How Miss Black Georgia Used Positive Affirmations to Transform Her Story into Success

“Instead of disowning your circumstances, make it your story.” -Shaunii Rawls

Shaunii Rawls, the reigning Miss Black Georgia, grew up being called names like, “bleached, burned, and snakeskin.”

Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Shawnii grew up with all the usual difficulties of childhood. She also faced one unique circumstance: a birthmark—which she now refers to as a beauty mark—causing discoloration throughout her entire body from her upper lip to her toes.


Shaunii started using positive affirmations as early as middle school to get through the bullying and name calling. “I transformed the words ‘bleach, burned and snakeskin,’ into ‘I am, I will, and I can.’” She put these and other positive words on sticky notes where she could see them every day.

She didn’t need to read the scientific research or see the brain scans depicting what happens in the brain when we use positive affirmations. It was intuitive for her to find the power within herself. She learned firsthand how to leverage her unique experiences to activate her life and career.

This young Shaunii did not realize how these positive early habits would pave the way for her successful modeling career (in a market that is almost obsolete in Savannah), a degree in Mass Communications from Savannah University, her title as 2017 Miss Black Georgia, or her passion for storytelling.

And it is her role of storyteller that’s most important to Shaunii. The power of leveraging her own story and her platform as a successful model inspired her to celebrate and promote other people’s stories. She created a blog, Spotted by Shaunii, to spotlight the young movers and shakers of the South East.

Shaunii wants people—and especially women and young girls—to understand that the only way to conquer adversity is to face it. She now realizes: “My stigma is my story, and without it, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

Shaunii will soon compete for Miss Black USA. Click here to support her as she continues to spread her story about finding the power within yourself no matter your circumstances. You can also follow her journey on Facebook and Instagram.