Karen Arrington has a lot of hyphenates behind her name. They include the founder of The Miss Black USA Pageant, Goodwill Ambassador to Sierra Leone, international philanthropist, empowerment coach, and author, with her latest book —Your Next Level Life, 7 Rules of Power, Confidence, And Opportunities For Black Women In America—is the latest.
In our hour-long phone conversation, I came to the conclusion that Arrington cares about the goals of young African and African-American women with an attitude fine-tuned to mentor as many women and girls that need her help.
Not for nothing, I’ve interviewed a lot of people who approach the gate, so to speak, with confidence and exuberance. The most sincere tend to fumble as I push into finding what makes them tick. Those less authentic tend to stick, verbatim, to the well-crafted bullet points of the topic designed and presented by their public relations team.
Karen Arrington does not fall into either of these categories. In reviewing our conversation, I was torn with transcribing our conversation or pulling some gems from her book —Your Next Level Life. As I type this, I am still on the fence letting my fingers and my mind wander as I ponder my choices.
One of the interesting parts of Arrington’s journey is literally how many countries she has traveled too which includes Spain, South Africa, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates to name a few. One of the many perks, no doubt, of being the founder of Miss Black USA and an NAACP Image Award-winning author. In short, she’s in demand providing insight and encouragement the world over.
Here are a few choice excerpts from her book Your Next Level Life: 7 Rules of Power, Confidence, and Opportunity for Black Women in America (African American Women in Business, Be Unapologetically You).
Channel your black girl magic: If you’re feeling stuck or trapped by other people’s expectations of what you can achieve, it’s time to stop playing small and start redefining what success can mean for you. It’s time to get that upgrade. Karen Arrington―founder of the Miss Black USA Pageant, creator of the Next Level Women’s Summit, and mentor to thousands of confident, successful young black women―is your guide to getting your next level life.
Leave a legacy of black excellence: With the seven simple rules, you’ll learn how to bring your career, income, and lifestyle to that next level. Don’t settle for a life of invisibility and mediocrity. Set ambitious goals, reach for bigger opportunities, and know that you are brave enough to get what you deserve.
The rules of success in Your Next Level Life will show you how to:
Create all the money you need
Position yourself like a star
Connect with other powerful women
Give a gift of confidence: For anyone looking for inspirational gifts for women in their lives, Your Next Level Life is unlike other self-help books for women. It’s a guide to an opportunity that recognizes and celebrates the true magic of ambitious black women.
Here’s what Karen Arrington – Empowerment Coach, Author, Goodwill Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Founder of The Miss Black USA Pageant, and International Philanthropist — had to share about living her life to the fullest.
LOS ANGELES SENTINEL: What is the Miss Black USA pageant?
KAREN ARRINGTON: The Miss Black USA is more than a pageant, it’s a movement—celebrating the talents and achievements of today’s black women.
LAS: What else does the Miss Black USA pageant do?
KA: We focus on education and have awarded over $450,000 in college scholarships each year.
LAS: When did the Miss Black USA pageant start?
KA: I founded it in 1986.
LAS: 1986? Well done. What are you most proud of?
KA: Well, I’ve mentored over 1,000 young women, helping them get into top medical schools, land major modeling and recording contracts, secure life-changing grants, and sponsorship deals, and more.
LAS: And more? That’s a lot. You. Are. Busy,
KA: (laughing) I am. I am also the co-founder of Diabetes Awareness Day in West Africa and was named a Goodwill Ambassador to the Gambia and to the Republic of Sierra Leone.
LAS: Diabetes is an ugly, ugly disease.
KA: It is, it really, really is.
LAS: What other awards have you received? I know it’s a lot. Your public relations team told me a lot.
KA: (laughing) Let me think. I have a leadership awards from The Lifetime Network and Jones New York, the Trailblazer’s Award by Zeta Phi Sorority, Mary-land Black Mayors Honors for commitment and dedication to the community.
LAS: A lot.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.