Second year Veteran Kiara is our season-opening Cheerleader Spotlight. This summer, Kiara finished her Master's degree in Public Health from Meharry Medical College and plans to study for the MCAT this year before applying to medical school in 2015. She is talented and smart.
Read on to find out about her life beyond the sidelines.
Click here for the previous Cheerleader Spotlight. You have accomplished a great deal in your life thus far. Can you give us a rundown of your accolades?
Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN
• Received my Masters of Science in Public Health Degree with a concentration in Environmental Health in May of 2014
• Meharry Medical College M. L. King, Jr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship Recipient (2013)
• Meharry Medical College Dean's List (Fall 2012-Spring 2014)
Hampton University in Hampton, Va
• Received my Bachelors of Science in Biological Sciences Degree with a concentration in Organisms, Ecology, and Biodiversity in May 2012
• Inducted into Beta Kappa Chi Scientific National Honor Society (2010)
• Meharry Medical College BS/MD Program; chosen as one of the top Biological Sciences majors at my university (2009-2012)
• Hampton University's Pre-Health Program: Oct. 2009- May 2012
• Parliamentarian for Hampton University's Class of 2012: Aug. 2009- May 2012
• Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholarship Recipient (2008-2012)
• Hampton University National Alumni Association Regional Scholarship Recipient (2008-2012)
• Jefferson County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. 1st Place Scholarship Recipient (2008)
• Miss Alabama USA Pageant (Miss Universe Organization): 2012 non-finalist, 2013 3rd Runner-up, 2014 Top 10
• Local Judges Scholarship Recipient at the Miss Alabama Pageant in 2008 (Miss America Organization)
• Miss Magic City 2008 (Miss America Organization); Awards received from Birmingham City Council and Jefferson County Commissioners for community service contributions to the city of Birmingham and Jefferson County (2007-2008)
How did you prepare for the transition from beauty pageants to professional cheerleading?
Professional cheerleading and pageantry have many similarities, so the transition was very easy. Both of these activities require one to be determined, dedicated, and hard working. Any woman that pursues pageantry and professional cheerleading must also maintain a very healthy lifestyle. With dance being such a major part of my life since the age of two and pageantry beginning not long after that, I have always had a balance between both activities. Whether I am on stage in an evening gown answering an onstage question or on the sideline of LP Field performing in front of 70,000 people, each embodies very similar aspects. The most similar characteristic is that one must be comfortable with who they are as an individual.**
What were you expecting when you first tried out for TTC? Is it all that you envisioned?**
When I first auditioned to become a TTC, I expected to able to express my love for dance in front of a larger audience, meet our wonderful fans, and be a role model in the community. The first time I auditioned for the team in 2012, I was not selected as a TTC, however, throughout the audition process, I realized that being a TTC was a lot more than what I initially envisioned. This is one of the reasons I decided to audition again. Not only has this opportunity been what I originally anticipated, but also SOOO much more
One of the main things that I have been so grateful for during this journey is being apart of the TTC/Titans family. They are a wonderful support system and I am so thankful every day to God for placing such amazing people in my life. Earlier this year, I was the victim of an apartment fire and lost almost all of my worldly possessions. Not only did I have my immediate family to help me get back on my feet, but the love and support I received from my Titans family was absolutely amazing. I cannot imagine how such a difficult period in my life would have been with out them. What is the one memory that stands out for you as a TTC thus far?
One memory that I will always remember as a TTC is standing backstage at the Wildhorse Saloon waiting for my director, Stacie Kinder, to announce who made the 2013 team. She started to announce the numbers of the girl selected, and I remember praying that my number was next after seeing others run on stage with excitement. When she announced my number (I was the fifth girl!), I felt such a joy come over me. All of my hard work, long nights in the gym, sweat, and months of stressful moments finally all paid off. I ran on stage and was greeted by some TTC alumni with flowers and my welcome letter, and then my new teammates. Tears began to fall down my face because my dream of becoming a TCC had finally come true. Through my tears, I looked out into the audience to find my mom and she was crying as well and the rest of my family and friends that came to support me waived the signs they made for me in excitement. Dreams do come true, but you must work for them.
What is your favorite type of workout and what music do you work out to?
My favorite type of workout is a combination of interval cardio training and some weightlifting afterwards. My Pandora app is always on the Beyoncé station to keep me energized from start to finish. If you had to choose a Disney character, which character would best fit Kiara?
The Disney character that best fits me is Tiana from the Disney movie, "The Princess and the Frog". Tiana and I have similar personality traits and both value our families deeply.
Diamonds or Pearls?Pearls!!
Cardio or Weight lifting?Weight lifting…
Juice or Water?Water…
Fruits or Vegetables?Fruits…
Heels or Flats?HEELS!! (Although I am already 5'9!)* *Out of all of the different experiences, you have had, which is your proudest moment?
One of my proudest life moments was placing 3rd runner-up at the 2013 Miss Alabama USA pageant. I competed the previous year and was very disappointed when I was not selected as a semifinalist in 2012. The day after the pageant, I rededicated myself and began prepping for the next year of competition and was determined to make the Top 5, and that is exactly what I did. Once again, I learned that hard work, dedication and perseverance is rewarding. One of my life goals is to compete at and win the title of Miss USA. I am continuously working towards that goal and I hope to one day fulfill that dream.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years, I will have my medical degree and will be beginning a residency in pediatrics to accomplish my goal of becoming a pediatric gastroenterologist. Eventually, I will open a pediatric office in an underserved community.
What is a stereotype that you feel that people have that is not true?
One stereotype that I believe people have about pro-cheerleaders, as well as pageant contestants, is that we are just beautiful girls. In actuality, there is SO much more to us than that. Over the years, I have met women from various backgrounds and walks of life and everyone has been unique in their own way. Not only have these women been beautiful on the outside, but truly wonderful and beautiful internally. I wish that more individuals could see past the outer layer and realize that there is much more to us all. Who is your all time favorite Titans player? What is your favorite position in football?
My all time favorite Titans player is Eddie George. He was a great player on the field and has been an inspiration to many people in the years following his time in the NFL. Running back has always been my favorite position in football as well.** *If you could give advice to young ladies that have multiple dreams, what is the one thing you would tell them to NOT do? *
As a woman with multiple dreams and aspirations, one thing that has kept me driven and focused over the years is always staying true to who I am as an individual. I would tell them to never compromise the person that they are and what they want to accomplish in life to appease or "fit in" with someone else. From William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, one of my favorite quotes that I live by says, "This above all, to thine own self be true…" I constantly remind myself to be true to who I am as a person and this has helped me accomplish many of my goals thus far.* *