When Onica Blaize was crowned Mrs. Georgia America 2016, it was first time in the 40-year history of the pageant that a woman of Caribbean heritage, and only the third time that an African American woman had ever captured the title. On June 12th, 2016 this successful Entrepreneur, Life Coach and Public Health Advisor beat out several contestants and claimed the Mrs. Georgia America crown. She also won the Best Evening Gown and Most Physically Fit Awards.
Born in Guyana, Onica migrated with her family to the United States at the age of 2. Now a married mother of 3 beautiful children (ages 18, 11, and 4), Onica has been with the love of her life, Brian, for 21 years and they have enjoyed 16 wonderful years of marriage.
Onica earned a Bachelors Degree in Social and Behavioral Science from Long Island University and a Masters of Public Administration from Ashford University. She is also member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority.
Onica is no stranger to world of pageantry. In 1995, at the age of 17, she was crowned Miss Guyana USA and became the youngest contestant to do so. Onica said she returned to pageantry through the encouragement of her is teenage daughter, Ariana, who also takes part in pageants.
“This is tribute to my daughter, Ariana. She cried when I won”, Onica shared.
GGR caught up with the beautiful Georgia Peach for an interview that discusses her personal life, successes and challenges, and what’s next for her in the future.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Durban Street Lodge, Georgetown until the age of 2, when I migrated with my family to New York where I lived for many years before moving to Miami, Florida. After living in Miami for two years, my family and I moved to Snellville Georgia 10 years ago for a job with the CDC.
As a child I used to spend many Summers in Guyana. When school ended in America, my mom would send me to spend time with my family in Guyana, so I am very knowledgeable about my culture and my heritage because it’s what I was exposed to since I was a little kid.
Tell us about the Mrs. Georgia Pageant:
The Mrs. America Pageant is the most prestigious pageant that celebrates married women in the United States. The pageant has been around since 1977 and there has only been one African American woman to earn the title. I am preparing to head to Las Vegas Nevada to compete for the title of Mrs. America on August 27th. If crowned the new Mrs. America, I will represent the United States of America in the nationally televised Mrs. World pageant to be held in South Korea. I’m looking forward to showcasing the State of Georgia as the first Queen of Caribbean heritage.
Onica’s Favorite Quote:
You see things; and say “why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “why not?” ~ George Bernard Shaw
You’re a wife, mother, and have a full-time career, how do manage all of these roles?
I have a phenomenal support system. My family members are my biggest supporters, so I am able to balance my schedule. In my role as a Public Health Advisor for the Center for Disease Control (CDC), I have 4 States assigned to my workload (Texas, New Mexico, Georgia, and Arkansas) which require me to travel extensively. It’s a job that takes a lot of time and commitment and sometimes it’s difficult to manage, but with the help of my husband Brian, and my family especially my Mom Wendy Williams, I am able to pull it all together.
You seem to be very driven. What or who motivates you?
I would definitely say my family. I do believe that when you pour your energy into something, in my case my family, your blessings will continue to flow. I really think that as an adult and as a wife and mother, it’s my duty to set an example for my children. I feel like right now I’m very successful in my career, in my personal life and I also own a small business. It’s my goal to instill great value in my children and inspire them to be greater than I am. If I can do that, then I’ve done my job.
You mentioned a small business, would you like to elaborate on that?
Yes – I would love to. I am part of the cosmetics industry. My 18-year-old daughter, Ari and I own our own cosmetics company called NicB Cosmetics (nicbcosmetics.com). We have skin care products, foundation, makeup, lipstick – you name it, we have it. When it comes to skin care and makeup we are both very passionate. What really motivated us is realizing that this is a billion dollar industry with so many products on the market. So we spent a couple of years doing research to find the right distributor and the right manufacturers to develop a product that we can be proud of and we’re very happy with what we have as part of our line of products. At the end of August, we’ll be adding hair care to our existing cosmetic line. The company has been in existence for 8 years but we’ve just recently rebranded, changing our logo and adding a fresher touch with our color selections. We also rolled out a line of brand ambassadors so there are a bunch of young people promoting our cosmetics on social media. The responses have been great and people have been really embracing it. We’re getting a lot of support from young women to elderly grandmothers.
Who would you say is a key mentor or the most influential person in your life?
I would have to say my husband, Brian is a huge influence because when it comes to me traveling and being able to also run a small business, it’s a lot of commitment and having a spouse who is so supportive and really believes in me is a plus. We’ve been together for 21 years and married for 16 and he is an amazing man and I cannot see myself being as successful as I am without him.
Are there any major challenges or obstacles that you’ve had to overcome?
In life there will always obstacles and challenges and I’ve had my fair share. For about 2 years, I troubled with severe stomach problems and couldn’t figure out what the problem was. Then about 2 weeks prior to me competing in the Mrs. Georgia America Pageant, I was diagnosed with Chron’s disease. I am actually happy that I was finally diagnosed because today I am able to manage it with medication and a special diet and I now feel better than I’ve ever felt in years. I am a firm believer in God and believe that everything happens for a reason. I also believe that I am a blessed person and I am truly grateful for all that I have achieved. I have nothing to complain about at all.
Would you like to share anything else about your personal journey or relatives (including parents, spouse or children)?
One thing that I would also like to highlight is that my daughter, Ariana and I are in the process of starting a non-profit called Dorothy’s House, name after my grandmother, which is her great-grandmother. Dorothy’s House will be a safe-haven for children who were negatively affected by the foster care system in Atlanta. Many kids in the foster care system sometimes age out with a sub-par education, and not being able to have valuable resources to help them migrate back into the adult world. Dorothy’s House will be a place where kids can find resources, where they can receive guidance and advice that will help them to maintain what they need to be a productive person in society, especially Caribbean children.
What would you say is the essence of being women who rock?
I would say walking in your own shoes. I will go back to something that my grandmother once told me. She said “the way a woman walks says a lot about her.”
“I think I rock because I walk with determination, I walk with purpose, I walk with my faith in God and most of all I choose to walk in my own shoes.” I choose not to emulate and be something that I’m not, I believe that I was uniquely made by God and that’s what makes me stronger and gives me the power to be the woman I am.”
Pageants are very competitive and may be intimating for many adult women. What advice would you give to another women who would want to compete in an adult pageant?
Yes – pageants are competitive, but the great thing about doing a Mrs. Pageant is this is your chance to share your accomplishments. Whether you are a stay at home mom who works tirelessly to run her household with efficiency, or a career woman, this is a perfect opportunity for you to highlight that. As married women we come from different places in our lives and have stories to tell. What makes us all uniquely the same is that we all believe in the institution of marriage so this is an excellent opportunity to showcase that. It’s definitely a fun experiences and I would recommend that any woman go for it.
What’s next for you or what are you most looking forward to in the future?
I am very proud of my Caribbean-American heritage and with this platform I would love to highlight everything that our beautiful country Guyana has to offer. We’re so diverse, we have so many different races, and we have a very rich cultural heritage that is not very well known, and I would like to share some of that with the rest of the world.
I’m also really looking forward to heading to Las Vegas to represent the State of Georgia. I will be competing against 51 other women from 50 States plus the winner of the first runner up contest, but most of all I want to represent all the Guyanese Girls, because I believe that Guyanese Girls Do Rock.
Click HERE to VOTE for Onica.
Click HERE to support Onica’s Go Fund Me Campaign.