13. Daddy’s Little Woman – The Candice Sanders Story

Posted: April 24, 2009 in African American, Christianity, daughters, family
Tags: , , , , ,


candice-sanders1Candice Marie Sanders (born February 21, 1977) is a former beauty pageant contestant from Brownsville, Tennessee.


Sanders first competed in the Miss USA pageant system in 2000 when she placed first runner-up in the Miss Tennessee USA pageant. In 2002, after moving to California to attend Pepperdine University, Sanders competed in California as Miss Greater Los Angeles USA and won the Miss California USA 2003 title in her first attempt in that state.


At the time of her reign, Sanders was a student at Pepperdine University pursuing a double major in religion and candice-model2creative writing. She was the second Pepperdine student to win the title.


FathersFootprints recently caught up with Candice and she agreed to share her story with our audience.  While her tremendous story will be featured in our book, this brief interview will help our readers understand that she is not just another pretty face.


Name: Candice Marie Sanders


Vital stats: Age 32, Single, No Children


Home town: Los Angeles, California


Known for: Miss California USA 2003…Writing Books…Motivational Oration… Philanthropy… Humanitarianism… Modeling… Photography


Inspiring authors:  Toni Morrison and Cornell West


Favorite quote:  “The truth about childhood is stored up in our body and lives in the depth of our soul. Our intellect can be deceived, our feelings can be numbed and manipulated, our perception shamed and confused, our bodies tricked with medication. But our soul never forgets. And because we are one, one whole soul in one body, someday our body will present its bill.” -Alice Miller


FF:  You went from being Miss California USA to writing and philanthropy.  How did you get your start in writing and philanthropy? 


Candice:  My grandfather is an Elder in the Church of God in Christ.  He was always helping people.  He got so much joy from it.  He still does!  My mother is just like her dad.  She’s brilliant, nurturing, unbelievably kind and helpful to anyone she meets.  I grew up following the examples of my two heroes, my mom, and granddaddy. 


Philanthropy is something that is soulfully innate in me.  I feel like God calls upon us to do various tasks.  Oftentimes, it involves taking a painful experience and using it to lift the spirits of others.  He blessed me to write and speak out on behalf of those less fortunate.  This is something I have to do. I pray for the courage and endurance to sustain the criticism and stay the divine trajectory of which I’ve been placed by Him.  


FF:  By your own account; your life has had its ups and downs.  Why did you decide to participate in the FathersFootprints’ project Daddy, Am I Pretty?


Candice:  I really believe the crux of a colossal amount of issues I have as a woman, center around the relationship I have with my father.  The title of your project, Daddy, Am I Pretty? caught my attention instantaneously.  I’m a very outspoken advocate for children who have been abused.  I know that he feels very guilty now for what happened to me, although it wasn’t his fault.  I’ve given him a very hard time over the years for being in denial, and not wanting to discuss what happened with me. 


That’s been excruciatingly painful for me throughout the years.  My parents divorced when I was baby.  I really hoped they would reconcile.  That never happened.  As an adult, I realize now that the only man in my life whose attention I wanted was my dad’s.   Our relationship remains strained and extremely complex.  I have to learn how to forgive him and accept him as he is and he has to accept me as I am.  We’re actually very much alike.  I love my dad with all of my heart.  That doesn’t change.


FF:  You coined the title, Daddy’s Little Woman. Tell us what this means.


Candice:  I believe in being truthful and transparent when sharing my life experiences, in order to empower the lives of others.  I pray that in doing so, others will benefit somehow from the trauma and triumphs I experienced in life.  Both are inextricably intertwined. 


My dad always put me in very adult situations, and I couldn’t behave like a little girl.  I had to be the adult.  When I was sexually abused by my father’s eldest brother, it changed my life forever.  I was no longer a child or a little girl.  I became a Little Woman.


FF:  We appreciate your commitment to the FathersFootprints project: Daddy, Am I Pretty?  What other projects are on the horizon for you?


Candice:  I am in the process of creating my own nonprofit that can really focus and benefit women of color.  Speaking of sexual abuse and domestic violence in the African-American community has always carried a negative stigma.  It’s my job to start an open conversation, so that much needed healing may begin.  I’m also very excited to begin touring the country this fall to share my life story at high schools, colleges and universities.  I hope to have the first memoir of a series, documenting the peaks and valleys of my life ready for publication soon.


FF:  Candice, as always it is good talking with you.  Your ability to encourage our young sisters is unmeasured.  Keep up your work and we look forward to sharing the candice-dad3details of your story with our readers.


Candice:  Mr. Duncan, you are so kind and gracious to have me as part of your project.  I’m humbled and honored to have worked with you.  Thank you for really taking the time to sit with me and listen to my story with such an open mind. 


Candice’s story will be featured in the upcoming book, Daddy, Am I Pretty?    


Until next time,








Candice is accpeting friends via Twitter and Facebook:



  1. C. Anthony says:

    You’re doing phenomenal things in using your experiences to empower others. It’s fantastic to see people who’ve been through abusive situations rise above it and use it to help others deal with their own issues. And as for the issues with your father, it’s understandable that both of you would feel the way you did, and a huge step to come to terms with it and have a relationship after something like that.

    Students at schools and universities are guaranteed to be blessed by hearing your triumphs and tribulations alike, and hopefully your actions will give you the peace and happiness you deserve.

    Love & Blessings,

  2. Candice is one of my favorite people for some many reasons. Thank you for featuring her and thank you for allowing her to share her story.

  3. S Russell says:

    Love the title of his book because it speaks volumes. So many women I know have some father issues and hopefully learning the stories of women such as yourself will help mend those wounds many of still carry to this day. And maybe it will help current fathers try to interact with their daughters in a way that prepares them for future, healthy … Read Morerelationships with men. Your quote about being a child saddened me because, it’s true, no matter what you do to deaden the pain, it always remains. I look forward to reading the book and to following your plans to educate young women. A graceful bow to you Candice:)

  4. Rachel Araya says:

    It seems to me that Candince never really had a childhood, which is unfortunate. Children who struggle with abuse issues are forced to grow up fast. I know this from personal experience. However, as adults, we must learn that the abuse wasn’t our faults. We must try to learn that we are not our struggles, and we must try to learn that we are not our thoughts. Candince’s story of triumph is a shining example of how we can overcome our past. I see you shining Candince!

  5. Kelly Terrell says:

    I loved the interview. I’m looking forward to reading more about Candice’s story. I wanna thank her for not letting her pass get in her way. Please let God keep using you to touch others lives. You never know whose life you may help save.

  6. Christina says:

    Candice’s impact in the lives of children and woman will be vital as she tells her story in this new book. I am looking forward to reading it. Many blessings to her and others who speak out.

  7. Louise Rios says:

    The interview was great. i am looking forward to reading more about the story of Candice. Thanks for speaking out.

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