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Catching up with Crystal Lee, Miss California 2013

Crystal Lee, Miss California 2013Crystal Lee served the Golden State as Miss California 2013, placing first runner up and taking home over $45,000 in scholarship money. A double graduate of Stanford University, she has a bachelor’s degree in Human Biology and a master’s degree in Media Studies. After her year as Miss California, she went on to found the startup Lifesite.co, and is now busy hosting This is SF, a weekly lifestyle show that features the bay area’s best restaurants, events, and more! We caught up with Crystal to learn more about what she’s up to now.

You’ve recently joined This is SF as a host- what’s one thing that surprised you about your new role?

One thing that surprised me is that in the world of professional video production, clean sound quality is the most important thing. In the city, it’s not rare for us to be recording and needing to pause when a garbage truck begins to back up or an airplane flies overhead. Those beeps will ruin the voice recording because there’s no way to edit out interruptions.

Also, the entrepreneurs, hustlers, and passion-driven leaders who make this show inspire and surprise me every day. There are some amazing stories out there. I profiled some Kurdish, Ethiopian, and Guatemalan immigrants who all embody the American Dream in their unique way. Their place in the show represents the culmination of years of hard work and resilience, and I’m overjoyed to be able to share that moment with them.

Crystal Lee This is SFTell us a little bit about the show!

The show is a lifestyle series that profiles the best experiences that the San Francisco Bay Area has to offer. It’s a similar format to a Food Network travel show with a host trying out activities, eating food, and engaging with the business owner. The hosting style is informal, lighthearted, and enthusiastic. Unlike Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives which focuses only on food, This is SF also showcases categories like pets, fitness, health and wellness, sports, and even wedding and wine country!

How did your year as Miss California prepare you to host a lifestyle TV show?

Crystal Lee Miss California 2013My years of competing helped me develop a voice and personality that I’m comfortable unleashing on camera. MAO interview preparation taught me to be unabashedly myself. To host this type of show, a majority of which is unscripted, I need to channel the most authentic version of myself. The best segments I’ve done were when I forgot the camera was even there.

This show has given me the chance to meet many people from all walks of life and backgrounds. It’s my responsibility to help them relax and feel comfortable speaking on camera. I often only have a few minutes to establish a quick rapport before the camera starts to roll. In those moments I try to show the business owner that I’ve done my research on their brand and crack a joke or two to share a laugh. The best way to combat their nerves is by sending out lots of positive and reassuring energy.

Crystal Lee This is SFMiss California, Googler, tech entrepreneur, lifestyle show host; you’ve had some vastly different roles in the past five years. Do you find that people try to put you in a “box” and label you as one thing, and if so, how do you address that?

I believe people who  “put me in a box” are just trying their best to comprehend who I am in the context of their existing mental models. Since my career arc isn’t particularly common, I don’t expect anyone to grasp it all. I don’t get offended when people label me because their drawing from their own personal experiences to understand what I do. Oftentimes the labels come out when they want a certain side of me to lead a collaboration. For instance, “tech” Crystal will be asked to judge a pitch day competition, while “pageant” Crystal will be asked to do media projects.

Crystal Lee This is SFAny exciting plans for the rest of 2018?

I applied for an arts grant to make a short film examining the intersection of immigration and food in San Francisco Chinatown. Since Circle 8 Productions gave me the opportunity to host This is SF, I’ve been wanting to explore the producing side and I’m going to start right here in my backyard with the oldest, largest, and most storied Chinatown in North America.

As a Chinese-American, I’ve personally grown up between two cultures so I’ve always been intrigued by places that sit in the middle, embodying the merging of unique, distinct identities. Following this theme, I’ve decided this summer to visit San Sebastian, Spain. It’s in Basque country between Spain and France. I’m already thrilled for what I might discover there.

The Miss California class of ‘18 has just been completed; any advice for the girls vying for the title?

