Essence featured three Black women on its digital cover after they made history this year by becoming Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America.
The cover shoot, titled “Culture Crowns,” celebrated 2019′s Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris and Miss America Nia Imani Franklin. Their wins marked the first time Black women have held all three reigning titles.
“Welcome to the era where Black women reign supreme!” the magazine tweeted Thursday.
The cover shoot and accompanying profile celebrated the pride and history of Black women’s crowns – varying Black hair textures, traditional Black hairstyles and headpieces.
Garris, who graduated from high school in Connecticut earlier this year, said in Essence’s cover shoot video that she used to frequently straighten her hair as a young girl because that’s what she was accustomed to seeing at her predominantly white school.
“I wanted to fit in as much as possible, but as I grew up, I wanted to stand out more than anything,” she said. “So once I finally started growing out my natural hair, I felt happier. I felt like I embraced myself, and I became more of me.”
Both Garris and Kryst, a North Carolina attorney, were crowned in their respective competitions sporting their natural curls.
After winning her title in May, Kryst told Refinery29 that she decided to wear her natural curls to do what felt the “most real and authentic” her.
Elsewhere in Essence’s video, Franklin, an opera singer, said that while it’s “OK to switch it up every now and then” when it comes to hair, she believes it’s “awesome to just say I can look in the mirror and love myself for who I am and who God made me to be.”
Watch the video of the cover shoot below: