Crowned Miss Milwaukee 2022 in March, Jada Davis made history as the first Black woman to win the title in the organization’s 98-year run. A Milwaukee inner city native, Davis wears many hats with a diverse group of passions and interests.
“I’m a dancer, entrepreneur and law student,” Davis said. She obtained her undergraduate degree in communication and democracy justice studies from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and is now pursuing a law degree.
Scheduled to graduate from Marquette Law School in spring 2023, Davis plans on taking the bar exam in larger cities, staying in Milwaukee for a period of time. Supported by a mentor, friends and family, Davis has advice to those pursuing a career in law: “People that may be reading this that want to pursue a law degree, make sure that you connect and start to network early. It’s who you know, not what you know a lot of the time. Connecting with other professionals in the field is always important.”
Davis recently sat down with the Wisconsin Law Journal to discuss her recent win and journey to becoming a lawyer.
Wisconsin Law Journal: You’re here at Marquette Law? What made you want to pursue a law degree?
Davis: I’ll start with this little funny story. In second grade, I dressed up as a lawyer for Halloween and I wore this little suit with a suit skirt and briefcase for my candy. I don’t really eat candy, but I had a briefcase for it. That’s when I first realized I kind of want to be a lawyer and this was something I wanted to do. That’s something that’s always been in the back of my head. When I got to high school and had to make a decision about what I wanted to do with my life, I was like: ‘Yeah, I want to be a lawyer.’
WLJ: With a background in dance, how do you merge your love for the arts while pursuing a legal career?
Davis: During college, I figured out that I wanted to practice either entertainment or family law. Hopefully, one day I can be a celebrity divorce attorney. That’s like my dream job — well a celebrity attorney in general just to have that entertainment side as well as the family law side and bring those together. Entertainment law is something that’s of interest to me because I’m a dancer and because I enjoy the music industry and the entertainment industry. That’s something I want — be able to work with artists and actors, athletes with contracts.
Davis: I did two competitions, so the first one was Miss West Allis and then Miss Milwaukee was my second pageant ever. The reason I got involved was because I got scouted for it. My friend had done a pageant before. I like to do new stuff just to challenge myself. (Miss West Allis) seemed like something that would help me in different areas: I could do a talent piece, I could work on interview, stage presence, all of that. I figured I’d try it out and that’s how I got involved in this world. I didn’t win that one — I got awards, but I didn’t win a title. Miss Milwaukee came out of nowhere.
WLJ: What was it like to win Miss Milwaukee?
Davis: They said ‘Candidate number 5’ and candidate number five was also my candidate number for the previous pageant. So, to see that juxtaposed having competed before and then now with the same number and winning — I was kind of in shock. They announced I was the first Black Miss Milwaukee to be named. I was taken aback because part of me was excited and part of me was like ‘really?’ So, I had those two things going on in my head.
WLJ: Carrying this pride of being the first Black woman to win, what impact are you looking to pursue with that?
Davis: I really just want to inspire other women and young women to try new things and to broaden their horizons. Have the confidence to broaden your horizons and see what’s out there for you. Because you never know until you try and you never know what doors might be open for you for trying something new, for challenging yourself. It’s all about part of your confidence journey to doing those things.
WLJ: With being a law student and now Miss Milwaukee, how do you plan on juggling the two?
Davis: It’s a lot of work. With finals right around the corner, I’ve really had to be on top of everything. We’re at the end of the semester.
WLJ: You’re starting to become a lawyer, is it everything you thought when you were in second grade?
Davis: Law school is a challenge. The coursework is obviously more difficult. Once I graduate and get a job I will be fulfilled and little second-grade Jada will be proud. So far, she’s very proud of how I’m handling law school and enjoying the ride of that. Just to be able to experience an institution that was not meant for a Black woman to be a part of in the first place is a privilege.