We had the good fortune of connecting with Mariah Smith Imani Cooper and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mariah Smith, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Imani and I both competed in pageants that were in the same production company back in 2020. We eventually connected and saw the need to help girls like her and myself. We noticed an influx of women who looked like us that were competing in pageants at the time, and we wanted to put our resources together to refine their overall pageant skills. We then decided to launch POSH (Pushing Our Sisters Higher) Pageant Coaching Company. Imani and I are both experts in our specialties and are learning and networking more and more everyday to bring our clients the best coaching experience there is to offer.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I am the Founder and one of the coaches of P.O.S.H. (Pushing Our Sisters Higher) Pageant Company. I originally started P.O.S.H. as a sorority at Grambling State University in 2017, where I used this organization to focus on issues dealing with young women in my Louisiana community. We held events and provided resources for girls affected by teenage pregnancy, teen domestic abuse situations, girls in the juvenile and foster care systems, and child poverty. After some time of me starting this organization, I competed for my first official title, Miss Grambling State University 2019. Though I didn’t win, I gained true knowledge of what I could actually do, and I gave a hell of a campaign. I was my own campaign manager, booked and bought everything I would need on my own. I think the hustle and bustle came so easy to me because of all of the connections I made and the hard work I did to build my sorority, all while being a full-time double major student. I truly learned self-reliance while focusing on my mission. I soon learned that certain things like booking events, getting media coverage, and fundraising were just some of the things that didn’t come so easy to other queens that were pursuing crowns on my campus. I have the kind of personality that wants everyone to win, so I started helping other queens with their campaigns. I was surprised that I had girls to actually win their titles!

When I competed for Miss Louisiana USA in 2021, I met my amazing friend and sister Imani Cooper, who competed for Miss North Carolina USA. We met through our shared production company’s Facebook group and became great friends, later business partners. After both of our competitions, we started watching pageants together, and came up with the idea to use our knowledge and experiences in pageantry to start coaching! Because of that epiphany, we are going strong in business one year later! We’ve served 7 clients across the United States since we started, with two more on the waiting list. We are so excited to emerge and make as many connections as we can! We are also always looking for ways to give back to our community.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to shoutout to all of the amazing pageant queens who are standing up to make a difference. Pageant queens all over the world are making a change one community service event and crown at a time. Pageants give young ladies a platform for a voice which they choose to use for causes like mental health access, universal health care, multicultural adoption, etc! We as queens are paving the way for children who are coming behind us to show them what a role model should be. I personally just love to see it.

Website: poshpageantco.com

Instagram: @poshpageantconsulting

Facebook: Ma’Riah Smith

Image Credits
Photo – Phillip Fowler Graphic – Mariah Smith

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