  1. At least twice, run through every area of competition in its entirety, full-out. If you can’t get access to a stage, rent out a dance studio with a mirror. It’s really important to do it full-out, 100%. Have all wardrobe, shoes, smiling, hair done, your tan, and stage makeup done. Do your talent as if it was the real thing. As a bonus, film yourself and watch it so you can see what the judges see. You’d be surprised how many contestants don’t do this. They just don’t think about it.
  1. Get used to speaking extemporaneously in public. If you’re not comfortable yet, make it your mission to find ways to practice. There are plenty of options. You can speak at church, go to Toastmasters, stand up and talk during family dinners, raise your hand in class, make a presentation at a nursing home, teach or lead a workshop, attend a school’s Read-Aloud Day, take a public speaking class… the list goes on. Go out and do all of it!

More advice will be assembled in a standalone resource later this Spring at www.crystalclues.com

Western New Mexico University Welcomed as Sponsor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  Contact: Jessa Carmack

April 19 , 2018 jessacarmack@misscalifornia.org

 

WESTERN NEW MEXICO UNIVERSITY TO PROVIDE IN-KIND TUITION SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES TO MISS CALIFORNIA ORGANIZATION

(FRESNO, CA) Western New Mexico University, a public university located in Silver City, New Mexico, will be joining the team of scholarship donors for the Miss California Organization.

The University will offer Miss California 2018 and the Top 5 of the competition, full tuition and on-campus housing, renewable over four years. Miss California’s Outstanding Teen and the Top 5 teen contestants will also receive full tuition and on-campus housing, renewable over four years.

The contestants must meet admissions requirements and apply within one year of graduating High School or completing their Bachelors program.

“We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of Western New Mexico University. The opportunity to have a higher education is one of the main pillars of our organization and it is universities like WNMU that make that happen for our contestants.,” Audrey Valles, VP of Development, Miss California Organization.

The 2018 Miss California & Miss California’s Outstanding Teen state finals preliminary competition will take place at the Saroyan Theatre in Downtown Fresno, June 27-29, 2018. Miss California’s Outstanding Teen 2018 will be crowned on Friday, June 29th. Miss California 2018 will be crowned on Saturday, June 30th.

About the Miss California Organization:

The Miss California Scholarship Organization is a volunteer based 501c(3) non-profit organization which was founded in 1924. As the Official State Final to Miss America, the Miss California Organization has awarded more than $6 million in cash and academic scholarships Miss California Organization | since the competition made its home in Fresno in 1990. Nurturing an ideal of beauty that includes dignity, courage, intelligence, creative talent and kindness, the successful contestants demonstrate a genuine commitment to serving others. Every year the Miss California’s Outstanding Teen and Miss California contestants make significant contributions to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals by raising funds and spreading awareness throughout the state. To learn more, visit misscalifornia.org.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MissCAOrg

Instagram/Twitter: @MissCAOrg

About Western New Mexico University:

For 125 years, Western New Mexico University has served the people in its region as a comprehensive, rural, public body. As a Hispanic-Serving Institution and the state’s only public Applied Liberal Arts and Sciences University, WNMU is committed to developing cross-cultural opportunities that encourage people to explore new experiences. WNMU’s student body represents every segment of southwest New Mexico’s diverse population. Learn more about Western New Mexico University at wnmu.edu

Tiny But Mighty- Miss Bay Area

Ashley Nelson Miss Bay AreaGrowing up I have always been looked down upon… literally. My short stature has always made me feel in some way inadequate. For example, in certain buildings, the mirrors are placed too high and all I can see is the top of my head. Also, some eye holes in doors are too high for me to look through.

In addition, when people first meet me they say you’re so “cute”, because you’re so “tiny”. When I was younger I took these comments graciously, but as I became older, I wanted to be noticed for more than just my height when people first met me. I wanted to be noticed and remembered for my confidence and how personable I was, rather than just my small stature.

