Miss of America 2021

Charnae Payne

Charnae Marie Payne was selected as Miss of New York in November of 2019. She then competed at the National Pageant in Atlanta, Georgia this past November, and was crowned American Pageant’s Miss of America 2021.

Charnae is a native of Philadelphia, PA and by nature is a role model and leader started at home, where she is the oldest of 5 siblings. At the age of 6, after completing a career project, Charnae set the goal of becoming a doctor because she wanted to contribute to a cause greater than herself. She attended the Mathematics, Civics, and Science Charter School (MCSCS) from grades 1st through 10th. While staying dedicated to her academics, she was a member of the Mathematics, Civics, and Science Charter School Choir, a member of the Charm Club, and served as a tutor for the Keystone State Exam. At MCSCS, she was first exposed to the significance of civic duty and being active in her community. Each week the members of her school community packaged and donated food for the homeless and hosted an annual Christmas canned food drive for the Holidays.

During her junior year of high school, she moved to Cinnaminson, NJ, and transferred to Cinnaminson High School (CHS). At CHS, she was selected as a CHS choir performer and became a member of the multicultural club where she served as Vice President. Through this organization is where she gained her passion for advocating for Diversity and Inclusion. After serving as Miss Teen of New Jersey with Miss Teen America later that year Charnae received Ceremonial Recognition from Senator Diane Allen for her efforts in her community. During her Senior year at Cinnaminson High School, Charnae served as the Community Service Leader for CHS Multicultural Club, was a candidate for Cinnaminson High School Vice President, member of the Prom committee, a Yearbook Editor, a member of the Physics Olympics Team, and a part of CHS Interact and Service Club, all while still maintaining a 3.9 GPA. By the end of her Senior year, Charnae received, an Outstanding Academic Achievement Award from Cinnaminson High School, the Multicultural Club Officer Service Award, was an Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Best of the Best Student Scholar nominee, The National Society of High School Scholar Member, and was nominated to be inducted into The Cinnaminson High Hall of Fame.

After graduating from Cinnaminson High School, Charnae is continuing her journey in the Big Apple at Wagner College where she received the $80,000 Presidential Academic Scholarship and is majoring in biology to work towards becoming a Physician. During her freshman year at Wagner, Charnae took on the role of Diversity and Inclusion Senator in Wagner’s Student Government Association (SGA), while serving as a Napela Volunteer where she taught Citizenship Education to Liberian Women in the Staten Island Community. In her sophomore year, she became more involved with Wagners’ Black Student Union chapter as their SGA Representative. At the closing of her Sophomore year, she was inducted into the Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society and served as their Historian during her junior year. In the Spring of 2019, Charnae was elected Vice President of the Student Government Association. This position allowed her to represent her College at National conferences, and work collaboratively with her peers to make their campus more inclusive. That year she was also a 10-month community leader at Wagner and began to teach health and sex education to high school students through the Peer Health Exchange Organization. At Peer Health she furthered her desire to educate others on the meaning and significance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Throughout the year, Charnae earned two additional scholarships, which was a $10,000 Wagner Plan Award, and was the
Recipient of the Monterosso Scholarship for Public Service.

Now a senior at Wagner College, Charnae is Student Government Association President, Vice President of the Black Student Union, Vice President of OUR Beauty Student Organization, and serves as a Diversity Director for the Peer Health Exchange Organization. As President, she is the liaison between the student body and administration as well as alumni and board members. In this role, she strives to tackle tasks that would lead to changes in which students expressed that they want to see reflected in their campus community. Charnae also helps to run a small business along with her mother called Tabbies, Taffies and Trinkets, LLC, which is centered around event planning.

After college Charnae plans on taking a year off before applying to medical school. During her time as Miss of America 2021, she plans to use her Diversity and Inclusion platform to educate others on topics ranging from police brutality, systemic racism, healthcare inequity, and the importance of representation in the workplace. Additionally, she will be expanding her modeling career as a signed model with EMG Models and MMG Model Talent Celebrity Management in New York City.

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