Vertical Fitness Changed My Life- Miss Sacramento County

Alora Martin Miss Sacramento CountyIn June of 2016 I was trudging through life day by day. I worked 12 hour days managing a bakery and rarely had energy to do anything outside of work. I had gained weight and was overall unhappy with myself. I tried going to the gym, but after working from 4:30 am to 4:30 pm and fighting through traffic for over an hour to get home, I could rarely muster the will power. When I could barely shimmy my favorite loose-fitting jeans over my hips I realized it was time to do something.

Alora Martin Miss Sacramento CountyA friend told me about Vertical Fitness Studio which offers classes in pole, aerial silks, and lyra (aerial hoop) and said it’s a great workout that is also incredibly fun. In my mind, it was impossible for working out to be fun, but I decided to give it a go nevertheless.

I’ll never forget my first class; it was an introduction to pole class and everyone in the studio immediately felt like family. There were women who had been clients for years and welcomed me with the same warmth as they did their fellow veterans. I had an amazing experience and surprised myself with my own strength. I decided to come back the next day and the next and soon it became a part of my regular routine. After 30 days of classes I felt better than I ever had, had muscle definition in places it had never been, and had a whole new group of friends who encouraged me every step of the way.

Alora Martin Miss Sacramento CountyWhen I decided to compete in the Miss Sacramento County program it felt like the obvious choice for my talent. As you can imagine, when I brought up this idea there were many people who felt that it was not in my best interest due to the stigma of pole performers, but this is what fueled me even further to go for it. What most people don’t know is that in 2017 the Global Association of International Sports Federation granted pole sports “observer” status. This is the first step to becoming an Olympic sport. My goal is to continue to reduce the stigma against performers like myself and open peoples minds and hearts to realize that our passion and our art may look different than others, but it is just as powerful and incredible as any other.

My two year anniversary at Vertical Fitness Studio is quickly approaching and I continue to surprise myself with the things I have been able to accomplish. I am stronger than ever mentally, emotionally and physically. I will forever be grateful for having the courage to walk into the studio that first day, not knowing how much it would positively impact my life. I can’t wait to share my passion for my sport with all of you in June at the Miss California program.

There is No Art Without Joy- Miss San Joaquin County

Michael-ChekhovFamed actor and theatrical craftsman Michael Chekhov believed that the creation of art was intrinsically linked with the inherent beauty of infinite human possibility. I knew from my first exposure to his brilliant acting technique that I had found something meaningful in my journey as an artist. What I did not know, however, was that I had found something life-changing.

The technique, despite being riddled with seemingly indecipherable psychophysical intellectual jargon, is elegantly simple at its core. Drop into any Chekhov-centered acting class, and you will hear two words echo through the rehearsal space: Imagination; Concentration. Chekhov teaches us that to be artists, we must believe that we already are artists. This mindset- that to accomplish, one must view themselves as having already succeeded- has changed my perception of myself as a creative individual, a student, and an ambitious young woman. I go so far as to credit this viewpoint as being the very reason I am able to graciously represent my community as a titleholder today.

Katie-Elson-Miss-San-Joaquin-County-BlogIn his manifesto To the Actor, Chekhov writes that four elements must be at the center of any artistic endeavor. He refers to them as the proverbial “Four Brothers” (a play-on the plays of his famous uncle, Anton Chekhov). They include: a feeling of ease, a feeling of form, a feeling of entirety, and a feeling of beauty. These feelings must be radiated from within, and if one element is lacking, the entire creation (“creation” here meaning anything from a single movement of the human body to an entire symphony orchestra concert) will not succeed. Though they sound initially complicated, they are beautifully practical. Ease allows us to move and radiate lightness, peace, and grace from within. Entirety allows us to remember that whatever our endeavor, we are always working toward a larger goal. Form keeps us focused and concentrating on our next move and. Finally, Beauty (often translated to “joy”), reminds us that with all we do, we must feel a warmth and a happiness in our work. It is the presence of these four elements in all of my work, artistic or otherwise, that has truly helped me gain new insight on my abilities in my art as well as my day-to-day life.

