PHOTO BY @teamnatural_

Amid all the bleached blonde Barbie hair at the 2017 Miss America Pageant stood Cierra Jackson with her short natural 'do.

Although she didn't take the crown, she was a winner as far as I'm concerned. She proves that women no longer have to subscribe to one standard of beauty to be a beauty queen.

In an article in Cincinnati's Ledger-Inquirer, Jackson talked about serving as a role model to help others to be their true and authentic selves.

“I’ve had so many people tell me that I shouldn’t wear my hair naturally curly on stage, but there is a purpose behind that vision,” she said during a Ledger-Enquirer interview. “It’s to show people that you can still be successful, you can still be amazingly talented and still reach all of your goals. I think that’s a universal message that anyone can grab on to and hold on to in their lives."

It’s to show people that you can still be successful, you can still be amazingly talented and still reach all of your goals.

Jackson has an impressive resume. She grew up in a military family and so, according to her website, her focus as Miss America would be "to ensure each military hero, family member, and child receives the needed emotional support through the challenges and triumphs of military life." With her bachelor's degree in political science with a concentration in American institutions and processes from Spelman College, she moved to Washington DC to pursue a career in politics. She was the only communications intern to be selected to work for the Chief of Staff's office at the White House in the Obama Administration.

“I’ve been so blessed that the Miss District of Columbia Board has been so open to allowing me to express myself in that way and embraced me choosing to present myself in an authentic way,” Jackson told the Ledger-Inquirer.

In many ways, Jackson may have a bigger impact than the winner of the crown - at least to the many young girls who watched Sunday's pageant.