destine hh

Image: Destinee Arnold

Earlier this year, history was made in the pageant world when three black women were each crowned, for the following titles including Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and Miss America. While some may not feel it’s a big deal, it shows the progress we’ve made as a country on showing the multifaceted faces of beauty and importance of representation and how we’re redefining beauty standards. Especially for the two winners, Cheslie Kryst and Kaliegh Garris, that flaunted their natural curls for the entire world to see the beauty of naturally curly hair. 

Another curly girl who is striving to leave her mark by rocking her beautiful curls is, Destinee Arnold. She is 26 years old from Roaring Creek, Belize. Destinee Graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from California State University Fullerton and currently works in the insurance industry. She is passionate about community service having worked with eating disorder centers, the love foundation and even traveled to Cambodia on a mission. Destinee is a pageant veteran who won the Miss Costa Maya pageant before and represented Belize at the Miss International pageant in Japan. Keep reading to find out more about her journey to embracing her natural hair and represent Belize to leave a legacy of love. 

Image: Destinee Arnold

What was it like for you growing up with textured hair?

I remember when I was growing up, my uncle always asked me to promise I will never cut my hair. He was the first person that turned my attention to the importance of nourishing and valuing my crown. It made the days of me sitting between my mother’s legs as multiple combs and hair bands broke, a little more purposeful. The battle of learning how to take care of my hair was ongoing, starting in 3rd grade when my mom made me responsible for my hair care. I remember it being so thick that I didn’t know how to put it in a ponytail. My coined hairstyle was two pigtails until I reached middle school when my friends taught me how to do a slick ponytail. Overall, I didn’t know how to truly care for my hair until I was a young adult. I’ve never had a disdain for my texture, I loved my curls. However, I didn’t know the damage I caused by using harmful products until the natural hair movement began.

“The elegance of who I am as a person exudes despite how I wear my hair.”

What made you decide to embrace your naturally curly hair?

I entered the international pageant stage at the age of 19 years old. In order to appear older, I was instructed to dye my hair blonde. The combination of heat styling and coloring my hair caused immense damage. My curls completely dropped beyond repair. The naturally curly movement began to gain traction and I noticed how multiple people were able to transform their curls. I started to accept that I did not need to alter my hair in order to appear older or elegant. The elegance of who I am as a person exudes despite how I wear my hair. 

Image: Destinee Arnold

Have you felt any pressure to straighten your hair? 

Overall I have received more encouragement to wear my hair natural than suggestions to straighten it. A part of being confidently beautiful for me is to display my natural hair with pride. With that said, I continue to stand firm and refuse to waiver by altering my texture during the competition. 

What is your current hair regimen? Any favorite products you'd like to share?

I currently deep condition my hair weekly with Eden Body Works. My hair is protein sensitive so I only use a protein treatment once a month. Camille Rose’s shampoo, conditioner, and cleansing rinse are my favorites for wash day. In order to maintain the health of my hair, I scalp massage with Righteous Roots hair oil 3 times a week. In addition, I lightly coat my ends throughout the week to maintain moisture. My favorite leave-in conditioners are SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Bounce Curl Moisture Balance, and Curls Blueberry Bliss. I do not utilize a lot of gel, but when I do, Curls Blueberry Bliss is my favorite light hold.

What inspired you to run for Miss Universe Belize? Why is it important to you?

I grew up knowing that carrying my Belizean pride was mandatory. It has always been my honor to share the beauty of Belize with everyone I come across. As a little girl I became a pageant fan when I started to watch my mother’s old pageant tapes. I watched her tape so much that it sadly got ruined in my VCR. When Miss Universe came on the television, I eagerly waited for them to announce Miss Belize. My days in front of the television planted the seed of me wanting to one day have the honor of representing my country on the Miss Universe stage. Moreover, I did not simply want to be announced during the introduction, I wanted to earn the crown for my precious country. I believe that the beauty of Belize deserves international recognition & as a beauty ambassador I can contribute to gaining that attention. 

Image: Destinee Arnold

What has been the most empowering moment (s) of your pageant journey so far?

 When entering pageantry, you make yourself susceptible to public opinion. Winning the hearts of your country is your goal because you are ultimately representing them on the international stage. They are the heartbeat of your country. With that said, I was brought to tears when I received an outpouring of love from my supporters after it was announced I was a contestant for Miss Universe Belize. I have received multiple messages that have spoken life into my journey. There are even messages from various people that I haven’t even meant before. The ability to touch the hearts of those near and far empowers me to continue the journey of winning the crown. They have validated that I have won their hearts, and in turn, I want to validate their faith in my by winning the crown. 

What legacy do you strive leave?

I strive to leave a legacy of love. Only the light of love can drive out the darkness that rids our world. Therefore I want to exude an everlasting love that everyone can feel, even when I’m physically no longer here.

How do you define beauty?

Beauty is recognizing that you are one of God’s masterpieces. Your outer layer is only a mold that houses the real beauty - your soul. A soul that was formed for a specific purpose for this very moment in time. Once you recognize, foster, and value your soul, beauty will exude through you.