So yes, armed with my yoga mat and well-loved copy of To the Actor, each week I delve into hours of Chekhovian study. I transform my body into a human speaker to produce “sloth-like sounds;” I “move and seethe” through a sharp and angular invisible plane; I take “sacred naps” as I allow myself to relate my five senses to my immediate surroundings; and I even cross an imaginary threshold into a sensory realm that Chekhov calls “the Higher Ego.” These odd terms and goofy-sounding exercises may seem to the outsider merely a reflection of the stereotypical “flighty artist,” but, upon closer look, are all executed with purpose and with meaning. At the very heart of Chekhov, he invites us to radiate. From within the heart and soul of ourselves, we emit light, beauty, joy and the very best of who we are. That concept, whether it be applied to a working actor, a titleholder, a student, or a career professional, makes Chekhov universally beautiful. I end by inviting each and every one of my sister titleholders to practice radiating in all they do, for we are blessed with the ability to shine inside and out. Chekhov believed that we ourselves are art, and, as he famously said, “there is no art without joy.”

Rayna Patel | Miss Yorba Linda

Rayna Patel Miss Yorba Linda Bollywood DanceHello! My name is Rayna Patel and I am Miss Yorba Linda 2018. I am so excited to have the opportunity to serve my hometown this year, and support my community in every way possible. I am currently 17 years old and a second semester senior at Valencia High School. Throughout my four years of high school, a lot has changed in my life but one thing has always stayed constant: my passion for Bollywood Dance. I have been doing Bollywood Dance for 12 years now, and my love for this unique dance style grows more everyday. Bollywood comes from the combination of two things: Bombay and Hollywood. It includes the unique, cultural texture of India’s classical and folk dances with elements of jazz, hip hop, Arabic, and Latin forms. I love Bollywood because while it so cultural, it is also very diverse and includes many other dance forms. No matter one’s ethnicity, gender, or age, everyone can connect through Bollywood Dance! It is a true gift to be able to have something that can Rayna Patel Miss Yorba Lindaincorporate all kinds of people.

Bollywood Dance has always been my escape from reality; I feel like my true personality and passion is shown through each of my performances. Especially in today’s generation, it is so easy for one to lose touch with their roots and background; but Bollywood has been my constant reminder of my culture and religion. Dancing at the largest Bollywood school in the nation brought not only the gift of dance and cultural appreciation- but also many life long skills, such as cooperation, dedication, time-management, compassion, and perseverance. I truly would not be who I am today if it weren’t for Bollywood Dance!

Rayna Patel Miss Yorba LindaAt our dance school, we teach dance. But we wanted to do more than that! So, we launched the NDM Bollywood Outreach Program, a non-profit organization with a mission to inspire, connect and empower our students through community service! NDMBOP works to inspire active volunteerism in both local and global communities. We engage students through our philosophy to “Live, Love, Dance, and Serve” our community needs and to provide our students a voice through more than just their dancing capabilities. I am so grateful to be a part of the Student Body this year and have an active role as Secretary! Some events we’ve done include teaching Bollywood Dance to senior citizens, make sleeping mats for homeless veterans, beach clean-ups, teaching the Hindu culture and dance form to children with special needs, and more! I hold this program so close to my heart because it combines two of my favorite things: Bollywood and Service. I’m ecstatic that we found a way to express Bollywood dance while also giving back to the community.

I am so excited to be able to share my love for Bollywood on the Miss California stage for my Talent! Through my piece, you will see the true beauty the Indian culture embodies, and my modern yet classical take on it. I’m so excited for this once in a lifetime opportunity to compete for the title of Miss California, and I cannot wait to represent my hometown in June! I am honored to be Miss Yorba Linda 2018, and I cannot wait for what’s to come this year, and the plans I will manifest. Follow @missyorbalinda on Instagram to keep up with my journey throughout the year!