Ashley Nelson Miss Placentia's Outstanding TeenEntering the Miss America Organization gave me the opportunity to do so. I was a fairly new teenager coming into this program and it was around the time I truly wanted to find out who I was as a person. After holding my first title as Miss Placentia’s Outstanding Teen 2015, I gained so many qualities that boosted my confidence and pushed me to be a better representative of not only myself, but of something greater than myself. I learned that I am not just what is on the outside, but I am so much more than that. I am a strong, independent woman who has her own opinion and can stand in a room and exude an inviting essence.

Ashley Nelson MIss Bay Area 2018I’m so grateful for the Miss America Program for giving me the opportunity to find out who I am while representing the cities I love. Winning the titles of Miss Placentia’s Outstanding Teen 2015 and now, Miss Bay Area 2018 proved not only to myself of my capabilities, but also how unique this organization is. It is purely about who the women are on the inside, and shows it is not in search for a cookie cutter type. It promotes diversity and individuality, and I am honored to be part of this organization. I hope to grow even more as a woman this year as Miss Bay Area 2018 and I cannot wait for the experiences I will gain.

I know now, that I am not just a five foot girl who only sees the top of her head in mirrors, but I am a confident and successful woman, and I owe that all to the Miss America Program.  

Miss California Competition Schedule

The 2016 Miss California Competition Schedule is Here!

The Miss California Organization is excited to announce the 2016 Miss California Pageant schedule. Held entirely at Fresno's William Saroyan Theatre, the preliminary competitions will be held Tuesday, June 28, Wednesday, June 29, and Thursday, June 30. Each preliminary competition will begin at 7:00 PM PST.Web

Miss California Competition Line Up

The 49 Miss California Contestants have been split in to three competition groups- Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. Each night, each group will compete in a different area of preliminary competition. The Alpha contestants will have their personal interview with the judges Sunday afternoon, June 26. After interview, their next segment of competition will be Swimsuit and Evening Wear on Tuesday night, On Stage Question on Wednesday night, and finally, finish with Talent on Thursday night.

The Beta Group starts their competition schedule with Interview Monday morning. Tuesday night, Beta takes the stage in Talent, continuing with the Swimsuit and Evening Wear competitions on Wednesday night, and finishing with On Stage Question Thursday night.

The Gamma Group is the last group to complete the interview competition, scheduled for Tuesday morning, June 28. That evening, they'll compete in On Stage Question, followed by talent on Wednesday night, and finally, Swimsuit and Evening gown on Thursday night.

Learn more about the 2016 Miss California Pageant

Learn more about the 2016 Miss California competition by heading to the official Facebook Event and RSVPing, and stay tuned for more information as it develops here and across the other MCO media channels!

Book Miss California Bree Morse

To Whom It May Concern,

Bree Morse Photo Courtesy of Derek Van Oss

Bree Morse
Photo Courtesy of Derek Van Oss

Miss California has been a prominent symbol of our state’s pop-culture for more than 90 years, and is a representation of contemporary, scholastically-driven, well-informed young women everywhere. She is a national spokesperson and advocate who travels the country addressing diverse audiences, increasing awareness and promoting her chosen platform as well as the Children’s Miracle Network. She is an active part of the California community, with an aptitude to engage with various organizations and causes. Her interests afford her the opportunity to attend, host, and present at events throughout the state.

Booking Miss California for your event

Booking Miss California puts a spotlight on your event, gaining media exposure and public relations benefits for your organization as well as an affiliation with an iconic American brand which is rich in history and social significance. The Miss America Organization is a not-for-profit organization that has maintained a tradition of empowering American women to achieve their personal and professional goals, while providing a forum in which to express their opinions, talent and intelligence.

The Miss California Organization makes every effort to accommodate your request. Appearances are determined by Miss California's schedule, appearance fees and the nature of the event.

