Miss Woodland Hills 2018, Joye Forrest. Introducing the concept of Improvisation within dance. This short Improvisation is dedicated to my Grandmother Thelma Little. Enjoy!”
When I first started in the Miss America Organization at the age of fifteen, I was very shy and introverted. I was not able to talk to any size group of people. I disliked having small talk conversations or giving a speech to many people. In spite of speaking shyness, when I got onstage to perform in piano, dance or acting, I would shine. I was a natural born performer and loved when I was able to be onstage. In 2014, I started in this organization in order to get some interview and speaking skills. Little did I know at the time, that the Miss America Organization would open up so many doors and opportunities in my life.
As my skills began to grow because of the Miss America Organization, I decided to major in communications in college, and soon got an amazing internship in this field of study. I began to work as the Intern Producer for an internet television show called “Open Up Live.” As their Intern Producer, I had many jobs like coordinating guest speakers, creating the show planners, helping run the behind the scenes, reporting local events at the newsdesk, and even being a guest co-host. This amazing show taught me skills that I would be able to use in my future career.
During the summer of 2017, I saw in my local hometown newspaper that my favorite clothing company, Stop Staring! Clothing had moved their company to my hometown, Tehachapi, California. Stop Staring! Clothing has been around for 20 years now and I personally had been following the company for years before this! I was so excited when I saw the article, that I knew I wanted to stop by their new building in Tehachapi to check it out. I had hoped that I would be able to meet with the designer of Stop Staring! Clothing, Alicia Estrada to talk with her about her amazing designs and invite her on the internet television show “Open Up Live.” Luckily, I was able to meet with the designer and that started a new relationship with the company. I knew that Alicia Estrada was a Christian woman and soon found out that God had really brought us to meet each other.
I soon began to help Alicia Estrada with the fit modeling of dresses, and later got offered a job working in Stop Staring’s shipping warehouse and as the designer’s personal assistant. Stop Staring is a worldwide clothing company and they ship their dresses nationally and internationally. I began to get a whole new perspective on online shopping and ordering, and fashion and design. I then was offered a job in their first ever flagship Stop Staring! Boutique, which is where I currently work. I love working in the boutique because I always get to meet new people and learn more about fashion and communications.
In addition to having those jobs with Stop Staring, I also had some great modeling opportunities for the company. I was able to be on ABC 7 Los Angeles “Eye on LA” last November modeling the dresses. I also was in one of Stop Staring’s runway fashion shows, where I modeled many designs including the finale dress, last November as well. Most recently and most exciting, Stop Staring hired me to be a catalog model for their newest collection coming out near the end of 2018! To see a sneak peek of the Stop Staring photoshoot, watch my attached video!
I love working for Stop Staring! Clothing and the designer, Alicia Estrada! I have to give the thanks to the Miss America Organization for giving me the speaking and interviewing skills in order to obtain these amazing jobs. I cannot wait for all of the exciting things that are in store for me, not only with the Miss America Organization, but also with Stop Staring! Clothing! For more information you can find Stop Staring! Clothing online at stopstaringclothing.com.
Hi there, my name is Songee Barker and I am proud to be Miss Golden Valley 2018! I am excited to compete at Miss California this June. In preparation, I’ve been reflecting on the road that got me to this point! Growing up, my family and I used to go on road trips each summer, so I thought it would be fun to take a virtual road trip through the beautiful state of California. Here are some of my favorite places, I hope you enjoy! Follow along with the stars on the map to see where we’re off to!
Stop 1: Redwood National and State Parks – Spanning nearly 40 miles along the state and national parks here are home to some of the tallest trees in the world! It’s truly a humbling and surreal experience to visit and look up at the giant redwoods (here’s a photo with me in it for scale)!
Stop 2: Pleasanton, CA – This is where I was born! One of my favorite spots in town is the Meadowlark drive-through dairy, my family and I would stop by after a soccer or t-ball game to get soft serve ice cream! (here’s a photo with a giant ice cream for scale…kidding ☺)
Stop 3: Mammoth Lakes – One of the best ski spots in the world! (I might be biased on that but after visiting Colorado this winter that claim checks out in my books!). For me to enjoy skiing takes a lot because I hate being cold so, if you’re looking for some great powder and a beautiful ski town be sure to check Mammoth out!