Miss Delta Valley- Kayla Schmidig

My name is Kayla Schmidig and I am Miss Delta Valley. I decided to include some fun facts about what makes me who I am and some interesting things that I think you all will enjoy. From Israel, to strawberry festivals, Harry Potter, world peace on the big stage and how to survive New Years Eve in Times Square, these are fun facts and inside the life of what makes me Kayla Schmidig– your quirky girl-next-door.

The Science of Sound- Katie Wayland


An apprehension engine makes some of your favorite sounds in scary movies!

An apprehension engine makes some of your favorite sounds in scary movies!

I’m Katie Wayland, Miss Orange Coast, and I work in Audio Production! My interest for this field began non-traditionally as a child who simply loved scary movies. Sound design is truly an art form, as evidenced by one of my favorite tools: “The Apprehension Machine”, or “The Nightmare Machine”. This was a custom-built instrument by composer Mark Korven for the purposes of creating those haunting noises in all of your favorite scary movies. Instruments like this (homemade machines creating indecipherable noises) are what make this such an accessible craft.


Glory Days at Orange Lutheran

Glory Days at Orange Lutheran

I began fiddling (pun intended) with unique instruments at a young age, including my recorder, accordion, miniature harpsichord, xylophone, vibraphone, marimba and glockenspiel. I would set up microphones facing stereo speakers to amplify and manipulate sound, mostly waging psychological warfare on my parents and siblings with my now worn down “Elvis: The Greatest Hits” CD.

I am currently an audio editor at Wayland Productions, employed by my extremely talented (and patient) brother, Kc Wayland! (It’s not nepotism if you complete the internship program.) Kc got his start in animation, working his way to being a well-respected writer, producer, engineer, and educator. We began working together when I wrote the opening score to his audio drama (We’re Alive: A “Zombie” Story of Survival) at the age of 15 using the most rudimentary of tools to create a haunting vaudeville/post-apocalyptic melody using my out-of-tune piano, and a broken guitar.

Creating in the studio

Creating in the studio

I am so grateful for the scholarships I have earned at the local and state levels of the Miss America Organization, which have funded my entire education; from community college all the way to studying Independent Music Production in the extension program at the University of California, Los Angeles!

With my background in music, and love of technology, this career is a natural fit. It is at the intersection of STEM and the arts, giving me the perfect niche to utilize two skill sets, and create unique sounds every single day.

When Joy Came to Stay

Miss Orange County BlogSeven years ago, I never expected the life altering announcement my parents presented to me and my siblings: they were adding another foster child to our family of seven. Although there is an element of excitement with a new addition, this was not the case when thinking about the extra responsibilities that would be asked of me once this six-week-old arrived in our home. 

Upon picking her up from the Department of Human Services, she did not reflect a child coming out of a middle-class environment; rather, she looked more like a baby from a third world country.  She was swollen, had open sores, was unkempt, and most of all, displayed absolutely no emotion. Although my family tried to welcome her with unconditional love, she cried all day and night, many times to the point that her eyes could no longer produce tears.  My older brother, Jordan, and I didn’t want to be home because the screaming was too much for us to handle. My mom juggled a sixth month old, a two-year-old and a kindergartener all while trying to calm this new baby. Honestly, I am not sure how my parents managed to have my brother and I in traveling sports teams, three young children, and a baby who couldn’t seem to find contentment. 

My sister after we adopted her

My sister after we adopted her

One day, something finally clicked. My mom remembers that it was a Tuesday to a Wednesday. She just stopped crying and her eyes began to light up. The curling screams were replaced with fits of laughter; and where the seemingly burden of life once dominated her eyes, joy now fills her every move. This defining moment forever changed the climate of our home as her newly discovered joy pushed back the dark cloud of uncertainty that once shrouded her heart and ours.   When it came time to legally adopt my little sister, my parents reflected on that transformational day and appropriately gave her the name Kiana “JOY” Reed, for now joy fills her heart where it was once being filled with sorrow.  

