Osas Ighodaro HERstory: Womens History Month Spotlight

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I am a proud Nigerian-American woman who is God fearing, ambitious, generous, determined and talented. I am a driven and compassionate being who aspires to make a positive impact on the world.

My name means God’s Gift and it comes from the Benin Tribe in Nigeria. I was born and raised in the Bronx New York and am proud to be amongst the first American born generation in my fsmily. My Nigerian and American roots have allowed me to develop a keen understanding of the importance of family, pride and the value in never forgetting where one comes from.

I graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism and dual minor degrees in Entrepreneurship and Theatre. After graduation, I starred in my first feature film as well as in an array of independent and short films. I have performed in the New York Fringe Festival and was host on a half hour television show focused on the arts, politics, and issues of the African Diaspora. Currently, I am a May 2011 candidate for the Masters of Fine Arts in Acting at the Actors Studio at Pace University.

In August 2010 I was crowned Miss Black USA. I was not only honored to receive the crown but proud to be the first Nigerian-American Miss Black USA in the history of the 23 year old organization. The pageant has opened so many doors and it is with the help of the organization that I am able to complete my graduate degree. I have also had the pleasure of meeting and working with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, won a walk-on role in Tyler Perry’s hit sitcom “Meet the Browns”, walked the red carpet and served as a presenter at The 42nd Annual NAACP Image Awards and made the cover of Heart & Soul Magazine.

When not performing, spending time with family and friends and fulfilling my duties as Miss Black USA, I am the national celebrity advocate for The Heart Truth campaign. The campaign’s goal is to give women a personal and urgent wakeup call about their risk of heart disease. We know that if we can reach women at a much younger age, we can prevent the disease later. I am using my “girl power” and encouraging young girls and women to take charge of their health and commit to leading a healthier lifestyle.

I have always been a true believer that in order for one to know where they are going, they must first know and understand were they come from. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for courageous, fearless and selfless she’roes who paved the way. We must continue to celebrate their legacies and not forget our responsibility to do so. I am blessed to have the opportunity to have inspiration in my life. Amongst all, my mother has always and continues to inspire me.

If there were one dream or one wish I could have come true today,
it would be to find a cure for Malaria. My sister passed away from the disease in 2006. Malaria is a disease that is preventable and half of the world’s population is at risk. I vow to do all that I can to shed light on this issue until the disease can be eradicated.

It’s important that we each have a personal mission/vision statement. Committing to a mission and vision pushes you to reach for excellence. For me, my motto, “ IF YOU CAN BELIVE IT, AND YOUR HEART CONCEIVS IT, THEN YOU CAN SURELY ACHIEVE IT.” has helped me believe in all that I do and motivates me to continue to strive and succeed.

Follow Oasa on Twitter @OfficialOsas and visit www.osas-online.com

The Miss Black USA Pageant and Scholarship Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit corporation in the state of Maryland, recognized under the 501(c)3 code of the Internal Revenue Service. The Miss Black USA Pageant and Scholarship Foundation, Inc., was founded in 1986 by Karen Arrington.

For more information on the Pageant visit www.MissBlackUSA.org

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