Indiana State University Newsroom

Messer wins 2015 Miss Ebony crown

October 14, 2015

Jalynne Messer of Indianapolis won the 2015 Miss Ebony crown along with a $1,500 scholarship Saturday night in Tilson Auditorium.

Forty-one women applied to participate in this year’s scholarship pageant. The lucky 13 women chosen to compete spent countless hours preparing for the show. Contestants also participated in a number of workshops discussing interview skills, hair and beauty tips.

“What an experience and blessing to be crowned Miss Ebony 2015,” said Messer, a junior majoring in human development and family studies. It took roughly a month to prepare for the pageant. We had practice almost every day for about two hours. While at home I would rehearse my talent, the opening dance and our interview questions over and over again so I would be ready for the pageant.”

Messer, the daughter of Jason and DeAnna Messer, was well rehearsed and excited to present her talent. She put together a presentation of pictures she had taken and shared what the pictures meant to her and how much she loved photography.

“I let them see a different side to the art,” Messer said.

Miss Ebony was established at Indiana State in 1973 and showcases women who represent a variety of ethnicities and backgrounds. After taking a five-year hiatus, the program returned to Indiana State’s campus in 2014.   

Alongside Messer was first runner up Ebone’ Tuggles who won a $750 scholarship and second runner up NaTeisha Lewis who won a $500 scholarship. Tuggles also was crowned Miss Congeniality and Taylor Burris received the Audience Choice award by collecting the most money in both ticket sales and towards her philanthropy of choice, Best Buddies.

The pageant consists of a private interview, interview attire, evening gown, talent and an on stage question.  Unlike Miss Indiana State University, the traditional bathing suit category has been replaced by a formal interview attire portion. This year’s talents included an array of dancers, singers, a belly dancer and a spoken monologue.

Judges included Azizi Arrington-Bey, assistant professor of interior architecture design; Vicki Banks, administrative assistant in the Office of Student Activities and Organizations; and Scarlett Litre (Sean McCool), the current Miss Gay ISU. Messer will be a guest judge for 2015 Miss Gay ISU pageant later in October.

The 2015 Miss Ebony pageant had been in the planning stages since last spring by the Miss Ebony scholarship pageant student organization. The event was co-sponsored by Student Health Promotions, the Office of Diversity and Student Government Association.

“They create new friends and communities. That for me is the best part of the pageant is that we are facilitating this ‘woman power’ amongst these ladies and hopefully it will continue beyond this pageant,” said Elonda Ervin, the advisor of the student organization and front stage coordinator for the show. “It is not a competition but a sisterhood,” Ervin said.

Photo: – Indiana State University junior Jalynne Messer is crowned Miss Ebony Oct. 10, 2015. (ISU/Angelique Bokamba)

Photo: – Contestants dance during the opening number of the 2015 Miss Ebony Pageant in Tilson Auditorium. Oct. 10, 2015. (ISU/Angelique Bokamba)


Contact: Elonda Ervin, executive director of multicultural services and programs and Miss Ebony advisor, Indiana State University, 812-237-8513 or


Writer: Mallory Eherenman, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, 812-237-3773 or