2021 PROGRESS PROFILE- Her day… is coming: Striving to be the pride of Southwest Tennessee, Johnson is ready to knock down barriers


By Thomas Sellers Jr.
A Google search of Farraday Johnson nets a variety of results.
The 2020 graduate and Historian of Craigmont High School in Memphis was part of Knowledge Bowl, and various other clubs. Johnson has a Hudl account for basketball and is feature on TN.Milesplit.com for her time on track at both CHS and Brighton High School.
The daughter of Nacquia and Dr. Samuel Johnson also pops up for her success in beauty pageants since the age of 7. The 18-year-old started her pageant career as a chance to lay a foundation for her academic, athlete and spiritual growth.
“I’ve grown so much from doing pageant,” she said. “It helps with both speech and confidence. It great for doing interviews and meeting people. And it really builds your self-confidence.”
Before transferring from Brighton High School, Johnson was selected freshman and sophomore princess. To wrap up her school tenure, she was elected the Homecoming Queen at Craigmont her senior year.
During that stretch, Johnson started to experience success on a bigger stage as the 2016 first runner up for Miss Tipton County Junior Teen Pageant. The following year Johnson traveled down to Southaven, Miss at the Landers Center winning the 2017 America’s Best Pageant.
Now Johnson has her sights set on winning the 2021 Miss Tennessee Teen USA Pageant rescheduled for March 11-13. The event was originally supposed to be held at the Horseshoe Hotel and Casino in Tunica, Miss., in October. Because of the global pandemic, the next major pageant goal of Johnson has to wait a few months.
Meanwhile she will be training and working toward capturing the crown. Daily Johnson works on speech, walking, presentation and educating herself on a variety of topics for discussion. Her major at The University of Memphis is biomedical engineering.
To stay in shape, Johnson pays a visit to her brother, 2019 CHS graduate and current Mississippi Valley State basketball player Jordan.
“My brother takes me to the gym to run and lift weights,” she noted. “He’s D-I, so he works hard. We do all types of workouts like Pilates. I can’t tell you how hard Pilates are. Sometimes I workout with the whole family. It takes that family support to do this.
“It also takes courage, confidence and consistency to do this,” Johnson added. “Practice everyday, work on your speech and how you present yourself. You have to show everybody your best self all the time.”
Several involved in Girls Experiencing Engineering has seen the best of Johnson.
“My mom got me involved in the GEE program,” Johnson recalled. “I was one of those girls not interested in engineering. After going through it and the teaching, I was very interested. I went to transportation camp and we build a robot.”
From that moment, Johnson was hooked and mentors like Dr. Stephanie Ivey invested in her education with time and information. Johnson went from mentoree to mentor working in the GEE for the past three years.
GEE is a fast-paced, interactive summer program (structured in a series of one week, 20-hour intensive sessions) that seeks to instill young women with confidence, interest, and awareness of the wide array of career opportunities within science, technology, and engineering fields.
This is achieved through hands-on, ‘real world’ project based curriculum and dynamic professional engineers serving as guest speakers in the program. Students have the opportunity to participate in general engineering sessions as well as focus sessions (discipline specific), with program material rotating each summer to accommodate repeat participants.
Johnson said GEE has changed her and many other girls prospective on robotics, civil engineering and other related fields.
“I want to inspire little girls to take up engineering,” she said. “We need to bring diversity to the field.”
Johnson brings diversity to the pageant world as well. She has been inspired by the recent trend of black women holding the 2019 crowns of Miss World, Miss Teen USA, Miss America, Miss USA and Miss Universe.
Those women are Toni-Ann Singh, Kaliegh Garris, Nia Franklin, Cheslie Kryst and Zozibini Tunzi respectively.
“I barely see any faces that look like mine and holding the titles,” Johnson concluded. “There is more diversity in the system now. It is opening up for black women. And I want to break down barriers in my town and community.”