann Black returned from a national Advocates for Youth conference in Washington, D.C. that aims to improve sexual health education and curb teenage pregnancy. The duo plans to use their newfound knowledge to launch a campaign on campus and in the community to preventative and sexual health care education.
She is the daughter of Douglas and Geraldine Manning of Orangeburg. The 21-year-old is a graduate of Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School, where she was president of the senior class.
To prepare for the pageant, Manning is exercising, eating right, practicing for the competition and keeping abreast of current events. But to her the most important ingredient in the recipe for pageant success is prayer.
“A lot of prayer,” she says.
After graduating Claflin, she aspires to attend a top-flight medical school and eventually become a physician.
But before embarking on medical school, Manning will aim to conquer the runway.
“It would mean that I could use my title as a vehicle to positively reach and inform my generation about things which impact our world today,” Manning said of her bid to win Miss South Carolina USA.
There is a $2,000 entry fee to compete in the pageant. If you wish to donate any funds to support her, please email Manning at email@example.com.