My first memory of pageants is from when I went to see my cousin compete at Miss Seal Beach. I can’t remember how old I was, but as soon as the show began I was mesmerized. From that day on I dreamed that one day it would be me getting all dressed up, wearing my very own poofy dress & competing for the title. Little did I know the impact they would have on my life.
Miss Seal Beach
A few years later I was old enough to participate in the Miss Seal Beach pageant. I remember seeing the perfect dress in a store window as my dad drove me to school. Fit for a mermaid, it was aquamarine & exactly what I thought I needed to win. I got the dress & ended up placing first runner up. Year after year I came so close to the title but unfortunately I never got the coveted queen crown.
Lucky for me I did get to be a member of the court. Miss Seal Beach is a small city pageant, the queen & the runners up were all apart of the Miss Seal Beach Court. Together we participated in various city events like Music on Main, The Classic Car Show, The Polar Plunge, & The Seal Beach 5k 10k. Through these events I made countless memories & met some of my best friends.
Miss Teen Southern California CPP
A few years later I was missing the joy pageants brought to my life. Unlike anything else I have done, pageants not only pushed me to be the best version of myself, but also gave me a platform to help & connect with other people.
Feeling unfulfilled at community college, I decided to compete in Miss Teen Southern California. This pageant was coed & much like Miss Seal Beach, the court would do community service events together throughout the year. I was so nervous I would let down my family & friends by not winning yet again, I barley invited anyone to come to the show. But after years of competing, I finally won my first pageant & was crowed Miss Teen Southern California 2012 CPP.
It was a wonderful year full of events & friendships. But no matter how many things I did, I knew this wasn’t the end of my pageant journey. I had finally won a pageant & I felt like the sky was the limit. I was a little bit closer to competing in what my mind was the only real pageant, Miss California USA.
Miss California USA Prelims
Like other sports (yeah I’m going to consider pageants a sport), there are different leagues or systems. For pageants you have a tone! Most recognizably, The Miss USA/ Miss Universe System & the Miss America system (which has a talent).
In 2006 I was on vacation with my family when we were given tickets to the Miss Teen USA pageant. I was so excited but I had no clue what we were about to walk into. OH MY GOSH, it was so different from Miss Seal Beach. These girls all looked like professional models. Every single one of them deserved to win. I thought to myself that maybe one day I could be just as worthy as them, but I sure didn’t have the confidence to try then.
10 years later, I finally felt ready to give the Miss USA system a try. I was sick of seeing so many girls accomplish something I had always dreamed of. I wanted to try it for myself.
Miss Malibu & Miss Beverly Hills
I signed up for the Miss Malibu USA & Miss Beverly Hills USA pageant thinking it was the best place to start. The director Kristen Bradford had coached several Miss CA USA’s & Miss USA winners. I felt that if anyone could teach me what it takes to be a queen, it was going to be her.
I went to a couple Crown Diva Pageant Bootcamps & did a few coaching sessions with Kristen. I practiced my walk, caught up on current events, & for the first time in my life, followed a fitness & nutrition plan!
Another thing I was super excited about doing was head shots! I love taking photos, but I’ve always been a little nervous behind the camera. I had never tried letting a sexy side of myself show before, so this was new territory. Part of me has always wanted to model, so it was really fun getting a taste of what that is like shooting with the official photographer for Miss California USA, Raphael Maglonzo.
For interview, I wanted to make the most of the time I had with the judges. Since you only have 2 minuets, I thought the best way to showcase my personality would be to show off my crochet designs. With 3 hours of sleep before the big day, I finished crocheting an interview dress while I was having my make up done by Lisa G. Even though the dress wasn’t perfect, I had so much confidence walking into that room wearing something I made myself & sharing my passion with the judges.
Swimsuit was the section I prepared for the most. No longer able to go to a school gym, I signed up for Equinox a week before I decided to compete in the pageant. There & with the help of Get Fit By Rob, I developed an exercise & nutrition plan that helped me loose 10 pounds before I hit the stage.
For evening gown, I had a vintage dress re-purposed into a new style. It was so much fun working with Christian Pelayo & turning an old gown into something modern.
I didn’t end up placing at my first prelim pageant, but I had so much fun competing & learning about myself along the way.
Sometimes when I tell people I do pageants, they say they could never do it because they hate comparing themselves to other people. As much as I wish I never did this, I think everyone can be guilty of it now and again. But instead of telling myself I’ll never be in as good of shape as this person, or I wish I was as accomplished as another, I find it motivating to surround myself with other girls working towards their dreams. If they can do it, so can I!
And so my pageant journey continues. Helping inspire me to dream bigger, work harder, and never give up. I can’t wait to see where it takes me!
What I’m Wearing & Who Helped!
Swimsuit by Syrup Swimwear
Dress by Christian Pelayo
Jewelry by The Urban Charm
Shoes by Chinese laundry
Photography by Raphael Maglonzo