This year’s Miss California

The 91st Miss California is Bree Morse, a 23-year-old Orange County, California native. Morse is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach with her bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing, and has developed experience in business communications, public relations, and social media management. In the months since her crowning in June of 2015, she has embarked on a number of appearances representing both the Miss California Organization, and the respective appearance organizations with graceful professionalism. In September she competed for the title of Miss America, and although she did not come home with the crown, was a beautiful representative of our state.

Throughout the duration of her year she will continue to be an advocate for her platform, “Alopecia Areata Advocacy,” Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and an ambassador for a number of the organization’s sponsors. As a result of her own experience with alopecia areata, she speaks on behalf of those living with silent diseases, and others struggling to accept their physical differences. Morse is a certified substitute teacher in Southern California and sees the immense value of Miss California’s scholastic emphasis. With the scholarship she has earned, she will return to school after her year of service to obtain a single-subject credential in English. Learn more about Bree at MissCalifornia.org/BreeMorse.

If you are interested in booking Miss California for an event, please fill out our form on MissCalifornia.org/booking, or contact Chelle Hyde, Business/Tour Manager at hydeho2@aol.com, for more details.

Sincerely,

The Miss California Organization

Official State Final for Miss America

info@misscalifornia.org

Click here to download this information as a PDF and share with your favorite group or organization!

Miss Hollywood: It’s Not Just Bad Luck

friday the 13th photoHappy Friday the 13th everyone! I’m Joell Posey Grager, Miss Hollywood 2015. I’m not certain how my fascination with luck began, but I am a believer. Ever since I was young, my family owned Stefan Bechtel and Laurence Roy Stains’ The Good Luck Book. Simple quotes and stories of superstitious origins always intrigued me and since my entire family enjoys watching and playing sports, we held tight to our good luck charms.

Friday the 13th is a trepidatious day for a tremendous number of Americans. The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute reports, between 17 and 21 million Americans are afraid of Friday the 13th and many of them won’t leave the house. Each year is graced with at least one Friday the 13th, while 2015 is unique with a total of three. This is a real endurance test for those suffering from paraskevidekatriaphobia, the scientific classification for a fear of Friday the 13th. Although, an abundance of individuals are frightened by this supposedly unlucky day, the beginning of its reign of terror cannot be pinpointed.

Origins

A variety of origins surround the spooking date of Friday the 13th. Some believe it stems from the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday and the 13 individuals present (12 apostles and Jesus) at the Last Supper. Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, published in the 14th century, declares Friday as unfortunate and a day of ill luck. Both the number 13 and Friday were not discussed as unlucky together until the 19th century. In Henry Sutherland Edwards’ 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini speaks of the unlucky day and number in conjunction with his death. Then in 1907, Thomas W. Lawson’s novel Friday, the Thirteenth may have created widespread concerns of the superstition. Similarly Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code debates the urban legend of the superstition with Friday, October 13th, 1307 when hundreds of the Knights Templar were arrested. No matter where it all began, people around the world avoid bad luck and superstitious items.

Avoiding Bad Luck

Dozens of objects and actions are considered bad luck, so on this unlucky day try to avoid black cats crossing your path and owls. Broken mirrors are haunting because it was believed a mirror was a look into your soul and if it was broken, the soul was astray from your body. Likewise, one should never kill a sparrow as ancient times believed they carried souls. Darker tales surround the superstition of walking under ladders. Before gallows, prisoners were hung from the top of a ladder and their evil ghosts linger in the triangle under. If you spill the salt shaker better through some over your left shoulder, just look before you throw so you don’t wind up with a Dumb and Dumber moment. Although umbrellas are a rare sight in Southern California, still be mindful of not opening them indoors, not only because it’s bad luck, but also because most won’t easily make it through the doorway. Last, never place new shoes on a table, instead slip them on and go out!

Good Luck Charms

Now for some lucky charms! Keep a horseshoe for good luck, but it must be displayed with the open end upwards to prevent luck from falling out. As Saint Patrick’s Day approaches the little green four-leaf clover, or shamrock, is all around. These small tokens are thought to protect people from evil spirits. The unusual charm of a rabbit’s foot wards off bad luck, especially if it is kept in your left pocket. Crossing your fingers isn’t simply for everyday luck. In American and European folklore, people would cross their fingers when they crossed graveyards. Children still cross their fingers to “X” out the lie they’re telling. One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is to take the wishbone with a loved one and each of us makes a wish. Whoever breaks off the larger end will have their wish come true! I continuously say, “knock on wood,” because I do worry about saying things that may jinx my favorite sports teams.

Hollywood and Theater

Wishing an actor a “good run” or “good luck” is a jinx, (so knock on that wood) instead wish them a “great opening” or to “break a leg.” Supposedly an actor can use a lucky colleague’s soap in hopes of it rubbing off on them. Two of my father and my favorite actors kept good luck tokens throughout their careers. John Wayne continued to use the six-gun from his first western he filmed and Jimmy Stewart wore the same hat throughout his career.

A few bad luck signs to avoid onstage are black cats, opening an umbrella, or dropping a comb. Randomly, if someone is knitting on or near the stage it is considered bad luck. Notoriously, Macbeth, known as the Scottish Play during rehearsal and production, is considered cursed. Several urban legends surround Macbeth including stories that the first actor playing Macbeth died during production, the actor playing Lady Macbeth died during the show and real witches cursed the play. If someone speaks the name prior to the performance they must leave the building spin three times, spit, curse and knock on the entrance to be allowed back in. Not all theater superstitions end in disaster. A terrible dress rehearsal indicates a great opening night!

Whether you’re superstitious or not, I wish you the best of luck today! And here are a few time-honored ways to improve your luck:

 

  1. Catch a falling leaf and keep it.
  2. Put a penny from your birth year in your penny loafers.
  3. Look at the new moon while holding silver coins in your hand.
  4. Catch the bubbles atop your coffee or tea with a spoon and drink them before they break.
  5. Tie a string in a circle and keep it in your purse.
  6. Sit with your legs crossed.
  7. Hide a lucky bean and don’t let anyone know where it is.
  8. Sprinkle a little nutmeg on your lottery tickets.
  9. Give a poor person a pair of new shoes.
  10. Before sleep, place your shoes with the toes pointing under the bed.

 

References

Cooking with Miss Contra Costa County: Cherry Pistachio Bark

VDayBark

 

Hi again! My name is Angela Laird and I’m Miss Contra Costa County 2015. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I was searching for a way to fuse two of my foods I LOVE, chocolate and pistachios, into one dish. The Miss California Organization is lucky enough to be sponsored by American Pistachio Growers, which in my mind says, “unlimited pistachios”! How lucky are we?! While I won’t be sharing this with my hunny (it’s all for me!), it doesn’t mean YOU don’t have to! You’ll definitely capture the heart of your sweetie with this chocolate bark recipe. The sweetness of the chocolate mixed in with the saltiness of the pistachios and the sweet tang of the cherries is divine! Enjoy!

Cherry Pistachio Bark

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups dried cherries

2 tablespoons water

2 11 oz. packages of white chocolate chips

12 oz. of vanilla flavored candy coating

1 11 oz. package of dark chocolate chips

1-1 ¼ cups chopped pistachio nuts

Directions:

  1. In a small glass bowl, microwave cherries with water on high for 1-2 minutes, drain if necessary, and set aside.
  1. In a separate microwave-safe bowl, microwave the dark chocolate chips until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Line a 10×15” pan with wax paper and pour the melted dark chocolate into the pan. Sprinkle half of the cherries and pistachios onto the melted chocolate. Let this layer harden before continuing.
  1. In another microwave-safe bowl, microwave the white chocolate chips and candy coating together the same way you did the dark chocolate chips. You can either stir the cherries into the white chocolate to give a pink tint and pour onto the dark chocolate mixture, or sprinkle the remaining cherries and pistachios onto the white chocolate mixture separately. Chill for one hour, or until firm.
  1. Cut into 1” squares or just break apart. Store unused portion in an air-tight container. Enjoy!

The Pygmalion Effect

The Pygmalion Effect
The phenomenon whereby the greater the expectation placed upon an individual, the better they perform.

Page 0    Children are gifted with an incredible innocence and a clandestine view of the world but, somehow, as these children grown older these gifts are lost. Filled with love, hope, desire, and a limitless capacity to dream, children take in life experience like sponges and begin to build the lens in which they view the world one moment at a time. Sometimes we don’t always remember that it is us who shape this lens and the world in which children view it, and it is not a responsibility to be taken lightly.

As a child, my mom and I lived in a small apartment in a seedy part of town. We were very low income and, during that time, my mother worked three jobs just to afford to live there. She sacrificed everything for my education and, as a toddler, my mom gave me only educational games – toy stethoscopes, doctor’s kits and even purchased my first microscope when I was seven. She enrolled me in piano, clarinet and violin lessons, I studied graphic design and computer programming at age eight and swam competitively everyday, hoping that my developed talent might one day earn me a spot at Stanford. Everyday, my mom told me that ‘education would be the key to my freedom’ and I have lived by those words ever since.

I never believed I was any different from my classmates. I only knew that while they were complaining about eating vegetables for dinner, my mom and I went to McDonalds for 10-cent hamburgers that we froze to eat throughout the week. But, when I was in elementary school, I became the lucky victim of a social experiment that utilized the power of positive thinking in what is now termed as The Rosenthal or Pygmalion Effect. In this afterschool program, teachers pooled a selection of both advantaged and disadvantaged students and told us that we were ‘gifted’. We had the opportunity to skip class to go on special fieldtrips and take special classes that allowed us to push our limits of thinking beyond the classroom. Looking back, I don’t believe there was one child in our group that did not graduate high school and continue towards a life of success, and I know now that this was because we were told that we could.

Page 0(1)Another definition of the Pygmalion Effect states that it is a type of self-fulfilling prophecy where, if you think something will happen, you may unconsciously make it happen through your actions or inaction. Let me be the first to tell you that this effect is 100% tangible and true. Believing that you CAN accomplish something will open more doors than you could ever think possible. Somehow, a little girl who grew up in a studio apartment in a bad part of town became a published author, a UC Davis graduate, a pianist, a world traveler and the director of the Children’s Miracle Network Second Life Organization throughout Northern California – all because someone believed in me.

Looking back, I know that I was a truly blessed child as I was given every opportunity to succeed. But, on top of that, I was surrounded by people who believed that I could succeed. Unfortunately, not every child is so lucky. The adult world places stigmas on different social groups, limiting their dreams and desires to activities society deems fit. Whether it be age, culture or gender, children often find themselves categorized and their futures determined before they’ve ever had the opportunity to choose. As a woman in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields, it seems like finding my place in the workforce is a constant battle against social stigma. Though society has come a long way in 50 years, remnants of this still remain as we often find ourselves fighting to prove our worth in fields where we are still the minority.

Here in lies the reason I find the Miss America Organization to be so incredible. Not only to we support STEM initiatives, something that is truly near and dear to my heart, but we also encourage women to pursue their childhood dreams and provide the platform to make this possible. As competitors in this organization, we are celebrated and encouraged to follow our hearts as doctors, astronauts, art teachers, computer scientists, politicians, mothers and home keepers. A title gives us the motivation to become the best version of ourselves that we could possibly be and to continue spreading this message by tirelessly serving our communities. From the moment we are crowned, we somehow become a beacon of light and a person of influence to children throughout the country. We are given the incredible power to change and shape the lens in which these children view the world and it is up to us to give them the power to accomplish the great things they dream of for themselves – through the power of positive thinking.

Ashley Ott
Miss City of Sacramento 2015