Header image: Cydney Bridges with “mom-ager,” Paula Curry-Bridges
Cydney Bridges sat for her interview, while wearing a Grace College t-shirt procured at a recent college visit, as a recent two-title pageant holder: Miss Indianapolis Black Expo Chapter Scholarship Queen won this past June and USA National Miss Indiana Teen since March. Bridges placed in the top six of 50 teen contestants at the July UNM National competition held in Orlando, Florida. The two competitions couldn’t be any more different, according to Bridges.
The Miss Indy Black Expo competition is “more you based,” as the scoring was weighed more for the eight-minute interview and stage question, while the USA National Miss Indiana Teen places equal emphasis on “being able to shine on the stage,” she said.
What both competitions had in common was how Cydney Bridges won them. Comments from both pageant judges reflected their confidence, trust, and excitement for Bridges as a contestant and their ambassador.
The Carroll High School senior attributes her poise on stage from her ten years as a Voices of Unity choir member, having performed in China, at Carnegie Hall, and at the Vatican during a service (and that happening was an exception).
“Some of these girls have a lot of pageant and stage coaching,” Bridges said. “My coach is the Voices of Unity, teaching character development: how to talk in public and how to have an overall confidence.” Voices of Unity executive director Marshall White is her pageant coach along with “mom-ager,” Paula Curry-Bridges.
Bridges has been competing in pageants for about as long, since she was nine; as a third grader, an intercom announcement hyping a Miss Huntertown competition caught her attention. Always at home on the stage, Bridges has also danced for ten years (ages 3-13) at Sheekristyle Dance. “Stage is kind of where I’m at,” Bridges said. Other than that five-year break, it’s been consistent pageant competing.
“Pageants have taught me that it’s not about being perfect, not about being classic or artificial, but about being yourself and loving yourself,” Bridges said. “Hopefully your love for yourself shines on the stage.”
Raising awareness for childhood obesity has always been Bridges’ platform during her pageant run. When Bridges won the Miss Indianapolis Black Expo title, she talked about it during her interview.
“I always say childhood obesity starts in the home.” Bridges recently volunteered at Erin’s House for Grieving Children and learned how kids can fill the void from a loss with food. “That’s where the gaining weight comes in,” Bridges said. “And their parents aren’t going to stop them because they’re feeling it along with them.”
Kids are her passion. She wants to be a pediatric nurse practitioner and currently interns at Parkview Hospital for the nurses. As an ambassador for the Black Expo in July, one of her title duties includes answering questions from kids wherever she goes. “The crown is like a magnet. They come up and want to wear your crown.” She also volunteers and make appearances on behalf of the Black Expo.
Bridges received a $1,000 scholarship for winning the Black Expo title. Undecided on a college, she’s looking at some historical black colleges, but is also considering Indiana Wesleyan and Spring Arbor University in Michigan.
“Hopefully I will figure it out soon,” said Bridges, who is sure to stay busy in the interim. The time will fly.