Q&A with your 2013 Homecoming king and queen

2013 Homecoming Queen CHARIS HANNER and KING FEMI BAB-OKE

Femi Bab-Oke 2013 Homecoming King
BA in Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations.
Current graduate student at Georgia State studying Sports Administration.

Charis Hanner 2013 Homecoming Queen
BA in Journalism with a concentration in Telecommunications.
Currently a student at Georgia State’s School of Business.

How did you decide you were going to run for Homecoming King?
KING: I’ve always wanted to apply and I tried my sophomore year but I never actually got through the application so I decided that I had to do it before I graduated.

QUEEN: I looked at other young ladies who I saw run for Homecoming Queen before and I was like, ‘I look up to these young ladies. They’re doing amazing things on campus.’

And I came to Georgia State my freshman year and I wasn’t involved in anything. I just went to school and came back to my dorm. My senior year I decided I was going to go out on a limb and run for Homecoming Queen. I thought that would be an amazing end to my college career.

How was the experience of running?
KING: It was great. I learned a lot about myself and I learned a lot about Georgia State. I got more involved than I’d ever been involved. I was able to experience something new.

QUEEN: My friends got together and made cupcakes and they got in the Plaza in pink tutus and t-shirts with my name on it. I get choked up thinking about it because it shows how much your friends and the people around you love you.

My mom actually came down and was knocking on doors at Piedmont North saying, ‘Vote for my daughter.’ So embarrassing but shout out to my mom and shout out to those people who voted for me. It was the highlight of my college career.

How did you prepare for this new experience?
KING: I wasn’t prepared, actually. That’s why I think it was the best experience for me, because I really wasn’t prepared. I didn’t know what to expect out of Homecoming or running for Homecoming. But, I will say that it was just really cool to go with the flow and get involved in things.

QUEEN: I talked to my family first about it and they were really supportive. And then I told my roommates. From there it was like a wildfire. My roommates were very supportive. I started to see how many people I had impacted, talked to, and grown to love. It was an amazing pool of support. I just wanted to be an inspiration to people and share my story.

Why is the experience important to you?
KING: I think it is important to me because I gained a lot of insight. I was able to appreciate myself a lot more. When it began, naturally I was a little insecure at the time and I didn’t have that much confidence. I knew that I wasn’t as involved as I wanted to be. I usually was a leader but I just did things — I never really did things for myself. I never experienced the fun side of doing things or being involved. It was really good to see that side of it.

QUEEN: I think the experience was important to me because I learned a lot about myself, I learned a lot about my university and I learned a lot about the community at Georgia State. It wasn’t just about getting a nice crown and sash. I felt accomplished.

I learned a lot about Georgia State and our community and how it’s different from any other university where you see people off in their own set of race or culture. Georgia State — we’re like a melting pot. I saw that because everyone on the Homecoming Court was from a different background but we all came together in our love for Georgia State. It meant the world to because you don’t see that in many places.

What does being Homecoming King/Queen mean to you?
KING: Being King means to have character. That’s just being who you are when no one is around to see it. Being able to uphold that crown and what that means to Georgia State. What it means to me is that I’m someone that people look up to, that I’m in a leadership role.

QUEEN: Being Queen means being an example and when I say that I don’t want people to say ‘Oh she’s pretty’ or ‘oh she’s probably smart.’ I want people to look at me and know that there is a story behind the crown. I want people to look at me in the Queen title and say ‘I can do that too.’ And not just limiting it to Homecoming Queen but whatever you want to be. It sounds very cliché, but that’s what queen means to me. It means being an inspiration.

How has it impacted your life?
KING: I walk around with my crown. It’s imaginary, but I walk around with a higher demeanor and a higher purpose. It means so much to me.

QUEEN: I think it has taught me a lot of humility. It taught me humility because I knew where I came from. It taught me to appreciate humble beginnings. I think it was important in my life because it showed me that when you push towards a goal and when you have your mind towards something you really can do it. Being Homecoming Queen was my mom’s words put in real life. You can do anything you put your mind to.

What should Georgia State students look out for next week?
KING: The Homecoming Ball was great. I love the themes every year. The parade was pretty cool too; I didn’t know they shut down the streets. Like I said earlier, I wasn’t really involved beforehand so I always walked past it but never stopped and saw to what magnitude it was. The actual game was pretty cool too.

QUEEN: The block party is going to be a lot of fun. The Homecoming Ball is Egyptian themed. It’s going to be amazing. It’s completely magical. The Homecoming Court is going to have a performance.

Get there early you don’t want to miss it. Get your tickets early because they sell out. Those are two of my favorite events, along with the Homecoming Parade. If you’re out of class at 12:15 and you have time, go on Peachtree Street I will wave at you and throw you same candy. Enjoy everything that Georgia State has to offer next week.

How did you feel when you won?
KING: I still replay that day in my head. I never believed they were going to call my name that afternoon. I literally had the biggest grin of surprise on my face. I remember holding the person’s hand next to me and I was like ‘I’m not going to let go no matter what happens.’ As soon as they called my name I let go because I was that surprised. If I could have passed out on the field I would have passed out.

QUEEN: I think it really resonated with me when I saw my dad crying at the Homecoming Game. Like, he was crying. I’ve never seen my dad cry in my life and he was crying. I was holding one of the Homecoming King candidate’s hands next to me when they were calling the names. When I heard them call my name I was like, whoa. I didn’t expect to win, this it was just something fun to do. But, it was an amazing experience.