Stop 4: The Golden Valley – (aka the beautiful area I have the honor of representing this year!) – Located in California’s Central Valley, our state’s agricultural hub, where over 360 products are produced. The Golden Valley is sprouting with stunning groves and orchards that seem to go on as far as the eye can see! In addition to growing delicious produce and dairy, this area also grows some of the warmest and welcoming people I have ever met (this may be a personal bias, but it holds true!)
Stop 5: Death Valley National Park – California is home to nine National Parks (I have been to five of them!). One of the most diverse and interesting is Death Valley, its Bad Water Basin is 282 ft below sea level, the lowest point in North America! Here you can find salt flats, mosaic rocks, sand dunes, and more! Just be sure to pack lots of water because the heat in Death Valley is intense!
Stop 6: Sandstone Peak – Sandstone Peak is the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. You can take the Mishe Mokwa Trail, a beautiful six-mile hike, to get to the top. Once you’re there be sure to take in the view of the ocean and snap some pictures! When you’re done hiking you can take a quick drive out to the coast and relax at some famous Malibu Beaches! There is also a race every year long the Malibu coastline, that my family and I ran last year!
Stop 7: Newport Beach – Newport Beach, CA is a wonderful place to catch some waves! It’s also where I had my first job at the historic Lido Regency movie theater! If you’re in Newport consider taking a surf lesson or catching a movie!
Stop 8: Belmont Park – Located in San Diego (also where my Miss California roommate is from, Hi Miss San Diego!) Belmont Park is home to one of the oldest wooden roller coasters! When I was young my family used to vacation here with our cousins and I vividly remember just barely being tall enough to ride the roller coaster (warning Baby Songee pic!)!
I hope you enjoyed my quick tour of California, from the North to the South this is a magnificent State! I love exploring this beautiful state and hopefully, you’re inspired to explore too! Thank you for reading along, I’ll see you in Fresno this June!
All the Best,
Miss Golden Valley 2018
Hi, I'm Lauren Herring, Miss Clovis 2018! Since 1924 the Miss California Organization has been pumping out scholarship queens and childhood dreams. Since 2017 I've been lucky enough to benefit from this organization. Going into the program I only had a small idea of what I was getting myself into. No one can really explain the look in a small child's eyes when they see a girl with big hair and a sparkly crown on their head, and no one can really explain how it will make you feel.
The four points of the crown are service, scholarship, style, and success. If I had to add a fifth S, it would be strength, because boy oh boy do you have to be strong for this job. You don't realize the extent of your importance until you're expected to show up and just be yourself. That's the most admirable thing about this Organization, you get a sash and a crown and a nation-wide platform, just for being yourself. Not only that, but you get to be yourself and be an advocate for whatever you want.
Another unexplainable perk you won't understand until post-crowning is how much you can impact the people you meet. I learned from Uncle Ben (Spider-Man reference) that with great power comes great responsibility. The second you put on that crown, you become the most convincing person in the room. As Miss Clovis I wanted my platform to be all about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.) STEM education and careers are important because these are the careers that dictate the way our world works. My platform also focuses on encouraging girls and young women to pursue STEM to create a greater female presence within the STEM industry.
Women are important and what they can't explain to you before become a title holder is that it's the kids that make you feel most important. Beyond my personal platform is the MAO official platform, the Children's Miracle Network. If you ever lose hope in humanity just know there's 80 + queens with 80 + people behind them working to make sure every child has proper medical treatment.
What they can explain to you, is that these moments are special, so take lots of pictures. They can tell you that you're going to make a lot of friends and these friends will stay with you throughout your lifetime. They can tell you that the year is short, and while I've only been Miss Clovis a few short months, they've been the quickest few months of my life.
I can tell you that this is so much more than what I expected, but so much more in the best possible way.