Our story reminds me of another often told of a little girl seen throwing starfish back into the sea after they had washed onto the shore due to a large storm. There were thousands of starfish, and each time she walked up to one, she would pick it up and throw it back into the sea. After doing this for some time, an older man came and asked her, “Why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!” Upon hearing this, the little girl stooped down, picked up another starfish and threw it back into the sea saying, “I made a difference to that one.”

Miss Orange County BlogOften we are faced with extremely large problems, such as the more than 400,000 children in America’s foster care system, and focus on the seemingly insurmountable odds that stack against us when it comes to finding a solution.  Because we feel inadequate to being part of the solution, it is easy to abdicate responsibility to others who we feel have the capacity to find an answer to the problem.  We may even question why someone doesn’t do something about it without stopping for a moment to realize that we are “someone” who can absolutely make a difference.  Adopting my little sister may not seem like we made much of a difference when it comes to solving the overwhelming issues within the foster care system, but I am confident that it made a profound difference in the future of a child who may not have been born into our family, but was born for our family and discovered eternal joy as a result. 


Kyla Reed

Miss Orange County


The Ten Minutes that Changed My Life: From California to The White House

Jane Kennedy Miss Yosemite Valley

Soaking it in in front of the West Wing

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being the next Kennedy in The White House.

As a child, I looked up to my mom and grandmother, who modeled charity and compassion through their commitment to serving others. Service quickly became ingrained in my life. Saturday mornings meant serving breakfast at Loaves and Fishes, summer afternoons were spent tutoring with Super Stars Literacy in Oakland, and August meant stuffing backpacks for Foster a Dream. Nothing gave me more joy than using my own two hands to serve others in my community. I was constantly seeking out bigger and better ways to make a greater impact.

When the President comments that he loves the glitter...

When the President comments that he loves the glitter…

In eighth grade, our class began to learn about the federal government and how leaders in Washington, DC had the ability to appropriate funding and direct efforts to support their constituencies. It was then that I became determined to work in The White House, where serving others could be a full-time job.

Through high school and college, I chased opportunities to lead, grow, and serve. During my junior year at UC Santa Barbara, I decided to apply for the UCDC program, which allows University of California students to live and work in Washington, DC while receiving units and taking classes at night. I remember going in to meet with the program advisor and listing the internships I was applying for. When I brought up The White House Internship Program, he laughed.

I shared the dream that I’d had for over ten years, and the response was laughter. The advisor told me that my chances were “slim” and that I should “explore other options.” Leaving the office, I refused to feel defeated – instead, I shook off his doubt. I resolutely decided that I would rather try and fail than not apply at all.

Two months later, I received a call from a blocked number while walking home from class. The voice on the other end of the phone said that it was “Jessica, calling from The White House.” I just about fell over.

Jane Kennedy Miss Yosemite Valley

Surprise! I got to welcome Jessa and the Miss America class of 2017 to the White House!

With little time to think, I pulled it together and ran off the busy walkway into a grove of trees. Jessica asked if I had ten minutes to interview, and I exuberantly responded “Of course!” For the next ten minutes, I interviewed like my life depended on it. I told Jessica about my leadership on campus, my passion for working with young women, and my involvement with the Miss California Organization. After just 10 minutes and seven seconds, we ended the call. I stood in that wooded area off the path for a few moments, thinking that those ten minutes may have been the best ten minutes of my life. I had interviewed for The White House! Little did I know, it was only the beginning.

Three months later, I walked up the steps of The White House for the first day of my internship. I spent those months working harder than I ever knew possible, leading speaker series events with senior staff, writing memos, organizing community service events, mentoring high school students, and so much more. A highlight was getting to present President Obama with a birthday card on behalf of my intern class!

Jane Kennedy Miss Yosemite Valley

One of the best days, South by South Lawn

After my internship, I was extended the opportunity to stay through the fall as an Associate. Those next four months afforded me the chance to work with the Presidential speechwriting team, assisting with five speeches for the President and First Lady. I also worked on major events, including Halloween, the Italian State Arrival, and South by South Lawn. After eight months, I came home to California a changed woman – still determined to live a life of service, but far more empowered and confident in my ability to do so.

