Getting to know Katie Wayland Miss Orange 2017

I am a firm believer that the best opportunities present themselves in the least likely of circumstances. In movies and books we can clearly detect foreshadowing, but in life, the characters have no insight in to the plot of their story. We cannot recognize foreshadowing or an opening of a new chapter as it occurs; only afterwards can we trace things back to a point in time when our life story changed in a big way. I myself had one of those moments, six years ago.

Kaite-MissOrange-1The year was 2011. I was a senior in high school, eating at an ice cream shop with two friends. On the wall there was a flyer for a local pageant: Miss City of Orange. Dressed in all black and combat boots, complete with a teenage attitude, I looked opposite the part of a pageant representative. The only logical thing for me to do was to sign up and see what pageant business was all about. After being dared from a friend, I enrolled myself into what has become the most cherished chapter of my life thus far.

You read that right: I did my first pageant on a dare.

Fast forward six years later and I am finally holding in my hands the crown that got me into this crazy adventure. I am so proud to be representing the city my family has called home for seven generations.

Over half a decade of my life has been dedicated to being a part of the Miss America Organization. Had you told me back in 2011 that this is where I would be today, I would have never believed you. God really does work in mysterious ways.

Katie-MissOrange-2Because of my willingness to take a risk, I was introduced to the Miss America Organization and some of the best friends I have ever known. I am confident with the quirks I possess, and I am not afraid to be myself. I am competing for the title of Miss California for the fifth and final time, an organization that has provided me the scholarships to fully fund my entire education on my own. I am forever grateful for what the Miss City of Orange organization has done for me.

Pageants have taught me that you have to be unique to shine on your own. To all the band geeks, daredevils, and quirky young women out there, never lose what makes you unique. Being different isn’t a bad thing. It means that you’re brave enough to be yourself. But, keep your eyes and mind open, because you never know what might change your life.

Miss City of Orange,

Katie Wayland

Getting to know Kiara Farrow Miss High Desert 2017

Imperfectly perfect

Imperfectly perfect

By: Alissa Anderegg, Miss Contra Costa County

In this digital age, young women are constantly exposed to seemingly perfect women with their carefully curated collections of filtered selfies, bikini pics, and cleverly captioned photos featuring their designer-clad friends. While scrolling through these social media profiles, sometimes it can be a little too easy to compare our own lives (where, for example, I’m currently sitting on the floor in PJs with wet hair next to a Chipotle burrito bowl!), to the lives of these other women that appear so perfect.

At my alma mater of Duke University, many of my female peers referred to this phenomenon as the quest for “effortless perfection.” In late night venting sessions with my girlfriends over a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, we shared our struggles of feeling like we needed to live up to a certain ideal: a popular size 2 with straight A’s, top internships, perfect skin, fashionable clothes, all while making it seem like everything came naturally. However during these ice cream late nights, we would always remind each other that we didn’t need validation from others. Rather, we needed to remember an essential rule: do what makes you happy and be yourself.

Miss CoCo’s Five Tips for being “imperfectly perfect”:

Explore your passions.

Finding your passion is the first step to embracing your uniqueness. Growing up, my confidence came from singing on stage. Working so hard for an end goal and hearing the audience applaud my efforts made me feel like a million bucks! As I got older, I found even more I was passionate about, from Alzheimer’s advocacy to volunteerism, all of which shaped me into the person I am today and gave me the confidence to be 100% myself.

 

Be flexible.

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Sometimes passions change, and that’s okay! Because of my work with Alzheimer’s, I originally was a neuroscience major with dreams of becoming a neurosurgeon. However, as I took different classes and worked in internships (my favorite was The TODAY Show in New York City!), I realized that my passion wasn’t so much in the neuroscience itself, but rather in the advocacy by sharing stories to make a lasting impact. Therefore, in my junior year I made a complete 180 and switched into pursuing broadcast journalism. Although at the time it was a terrifying leap, looking back I now realize that it was totally okay that I didn’t have my life perfectly planned out at the age of 20. We don’t need to always know the path ahead of us. By embracing change and being open to possibilities, life’s challenges can transform into new and exciting opportunities.

 

Find inspiration.

Whenever I feel lost or down, I turn to the words that inspire me the most. Whether it’s the lyrics to some pump-up, girl power jams or my journal of favorite quotes, these words empower me to live my life in the present and embrace every moment. One of my favorite sources of inspiration is Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, a must-read for any woman. Her words challenge me to not only think, but act, while offering an important question to always be thinking about: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

 

Surround yourself with those you admire.

Whether it’s a best friend, coach or mentor, surround yourself with people who make you feel undeniably confident and beautiful. Becoming part of the Miss America Organization has given me a sisterhood of talented, driven women who I look up to everyday and many who I consider some of my closest friends. These girl bosses lift me up and make me feel like I can take on anything with them by my side. I’m constantly in awe of their accomplishments and hard work, and they inspire me to become the best me I can be!

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Be you.

Just think: there is nobody exactly like you in the entire world. And that’s an incredible thing! Embrace your uniqueness. Celebrate your quirks. Be unapologetically you… whether you’re blasting music in a road trip with your best friends or walking across the stage at Miss California! Because you are imperfectly perfect.

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With love,

Alissa Anderegg
Miss Contra Costa County 2017

 

Follow me in my preparation for Miss California at @MissContraCosta on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Miss Garden Grove- DUI Prevention and Awareness

MissGG2Every 90 seconds someone is injured from driving under the influence. Every 53 minutes, someone is killed. Yes, that is over 350,000 injuries and nearly 10,000 deaths each year due to driving under the influence.

Being Miss Garden Grove 2017 has allowed me to open up the conversation with community members, elected officials, and constituents about my personal platform- Prevention and Awareness of Driving Under the Influence. Six years ago my family suffered a loss that spurred me to become an advocate for DUI prevention. My cousin was under the influence of alcohol when he decided to ride a friend’s motorcycle with no helmet on. He crashed and was immediately pronounced brain dead. A huge mistake that cost him his life and left our family with a void that will never be replaced. One of the most powerful things I can do is to share my family’s story and educate the community about this prevalent issue.

This year, I have partnered with the Garden Grove Police Department in an effort to educate people about the dangers and consequences of driving under the influence. I attended a DUI Checkpoint, hosted by GGPD, and learned one very important thing. The purpose of a checkpoint isn’t just to catch intoxicated drivers, but to educate drivers about the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol, prescription medication, and marijuana. In an effort to reduce the number of fatalities in the community, the City and GGPD released a Fatality Campaign. You can click the link to see the PSA, and you just might see someone familiar.

MissGG1Throughout the remainder of my year, I will speak to a variety of classrooms in the Garden Grove Unified School District, non-profit organizations, and college campus Greek Life programs about my platform while continuing to raise funds for MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). Stay tuned within the next couple of months as I release a series of PSAs sharing my experience with spreading the message of my platform! It is with sincere hopes that this conversation will continue to help educate and save lives from driving under the influence.

-Missy Garden Grove