Rahmeka Cox was Miss New York 2018 and founder of It Only Takes One. A nonprofit creating awareness for organ donation, transplantation and kidney disease through collaborative planning, community initiative and advocacy. Rahmeka’s talent at the state competition for Miss New York was a vocal rendition to “A New Life” from the Broadway musical Jekyll and Hyde. Rahmeka used her social impact and talent to bring awareness to causes meaningful to her throughout New York State. Having done Instagram takeovers, blogs and incremental posts in partnership with BETHer and Refinery.
What inspired you to start It Only Takes One?
My mom was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease in 2004. She was a dialysis patient until 2006, when my brother became her living donor. She had her kidney transplant at Duke University Hospital. Since then, we have been advocates for kidney disease. African Americans are affected at a rate of 4:1. So we want to be part of the positive change that offers support, education to kidney patients and their families.
What are some of your goals for the future of It Only Takes One?
Patient support groups, internships, mentoring programs, education, social support groups, dialysis drives and scholarship funds. Just to name a few.
What inspired you to become a public speaker?
As Miss New York I began promoting It Only Takes One heavily and partnered with organizations such as the National Kidney Foundation and the American Association of Kidney Patients. That visibility provided me with tools to bring awareness in spaces and places, I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. I shared my story and connection to kidney disease, while also advocating for other public health topics.
What helped you get where you are today and what steps did you take?
Staying grounded, focused in school, surrounding myself with a strong tribe and keeping busy with extracurricular. So I don’t have too much idle time. When you find your niche, you won’t want to be a part of anything that would potentially jeopardize your success. In high school I was involved in Student Government and applied to as many colleges and for scholarships as I could. I chose the school that offered me the most scholarships and selected East Carolina University. My involvement in the Miss America Organization, scholarships and grants helped me pay for undergrad. I also worked several part time jobs while in school. After finishing at ECU, I applied to graduate school at New York University and relocated to New York. Where I knew there would be opportunities to thrive after school in terms of employment. During grad school I worked at Old Navy until I landed an internship. My internship hired me during my second year of graduate school and that truly helped me start my career in Clinical Research.
What was the first job you ever booked as a model?
What is one thing you think everyone should know about Chronic Kidney Disease that they may not be aware of?
90 million Americans are affected by CKD and it often goes unnoticed or untreated. They don’t even know that they have it, there are no symptoms.
If given a chance to meet three most famous people on the earth, who would it be, answer in order of preference.
Michelle Obama, Oprah and Beyoncé.
Who is someone that’s impacted your life or helped you become who you are?
My mom. Her story led me to a career in public health and CKD research, she’s the strongest woman I know. She taught me how to overcome challenging circumstances while still remaining true to my values and integrity.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
South Africa. I plan to visit the African continent by 2021 to reconnect to my African roots. Experience the culture and FOOD!
What do you want to be remembered for?
Making a positive impact in the world and inspiring others to do the same, while remaining culturally competent.
What is the best thing that has happened to you this year?
Attending New York Fashion Week. Sitting front row at a few shows as Miss New York, was the coolest experience this year!
How can everyone keep in contact with you on social media?
Instagram: @rahmekacox and subscribe to my website, Rahmeka.com .