The detail that my interview for The White House was ten minutes is not lost on me. I had just completed my year as Miss Ventura County 2015, and had spent countless hours training to rock a ten-minute interview. Without this experience, there’s no way to know if I could have closed the deal and secured my dream job. The Miss America Organization has given me the tools to succeed and the strength to believe that I am capable of anything I can imagine. This program empowers us to step out of our comfort zones, to embrace challenges, and to do it all for the sake of service.

Each of us is called to serve, and I’m endlessly grateful for the opportunities afforded to me through the Miss California Organization. As Miss Yosemite Valley this year, I am determined to make every moment count and to use this platform to encourage others to do the same.

Thank you for reading – go out and chase those “crazy” dreams because you never know what might happen!

Jane Kennedy
Miss Yosemite Valley 2018

Play Ball- Miss Sierra Nevada

Hey ya’ll! My name is Blaire Bostwick and I am so excited to be your Miss Sierra Nevada 2018. I was born and raised in the Central Valley and love my community more than anything. So much so that my community inspired my platform, “A Heart for Service” in which I hope to inspire volunteerism in communities throughout California. I have been blessed enough to complete over 175 community service projects since starting my platform but one ongoing project sticks out above the rest.

Image_3I heard about my local Miracle League Association in Visalia three years ago and had no idea what it was all about. I volunteered on a whim and I am beyond thankful that I did. Due to a shortage of coaches my first year, I was asked to be a coach and I couldn’t say yes fast enough. I have been a coach ever since and it has been an incredible journey.

Miss Sierra Nevada Blaire Bostwick Miracle LeagueFor those who don’t know about The Miracle League, it is a baseball association for children and adults with mental and physical disabilities. These amazing individuals don’t always have the same opportunities to be involved with their local sports teams, so Miracle League makes sure that they don’t only feel included, but that they feel celebrated. Miracle League provides an environment where players get to try every position, hit home runs, and have fun with their peers all while playing on a special rubberized turf field that allows for wheelchairs and walkers to move around with ease. We use a buddy system within Miracle League, where every player has a buddy that helps them play the game and they build relationships with the players, allowing them to feel supported. This association makes sure they have the physical and mental support necessary to have a ball while enjoying America’s favorite pastime!

Miss Sierra Nevada Blaire Bostwick Miracle LeagueThrough Miracle League I have been able to meet some of the most incredible kids ever. All of my players have the biggest hearts in the world and they enjoy the game on a level I have never seen before. They have learned and entirely understand the value of teamwork. One of my favorite moments of every game is when my team is up to bat and they stand on the third base line to high-five their teammate rounding third and headed to Home! As if that doesn’t put the biggest smile on their faces and mine, most games they line themselves up around the field to high-five and cheer on the teammates of the other team! Even my kiddos who can’t communicate verbally, show through their actions how much they enjoy the game and love their teammates!

Through my volunteerism with The Miracle League, I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer with various organizations who serve children and adults with disabilities. My passion for these kids and adults have inspired me to start my own dance program for students with special needs, volunteer in special education classrooms, and be an annual volunteer for The Special Olympics. These experiences have fueled my education as well as I completed my Undergraduate Thesis on the subject of special needs in the work force, and am now in a School Counselor Graduate program in which I hope to be an advocate for students with special needs in the educational system. Who knew that volunteering on whim would transform my life!

Image (1)Special needs advocacy is such an important issue, and I’m thankful to be a voice for all the kids and adults who have changed my life through these Organizations. Children and adults with mental and physical disabilities should feel as much a part of society as everyone else, and I am so blessed for organizations such as Miracle League who work hard everyday to make that happen.

YOU can get involved too! Go online to to find your closest Miracle League or find your local Special Olympics event and sign up to volunteer. And remember, we need to be the change we with to see in the world!

Jacqueline Wibowo Miss San Jose

Photo Courtesy of Larry Sacks

In the last 3 weeks since I became Miss San Jose, there’s a couple questions and comments I’ve gotten over and over again. They sound something like this:

  • But it’s your senior year, don’t you want to relax?
  • Oh, so that’s the thing where you walk around in a bikini right?
  • I like the crown. Your instagram pictures are so cute!

When people think of the Miss America program, they tend to remember only the surface level things they see on TV. To be honest, just a couple months ago, I may have asked the same questions of another titleholder.

I’ve been privileged to know quite a few titleholders throughout my life, some who started in the Outstanding Teen Program and some who have been on the Miss America stage. I always saw the beautiful social media posts – sleeping with the crown the night after you win a title, having hair and makeup done by a glamorous sponsor, getting to cut ribbons here and there for a community event. But, if that were all there was to it, I would also find myself asking the infamous question – How is Miss America still relevant in today’s society?

I have found that in just less than three weeks, my role as a titleholder has helped me truly reevaluate my values and align my goals with them. I believe that preparing for every single competition stage of Miss California is not about chasing a crown – it is about reflecting on what the best version of yourself looks like, and then setting goals over the next few months to become that you.


Many people don’t know that an interview is a part of the scoring, because it happens before the onstage part of the show. Each contestant interviews with a panel of 5 judges. Here’s a sample of questions I got in my interview:
Why did you decide to compete?
Your platform is SheEO’s – Women in Leadership, what would you say to the argument that women are just not as suited to leadership roles because of certain biological factors?
What do you think about all the recent news stories regarding sexual assault?
What should the US do about the Opioid Crisis?
What have you done in your community for your platform already?

As you can see, the questions really span the gamut – from why you would be the best titleholder, platform-related questions, to random current events questions.

I love that this is a huge chunk of our score, because every young adult will have to interview for something – whether for jobs or college. Having worked on Wall Street for the last 2 summers, I’ve personally been through my share of what some people would consider the most rigorous and selective interview processes for fresh graduates. But, I will be the first to tell you that despite having interviewed with some of the top executives in finance and Silicon Valley, I find Miss America interviews much more intimidating. I think it’s much easier to memorize technical terms and practice walking someone through your resume or answering how you would work in a team. Professional job interviews tend to be predictable.

In a pageant interview, your judges are looking to find someone who a community can both relate to and look up to, and ultimately the best ambassador for the program. This is why it is so important for a contestant to be up to date with current events, to have opinions but convey them respectfully, and at the same time be someone that could be best friends with an 8 year old girl. Preparing for these interviews requires me to think very carefully about my personal qualities and how I best want to market them. I truly think that this is a skill that many job interviews do not teach you.


Talent is my chance to share something I love with a full house. Contestants are judged on technical ability and performance, among other qualities. I’ve definitely heard people ask why Talent is a part of the scoring, stating that you don’t need an onstage talent to be a good representative.

However, I think it is so important for every individual to have something that they do just because they love it, unrelated to academics or their career. I absolutely love classical music – I’ve found that playing piano makes me happier, relieves stress, and increases my focus throughout my day. Unfortunately, when I got busy in college, it was one of the first activities I cut out of my life. My freshman year, I was lucky enough to be a part of an a cappella group, but I eventually gave that up when classes ramped up my sophomore year.

Thanks to my involvement in the Miss America organization, I’ve rediscovered my love for playing the piano, and am also motivated to schedule it into my calendar just as I would a class.

Lifestyle and Fitness

At the mention of the swimsuit category, many people in the audience – and even contestants – might squirm a bit. It’s the category that motivates comments that the program is misogynistic and objectifies women. We could spend a ton of time debating these points, but today I’d like to focus on the positive impact this category has had on my life.

Like playing the piano, health and fitness often suffers at the expense of other activities in my daily college life. There was a point in time where I wasn’t getting enough sleep and would eat mozzarella sticks at Stanford’s late night dining at least three times a week. To counterbalance this, I would sometimes skip meals. I naturally have a more petite physique, so on the outside, most people would still say I looked healthy. However, I found myself unable to focus in class and more stressed than ever.

