It’s hard to believe that Dejanee Fennell was once considered a tomboy.
The Morgan State University senior, who has already been accepted to some of the more prestigious law schools in the country, is a stunning model who can sashay down a catwalk and wear the prettiest of dresses with some of the most beautiful women in the country.
And, despite capturing the crown last year of Miss Black Maryland USA, Fennell, 23, insists that she once preferred climbing trees to playing dress up.
The Prince George’s County native said she also shunned “girly” things like makeup.
“It wasn’t until the 8th grade that I experimented with makeup,” said Fennell, an aspiring lawyer and Capitol Hill lobbyist who will compete in Atlanta in August for the title of Miss Black USA 2014. “When I first came to Morgan State, I wanted to take up journalism, but politics took a hold of me and I know that I want to work as a lobbyist someday as well.
Fennell’s minor is pre-law and, after winning the Miss Black Maryland USA crown in November, she says she wanted to use that platform as a means to help other young women.
“I want to be able to help them with self-esteem issues and to show them that they can accomplish anything,” she said.
That hard-working young women can boost their self-esteem and accomplish their goals is something Fennell said she had to learn over time.
She says she previously lacked the confidence to wear the makeup, evening gowns and swimsuits that are beauty pageant staples. She says that when she was finally able to overcome those issues and gather enough heart to try out for Morgan State’s annual beauty pageant, she was too late.
“I was always afraid to try out and when I finally conquered that fear, I was told it was too late, tryouts had already ended,” Fennell said.
Undaunted, Fennell decided to take a shot at the Miss Black Maryland USA pageant, and she prevailed.
Fennell said she wants to spread her message of love, positivity and public service, across the country.
“Love is pure and real. Only true healing can happen through love,” she said.
Since winning the pageant, she has remained busy, participating in charitable drives with the Washington Redskins and other organizations.
She also plans to be a part of “Project Prom, a local event to be held later in spring which helps young women to find affordable prom dresses.
Originally from Colmar Manor, Maryland, where her mother, Diana Fennell, once served as mayor , the beauty queen says her parents and her older brother, Jeffrey, count as her biggest supporters.
“Jeffrey and I are really close, he’s helped me so much,” she said of her 26-year-old brother, a biology-major at the University of Maryland.
Fennell says that she has been accepted to Columbia Law School, Georgetown University and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.
She expects other letters of acceptance to soon follow. “I’m not sure if I want to go to New York, go somewhere else or stay close to home,” she said.
Fennell said she’s still relishing her current title as Miss Black Maryland USA. She called the contest not just a pageant, but a movement.
“This organization isn’t about beautiful girls. It’s for African American women to be able to showcase themselves, and to show that they are intelligent, successful and powerful and we shouldn’t be ignored,” Fennell said. “My intention is to win Miss Maryland USA 2014, which will give me the ability to spread my message. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to reach the world and continue my duties as an individual, which is to always give service.”
For more information about Fennell, visit her website at www.officialDeJaneeFennell.com.