Montclair State University has many notable alumni ranging from actors to athletes. However, we rarely get to have one of our students in the spotlight while still attending Montclair State.
Detrah Bowman, a freshman medical humanities major, is about to embark on a journey most only dream of: Bowman is competing in the Miss New Jersey USA pageant. In April, she will be representing educated and inspiring women from Montclair State.
With her grace, professionalism and charming personality, Bowman is a strong contender to win this year’s title. She’s a sweet person but she radiates sophistication when she speaks.
Bowman is definitely not the stuck-up and self-obsessed pageant girl everyone would stigmatize a pageant contestant to be.
“Stigmas about pageants are to be thin as well as the snobby pageant girl,” Bowman said. “I feel like if you’re a pageant girl, it should make you be open to your [pageant] sisters.”
Jordan Egerton, Bowman’s sister, described her sister’s selflessness and good heart.
“Usually, on one’s special day everything is about them,” Egerton said. “Since we were kids, I can only recall everyone enjoying themselves [and] she selflessly made sure of it.”
Bowman comes from Union, New Jersey, where she was active in many high school sports such as tennis, dance, cheerleading and bowling. At home, she and her two sisters were raised by a wonderful single mother.
“My mom definitely inspired me the most,” Bowman said. “She was my mom and dad. I really admire her strength.”
Using that strength exemplified by her mom, Bowman was inspired to continue working with women. Now that she’s in college, Bowman is pursuing her dreams of being an obstetrician-gynecologist.
“I have a passion [for] delivering babies and being surrounded by women and feminist empowerment,” Bowman said.
Her decision to study at Montclair State has been reaffirmed by the positivity she has experienced.
“My [time] at Montclair [State] has been pretty [good],” Bowman said. “I cannot complain because I do have my cousin here and she’s like a sister to me. It’s been a big blessing at Montclair [State].”
Bowman and her cousin Nyla Egerton, a freshman accounting major, are always by each other’s side on campus and in life.
“[There are] very few people that challenge my mellow nature, but Detrah has never failed to do so,” Egerton said. “As we’ve grown, her spunk and outgoing spirit [have] never failed to garner the admiration of those closest to her.”
While focusing on her academic career, Bowman decided to pursue pageantry.
“I actually came across an advertisement for the pageant,” Bowman said. “I was very curious about it because one, I didn’t know we even had that, and two, what is there to lose?”
Bowman talked about what inspired her to compete.
“What made me want to compete in the pageant was seeing people like me win the title,” Bowman said.
Bowman added how this particular pageant appealed to her because they prioritize the education of the contestants, not just their physical beauty. Although she is dedicated to the competition, she will always have the will to thrive in her academic career.
However, Bowman is ready to present herself to the world and show everyone you can be smart, beautiful and a loving person all at once.
If she wins, after a good cry on stage, she will go on to compete in Miss USA and Miss Universe.
Bowman’s advice for her fellow women in college is something so many young people need to hear.
“Be bold, be brave, definitely,” Bowman said. “If you like it, if you see it, go for it. As long as you like it and your head is in the game, that’s all that matters.”