Heavy is the head that wears the crown, but faith is what keeps that head held high. At least that is true for the newly crowned 112th Miss Florida A&M University, Imani Cooper. In Swahili, her first name translates to “Faith,” and that is what she says has been the theme of her life.
The North Carolina native started her life on the hill as what she described as shy and quiet. This can be found as surprising, taking into consideration that being Miss FAMU requires you to be outspoken.
The exuberant culture of FAMU and the welcoming peers around Cooper would not allow her to stay quiet for too long. Cooper immediately immersed herself into FAMU by becoming involved around campus.
In addition to serving as Miss FAMU, Cooper has held many positions during her academic career at FAMU. Her resume consists of being the founder and student advisor of the FAMU Women Student Union, Resident Assistant, a White House HBCU All Star, Orientation Leader and a Spring 2018 initiate of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
These accomplishments are what Cooper credits to her eventually running for Miss FAMU.
“Each involvement made me stronger in a different area,” Cooper explained. “Orientation made me more knowledgeable about the university and the HBCU Ambassador put me in more of the spotlight of an ambassador position by being the face of my institution.”
While the journey of becoming Miss FAMU may look compelling, it can bring many trials. The process of campaigning is both financially and physically draining. Campaigners are responsible for purchasing posters, t-shirts, food and other items to assist them in reaching as much of the student body as possible.
To outsiders, it may have looked as if candidates like Cooper had it all together. However, Cooper says she began to worry whether she would have all the resources for her campaign.
“Leading up to campaign week, [I was] just trying to figure out everything I needed because for campaign week you need so much. And I just said ‘Lord I don't know how this going to happen, but I need you to come through’,” Cooper revealed. “I got very discouraged and then everything just fell into place.”
Long before campaigning, many knew of Cooper when they would see her around campus interacting with other students. Known for her friendly conversation and willingness to give helpful advice, Cooper was seen to many as genuine and down to earth.
These personality traits are what caught the attention of political science major Percy H. Henry III. As Cooper’s campaign manager and personal friend, he believes that authenticity is one of the most important traits one can have.
“The reason why I chose to be her campaign manager was because I knew her work ethic, her heart, and what she brings to the university,” Henry stated.
Above all, Cooper credits her faith as to what keeps her strong and humble. Not only has her faith helped her believe in her capabilities it has also been her source for all of the positivity in her life.
Owner of Celebrities Hair Design Salon and the 83rd Miss FAMU Trenice Seniors knows the hard work that comes with representing the university both on and off campus. She believes faith is necessary when reigning as a queen.
“Everyone can be a queen, just carry yourself as a God-fearing woman and have faith because he is the king of all kings,” Seniors expressed. “Just believe in yourself and in whatever gift and talents you possess.”
During Cooper’s reign as Miss FAMU, she plans to implement the policy points declared during her campaign. She has already begun fulfilling one of her policy points: to implement a spiritual guidance program on campus. Students can now receive a motivational word from Cooper when they sign up through text.
Besides doing her platform events Cooper says she is also looking forward to the Florida Classic. More than anything, Cooper hopes to end her senior year on a high note.