My name is Sarell Diamond and I am your Miss Hollywood 2018! As a Los Angeles native, I thought it was only right that I take you on a tour of some of my favorites parts of LA—the place I’ve called home for the past 24 years! And of course, with a little help of some Hollywood magic, you’ll find out some facts about me: where I graduated (Fight On), my community service platform, and how excited I am to compete for Miss California this June!
Sarell, Miss Hollywood 2018
Here's a glimpse of Sophia's journey with the Miss America Organization and her platform of Cultural Appreciation!
My name is Alyssa Scofield and I am Miss San Fernando Valley 2018! I am so excited to represent this beautiful city in Fresno at Miss California come June. Through my title, I am able to promote my platform Knowledge is Power which works to promote education reform state wide. I graduated with a degree in Elementary and Special Education from Arizona State University and you can probably guess, education reform has always been a passion of mine. After graduating from ASU, I took a job as a full-time 5th grade teacher in an incredibly low income school district. I had 35 students in one classroom. As you can imagine the classroom was overcrowded and the amount of classroom supplies I had access to were incredibly scarce so I had to purchase my own. The air conditioning would constantly break, the kids did not have access to a school psychiatrist, and in some cases there were more children in classrooms than there were desks. All of my students families fell far below the poverty line and in some cases some of my students were even homeless. Every day when I got home I would constantly think about what more I could do for these amazing children. That’s when I really started working with my platform. Through Knowledge is Power I am able to communicate the importance of education to a wide range of individuals from teachers to politicians. In Los Angeles I worked in the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti as the chairwoman of the Mayors Youth Council. This amazing program not only focused on Education Reform, but also helped students get more involved in their community. Through my title as Miss San Fernando Valley I am able to continue my fight for equal education regardless of race, gender, or socio economic status.
The Miss America program has also helped me live out another one of my passions. Dance! I have been dancing since the age of three and haven't stopped since.I have danced in the AFL, NFL, and the NBA. I love performing because I love to see others smile! Through the Miss America organization I have gained over $3000 in scholarships that helped me continue my passion for education and dance. I am eternally grateful for everything this organization has given me and can’t wait to continue my service as a local title holder!
Currently I am working in Los Angeles as an in home Education Therapist and in my free time, I also work as a cycling instructor. Physical fitness and eating healthy are also very important to me so I love to stay healthy and active!
Thank you for following along as I work to obtain my dream job! See you in Fresno!
My name is Raena Ramirez and I am Miss Tustin 2018! I chose to give you all a look into who I am and my journey through the Miss California Organization. From my platform to traveling to Disneyland- you can learn about my job aspirations, my athletic career, and why I am beyond ecstatic to represent the city of Tustin!
Hello Everyone!! I am Monica Stainer and I am a 24-year-old graduate of the University of Southern California working at a Big Four Accounting Firm. I am so excited to represent beautiful Culver City at Miss California this June!
As a little girl, I always knew I wanted to work in accounting or finance. I vividly remember waking up at 6:30am every morning, watching the Stock Market’s opening bell with my Dad, and naming off the companies in the S&P 500 and NASDAQ as the ticker symbols went by. There were definitely some interesting reactions when I was an elementary school girl saying that I wanted to be an accountant, rather than the typical response of a doctor, astronaut, or an actress; but I didn’t let that stop me. I wanted to prove that girls can be in finance too.
For Christmas, most teenagers ask for the newest iPhone, a car, or new clothes for school, but I asked for responsibility – I wanted my own credit card. I made a spreadsheet of my babysitting and tutoring earnings and proved to my parents that I could be responsible and pay for my meals and activities in-full every month. For Christmas that year, I was given a bag with an item that felt like a small piece of plastic. With extreme excitement, I opened the bag and found a $50 Gas Card. My parents told me to look for the lucky penny in the bag’s side pocket, which is a tradition my family engages in – and there it was – my own credit card! I quickly realized that this was not as glamorous as it seemed because I had to actively budget my spending, say “no” to costly luxuries, and meet payment deadlines, but I took pride in my responsibility (and haven’t missed a payment of the full balance to date!).
