One of the most beautiful aspects of a Campus Queen is the relatability of her rise. For years, we see them grinding on campus as student leaders hellbent on implementing change. They join organizations and eventually work their way to the executive board. They become the talk of the yard in positive ways, empowering their peers to be better and do better. When it’s their time for them to vy for the position of campus queen at their respective institutions, the students rally together to put them in a position that these marvelous young women were born for. They deserve all the praise, acclaim and accolades. They earned it.
No one deserves the position of Miss Tuskegee University more than Courtney “Alexis” Landrum. A fourth year Occupational Therapy Major from Greenville, AL, Courtney’s rise to the top of the prestigious Tuskegee University is one that many young women embark on. A lit freshman year, a sophomore year full of precipitous changes, a junior year of rediscovery and a senior year fulfilling a legacy! I recently spoke with Courtney, better known as Alexis, about her tenure at Tuskegee University and her position as Miss Tuskegee University.
Make sure to vote for Courtney at the link below! Voting is UNLIMITED and is open until December 31st! Link below!
Randall: Thank you so much for allowing me to do this interview! Truly an honor! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Courtney: Well hello! My name is Courtney Alexis Landrum but I go by Alexis. I am a 4th year Occupational Therapy Major from Greenville, AL and I currently serve as the 89th Miss Tuskegee University!
Randall: How was your high school career?
Courtney: My high school career was different than most people I attend college with. I attended a high school in a rural town in Alabama that was predominately black with no more than 700-800 students in the entire school. was heavily involved in the extracurricular programs my school offered from cheerleading to softball for a year, volunteering organizations, and much more.
Randall: How’d you end up at Tuskegee University?
Courtney: Many of my family members attended Tuskegee University including both of my parents. I never wanted to attend Tuskegee. Normally kids want to go against what their parents want and that’s exactly how I was. My mom made me go on a tour the summer before my senior year and I fell in love. Another huge deciding factor was attending TUHC 2015 with my cousin who was a senior at Tuskegee at the time. Let’s just say I had a GREAT experience.
Randall: What made you choose to major in Occupational Therapy? What do you want to do after graduation with that degree?
Courtney: When I was 10 years old I witnessed my mother have a severe stroke that left her paralyzed on her entire left side. I watched her go through intense therapy sessions in order to regain her daily functions back. I always knew I wanted to have an impact on someone’s life the same way these occupational therapists impacted my mom’s life. I knew I wanted to make a difference and help people have a meaningful and purposeful life after life threatening situations.
Randall: Let’s talk about your college experience! I want to go through your first few years at Tuskegee. How was your:
- Freshman Year?
My freshman year was the best year at Tuskegee University. I came in knowing so many people just from the freshman Groupme and social media. I came in knowing I wanted to leave an impact and that I wanted to create a name for myself. I won Miss Freshman, became heavily involved in many different clubs and organizations and made so many great friends. Now of-course there were hard times. I dealt with jealousy, judging, rumors and so much more. Sometimes people hate to see other people shine and do not know how to react when someone else is getting the attention that they used to. At the end of the day I had an amazing year.
- Sophomore Year
Sophomore year was a huge transition year for me. I went from being on top of my game to hitting rock bottom. Classes because so difficult, friendships were fading, guys were being guys and I continued to deal with multiple disappointments. I interviewed for a position for the Student Government Association at the end of my freshman year and didn’t get it and I also interviewed for the same position at the end of my sophomore year and didn’t get it. I became very insecure my sophomore year and I just felt like I wasn’t the same girl from my freshman year. I received my first C, my hair fell out it was a MESS. But I knew after I didn’t receive that position that I was DESTINED to become the 89th Miss Tuskegee University.
- Junior Year?
Junior year was way better than my sophomore year. This year I regained my confidence and starting becoming myself again. I was serving as president of a girls organization for the second year in a row, I was preparing for my Miss Tuskegee campaign, and I was very actively involved in the community. Second semester of my junior year I put my heart and soul into my Miss Tuskegee Campaign and came out victorious. I learned so much about myself and I gained so many lovely friends and supporters.
Randall: One thing I discuss in my book A Queen’s Pain is campus politics and the social environment at HBCU’s. In the book, the main character Raynetta Duram has a warped sense of what popularity is. She sees popularity and “clout” as being Greek (specifically a member of the Rho Eta sorority on Laketon State’s campus) and holding a title. In your opinion, what truly defines popularity?