The Lifestyle and Fitness category has given me steady motivation to work toward until June. Because I am representing a community, I want to look healthy and confident at Miss California, and to do that, I will make time for workouts every week, regardless of how busy I am. Whether or not I have a six pack by that time, I want to be proud of my progress and look confident and healthy, not sleep deprived or malnourished.

And let me tell you, from just being more cognizant of what I’m eating and fitting in a few workouts a week, I feel so much better and refreshed already.

Onstage Question

Jacqueline Wibowo Miss San Jose Onstage Question

Photo Courtesy of Larry Sacks

In this stage, contestants are given a random question that they do not know in advance, and have about 30 seconds to answer it in front of the judges and the audience. I think that a lot of people don’t know that we really have no idea what we will be asked, and do not have answers prepared in advance.

I’m not alone in thinking that this is the scariest part of the competition. After all, think about all the YouTube videos referencing “Maps” that go viral for all the wrong reasons. If you’ve seen these types of videos, I urge you to try to understand the pressure contestants are under before you make any judgments.

I think this stage prepares you very well for unpredictable situations you might face as a titleholder. Whether it’s a 4 year old or a news reporter that comes up to you, you never really know what someone might ask you. It’s great practice to know how to react calmly and give an articulate opinion on any subject under the sun.

As a senior soon to graduate, I’ve thought more and more about what the future might hold, but I’m thankful that I have some practice dealing with uncertainty.

Evening Gown

This is a contestant’s chance to feel the most beautiful she has ever felt in her life – walking down the stage in an evening gown of her choice. It’s not the dress however, that gets judged – it’s the overall impression of the girl wearing it. As a college student in the Bay Area, I often don’t dedicate enough time to self care. After all, Stanford is known for its chill culture – chill meaning rolling out of bed at 9:20 am for a 9:30 am class, sometimes in the same clothes you wore to sleep. Fun as this is, as a Christian, I truly believe that the bodies God created us with are meant to be honored and respected, to reflect our inner beauty.

Jacqueline Wibowo Crowned Miss San Jose

Photo Courtesy of Larry Sacks

Whenever you meet someone new in any setting, the first judgment they will make about you will be based on how you look. As objective as we try to be, we are all only human, and our first impressions will inevitably be affected by the first things our eyes see. People see you before you even open your mouth to speak.

I don’t mean to say that appearance is everything, or that it is more important than your internal qualities – but I do think it’s worth taking some extra time to dress and groom for an occasion – whether it is an interview or a cocktail party. Your personal style is a reflection of your personality, and I have found that taking some extra time to get ready in the morning gives me more confidence to take on the day. So, I do think it’s important for every woman to take some time to think about how she wants to create her first impression – whether that is by how she dresses or how she carries herself.

There you have it – the 5 stages of competition and why they’ve motivated me to give everything I have to improving myself in the next few months. Not to mention, I won about $2,000 at my local competition in scholarships and am guaranteed more scholarships by competing in Miss California. I am so excited for the rest of my year.

If you aren’t already, follow my journey on instagram @misssanjose_ca and my Facebook page – Miss San Jose Jacqueline Wibowo.

Amia Nash- Miss Silicon Valley

Hi! My name is Amia Nash and I am your Miss Silicon Valley 2018. I’m excited to share with you about my platform of stopping the stigma and mental health advocacy! My passion for mental health advocacy began with my personal experience, and it is something I have dedicated my academic work to. I am a graduate of Stanford University School of Medicine where I studied Community Health and Preventive Medicine. In this vlog, I share with you a little bit about the research I did with Stanford Center for Youth Mental Wellness focused on adolescent mental health, as well as, the research I am currently doing as a Health Science Specialist with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Check out the Miss Silicon Valley Instagram or Facebook page to learn about Stanford Medicine and Lucile Packard’s Children Hospital’s Adolescent Mental Wellness Conference this April, where I will be a guest speaker and leading the community’s conversation on overcoming cultural barriers to access.