A woman’s relationship with her body is more confusing then the one she shares with her significant other. It is complicated. It is emotional. But, most importantly, it is beautiful.
Owning every bit of who she is and demanding the same respect and attention afforded to the “mainstream” body type, Francina Smith proudly wears the crown as Miss New York Plus America. Though marginalized and sometimes overlooked, the Morgan State University alum is comfortable enough to continue to utilize her platform to create change.
“I knew that I was a plus size queen in college but what bothered me was that some women who were queens on my college campus or even now would say I have this title but weren’t doing any work in the community. Yet, they were getting the most limelight – and it’s not about the limelight, but they were being recognized,” she explained.
With her platform she has created a two-tier initiative, first advocating for kidney and diabetes education – a cause that is personal to her as she lost her father at 16-years-old due to kidney failure – and mentoring high school girls through her Crown Me program; providing girls with mentors and a prom package through their contribution of 100 hours of community service.
Francina balances a full-time job, pageantry, and her initiatives, working with a supportive network that hopes she continues the Crown Me initiative. While she remains passionate for her girls, the cost of running the program out of her own pocket is an uphill battle she has to consider for next year.
Get to know Francina Smith in the following pages in this HERstory editorial.