COLUMBIA -- Stratford High School graduate Jordan Addison will compete for the Miss Black USA 2011 crown today through Monday in Washington.

The 20-year-old Goose Creek native, the reigning Miss Black South Carolina, is one of 30 contestants.

Unlike the Miss South Carolina pageant that was held last month at Township Auditorium, Miss Black South Carolina doesn't have a typical pageant week. Addison was one of about 40 applicants who applied to represent the state in the national competition, she said. The process included a phone interview.

"It's based on how you sell yourself on paper, and a short conversation with someone," said Addison, a rising junior studying elementary education at the University of South Carolina. "This is really the first big pageant I've done."

She sees the above as an advantage.

"I'm an adrenaline junkie and I can put on a good show," she elaborated. "I don't really know what they're looking for and that's a good thing. (I'm not) trying to fit in whatever box they want me in."

Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston made a donation for Addison's travel expenses, and Round Robin, a Devine Street boutique, has provided her with outfits and an evening gown.

The State talked to Addison about the pageant:

Q: What's your platform?

A: Alzheimer's disease awareness. (Her paternal grandmother has the disease.) It's really been a struggle with me not being home. It's also a way to cope with it as well as educate myself.

Q: What's your talent?

A: Liturgical dance piece. It's became a really big passion of mine. Even if I don't practice every day, I like listening to the song so you're really connected to it.

Q: Is there a swimsuit competition?

A: No. It's personal fitness lifestyle. For the preliminaries, it's what ... you wear when you go to the gym. For the finals, it's an actual fitness routine. It will demonstrate that you do this lifestyle.

Q: With all the clothes you have to bring for individual events, how are you limiting yourself to two suitcases?

A: I think two is a good number compared to what other people might have.

Q: Is one of the suitcases just for makeup?

A: Oh jeez, I'm not a big makeup person. I like looking natural, but of course everyone needs a little more with stage lights.