By Hayley Fedor
From the bright lights of the track field to the spotlight on the pageant stage, Angélique François, East Bay High School alumna and recent Florida Atlantic University graduate, is no stranger to the pressure of competition; in fact, it is where she shines.
Growing up, François honed in on her athletic talent, running track and field for East Bay High School, and she continued to pursue her track and field career in college at Limestone College in South Carolina and later Florida Atlantic University.
Along the way in 2015, François won East Bay’s homecoming queen, which allowed her to compete in her very first pageant for the American Homecoming Queen, where she took the Florida state title. During this experience, she went all the way to the national level, representing Florida and placing in the top 10.
At one point, “One of the judges who was Ms. World came to me, and she was like, ‘This is a gift, you need to take it serious,’” said François.
Despite receiving high praises for her performances in pageants, it was not until she suffered an unfortunate injury requiring surgery while competing in track and field that she decided to focus all of her attention on pageants.
Throughout her time in college, François participated in pageants for Limestone College and also Florida Atlantic University, winning a number of awards in the process.
Currently, François holds the Ms. Riverview title and will be representing the area in the Ms. Florida pageant being held from Friday, July 16 through Sunday, July 18.
“It was very difficult because I had a lot of lack of confidence … I didn’t feel as powerful and strong as I did before because going through surgery, it took a lot out of me,” said François about being selected as Ms. Riverview, “but it helped me gain that confidence and it helped me become the woman that I am now.”
Many times on the pageant stage, François would speak about wanting to facilitate peace in the world, and now, using her platform, she has started doing just that through her nonprofit organization called Reach One to Be Won Foundation, which empowers youth and young adults.
“Our whole goal with this nonprofit organization is uplifting from systemic failure and increasing success rate in our youth,” said François.
For more information on Reach One to Be Won Foundation, how to become involved with the nonprofit and to find scholarship applications, visit reachonetobewon.com.