The following year, my childhood dreams started becoming a reality when I was accepted into the University of Southern California’s Leventhal School of Accounting as an Accounting Major, but my dreams were almost shattered when the reality of tuition started sinking in. Through the over $8,000 in scholarships I earned as Miss California’s Outstanding Teen, a rigorous academic course load and a lot of hard work, I was able to graduate from a five-year program (Accounting Degree with CPA Eligibility) in three-an-a-half years and was offered a full time job at a Big Four Accounting Firm.
Working in Corporate America, I’ve found that I still get interesting reactions when I tell people I’m an accountant – and now, that makes me proud. I am proud to be a woman in finance, proud to be auditing financial statements to validate that companies are reporting their financials accurately, proud to be participating in meetings with Corporate Controllers, CFOs, and CEOs, and most of all, proud of myself for achieving my goals and aiming higher for the future. I hope to continue breaking barriers and sharing my knowledge with younger generations just as my role models: Cathy Englebert, CEO of Deloitte, Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments (and my Commencement Speaker at USC), and Ruth Porat, CFO of Alphabet/Google, have shared.
Because both of my parents had experience in the finance industry, I learned to budget, watch my spending, avoid debt, and become financially independent at an early age. Unfortunately, not everyone has these resources and personal finance courses are also not required in our California schools under the current 2018 Standards. My parents were (and still are) my heroes, especially when it comes to finance, and I hope that I can use my personal and professional experience to be a financial hero for our youth through my platform, Banking on Our Future.
Along with my success thus far, I’ve learned that my dreams are constantly evolving. How can I use my knowledge and experience to give back to our community and our youth? What if I used “Miss” and “Corporate” interchangeably, rather than just being a part of Corporate America?
They say, “Money Makes the World Go Around” and as Miss Culver City and in my many years beyond the Miss America Organization I will continue to serve and promote financial literacy through my platform and organizations like Operation Hope’s Banking on Our Future program, so the next generation can understand how we keep this beautiful world of ours turning.
Thank you all so much for reading and following my journey of how I selected my platform through Scholarship, Success, Service, and always with Style 😉
Miss Culver City 2018
At the young age of three, I was introduced to the sport Tae Kwon Do. My mom signed my sisters up and because I had to be just like them, she eventually signed me up too. I had no idea the dedication, hard work, and sweat it would take to achieve one of the highest levels of success in this sport- the black belt. I attended classes six days a week over 3 hours a day for 4 years when I became the youngest student in the studio to receive my black belt at just seven years old. I continued with this sport for a couple more years until I decided I wanted to branch out and try new things. I tried soccer, acting, guitar, and so many other activities. I was thirteen when my mom told me she entered me in a pageant. I had no idea what a pageant consisted of and my only knowledge came from Toddlers and Tiaras so to say I was worried was definitely an understatement.
Whenever I look back at my first pageant ever it makes me smile because it was a great experience and changed my life forever, but it was a disaster. I was so nervous in my interview that I didn’t really answer any of the questions in full sentences. When asked about the best place to visit in my city as a tourist, I said, “probably frozen yogurt”. I forgot my heels, which meant I had to wear my sandals and to put the cherry on top, I wore my sister’s old prom dress that came above my ankles, a little longer than mid shin. I was so embarrassed and never wanted to see a stage again but after much time and thought, I decided I would compete again the next year. I practiced even more and worked even harder and became Miss Teen Simi Valley 2013.
I was introduced to the Miss America Organization in 2014 and loved that it wasn’t just a pageant but a scholarship opportunity. If it weren’t for my mom signing me up in 2012, I would not be the person I am today. I have found so much confidence within myself, I am actually interested in politics, I love being on the stage, and so much more. I am grateful for the opportunity to be Miss Ventura County 2018 to use my voice and make a difference. I love being able to serve my community and share my platform Stand Up and Speak Out. I still whip out my nun chucks every now and then just to remember where I started. From breaking boards and wearing uniforms to hairspray and spray tans, I love that I can choose to be whoever I want to be.