Courtney: The world looks at popularity exactly how you depict it in the book. The person who had the “clout”. The person who is all over social media with the clear skin, nice weave, everyone’s friend, nice outfits and etc. The person who is known by everyone for being one of the “cool kids”. To me that is the “worldly” view of popularity which gives it such a negative stigma but has a lot of truth to it. To me, being popular is being a man or woman of substance. Someone who is involved and is known around campus, but uses their platform of being “known” for the greater good of their campus and community. Someone who is relatable, respectful and kind.
Randall: Also in the book Raynetta encounters Alicia Taylor, the 75th Miss Laketon State University who reigned when she was a freshman. Alicia took Raynetta under her wing as a mentor, allowing her to shadow her as she fulfilled her duties as a campus queen. However, they grow apart as the school year rolls. Raynetta feels hurt, as she grew to be dependent on the wisdom and guidance of Alicia throughout her freshman year. Their separation aids in her pain In your opinion, what’s the role of a mentor (especially when the mentee is not that far in age from the mentor). Also, how can a mentor prevent their mentees from being dependent on them?
Courtney: It is hard to be a mentor to someone in college when you are still growing and learning yourself. This is something I was very hard on myself about this year. I had freshman looking up to me but I was so broken at times I felt as if I was incapable of being there for them. A mentor is someone who advises someone who is on a similar path as them who can give them advice, help them emotionally and mentally and be there for them when they need someone other than their parents to help them. A mentor can prevent a mentee from being so dependent by instilling in them the value of self and being able to figure things out on your own. They should teach them how to hold their own in certain situations and to never depend on anyone for anything except God.
Randall: Does popularity on campus and success go hand-in-hand?
Courtney: You can be successful and not popular. Everyone doesn’t have to see your successes for them to be considered successes. Now, of course you can be successful and popular as most celebrities we see are.
Randall: How’d you rise to prominence at Tuskegee?
Courtney: I was myself. I remained the bubbly, friendly and caring person that I truly am. People love genuine people who they can RELATE to. Someone who doesn’t pretend that life is peaches and cream but someone who can honestly say they understand where you are coming from.
Randall: What made you want to run to be Miss Tuskegee?
Courtney: I knew I wanted to be Miss Tuskegee University when I was a senior in high school. I met the 85th Miss Tuskegee University when I was at the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma and we just so happened to both be wearing Tuskegee shirts. She introduced herself to me and was the friendliest person I met that day. When I went to open house and she remembered who I was and made Tuskegee feel like home. She was an inspiration to me and I knew I wanted to touch the lives of others the same way that she touched mine. I knew God wanted me to be a leader and I knew from that day that this position was for me.
Randall: Tell us about your campaign!
- What was your platform?
My platform was called “Creating Your MasterPIECE” Individually we are all unique pieces to our amazing institution but together we can complete that puzzle. I wanted to highlight how unique each student at Tuskegee was but when we come together as one we are a force to be reckoned with.
- What were strategies that you used to reach the students to garner their support?
I stayed genuine. I didn’t reach out to people who didn’t know me from a fly on the wall. I made sure I made genuine connections and had supporters who truly knew who they were supporting.
- What were some problems that you encountered in your campaign and how did you overcome them?
Courtney: The funny thing about my campaign was that I endured no problems. I kept God first and I didn’t listen to what anyone had to say about me. I kept my eye on the prize the entire time.
- How’d it feel when you found out that you won?
Courtney: It was the happiest day of the semester. All of my hard work, prayer, and dedication paid off. I cried for days and was soooo internally grateful that my student body believed in me.
Randall: Tell us about your coronation! How was it and how were you feeling?
Courtney: Honestly, it was so stressful. I had to plan everything and I was so glad when it was over but it made me revisit the day that I won my pageant. I felt like a true Queen.
Randall: How’d it feel to go viral this past summer with the other HBCU Queens at NASAP?
Courtney: It was surreal. It really blew up way more than I expected it to and I was just happy to put Tuskegee on the map! It wasn’t for me, it was for young women to be inspired and to see the beauty that Tuskegee University produces and gave my institution a positive image.
Randall: How’d it feel to meet HBCU queens from other schools?
Courtney: It was amazing. I have become so close with a few of them and we are great friends now. Meeting all of the queens was such a memorable experience because I was surrounded by women who had the same goals and ambition as I did and they are beautiful ladies.
Randall: How was National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame weekend?
Courtney: I actually decided to sit the pageant out. This was my first semester being in the actual professional phase of the occupational therapy program and it is TOUGH. So there was absolutely no time for me to be apart of the pageant.
Randall: What’s next for you in your reign?
Courtney: Stay tuned to find out 💛
Randall: Where can we find you on social media?
Courtney: Follow me on Instagram @ _lexi.lu and twitter @_lexilulu