Valerie Alcaraz- 10 Years Later

It took me 10 years to win the honor of competing on the Miss Calfiornia stage for the first time. In my vlog, I answer a question that I am asked every single year: Why do you continue competing despite the same outcome? I recount my first moment with the Miss America Organization and what has kept me optimistic and passionate all these years. This is a very emotional vlog because I explore the woman I've become throughout this journey. From ages 13-23 I've invested my heart and soul into the Miss America Organization and my platform the Girl Scouts of America. To show how much I've grown, I bring out an old photo of myself and Bree Morse (Miss California 2015) in our first year competing and the tiara I won that year in 2007 as first runner up in the outstanding teen program. There's even a cameo from my dog Gizmo! I'm so honored to have this opportunity and I think this video conveys it perfectly.

From Pumpfakes to Pageants- Miss High Desert and the Year Ahead

575569_3755875746167_1306864853_n (1) Hello! My name is Katherine Reaves and I am Miss High Desert 2018. I’m not really social media savvy. I can make a computer work, but I’m still trying to figure out how to shift down on my Instagram page so that I can put my “Miss High Desert 2018” title in my bio. So, when I was faced with the idea of making a blog, I was slightly apprehensive…what do I write? I don’t usually write freely, and anything I have written in the past four years had to be at least nine paragraphs with five reputable sources, none of which could be Wikipedia, and all of which were discussing artifacts and art that have been buried under the earth or in some church for centuries. However, I am going to try and relax, just blog, and leave out the five sources.

When I decided to enter my first pageant two years ago, it was in an effort to sing on as many stages as possible. Also, I was in love with the idea of waltzing around a stage in a sparkly gown, as adoring fans applauded. However, once I was in the midst of the competition, my competitive streak kicked in, finely tuned like a Stradivarius violin due to nineteen years of highly aggressive basketball. So, when I lost, I was extremely distressed. I then continued to enter pageants, but as I continued pageantry my wants changed. Pageants became less focused on the want to win just to win and more focused on the hope to change as many lives as possible while I was in pageantry, even if the lives I touched stopped at those who would be helped by the money I raised for my local pageant.

22279972_10214529468536159_8676987714900691196_nPageantry also inspired me to start my own nonprofit. Sing for the Heart is a program I have put together that will fund grants to give to the local high schools in my area so that they can have their own EKG programs as a part of the student athletes physical. The money will come from benefit concerts where concert goers will be exposed to my own thrilling form of comedic dialogue in between some of my favorite songs. I hope to use this year to not only gain support for my platform and nonprofit, but to also raise money for CMN and for the thousands of women who participate in these pageants to fulfill their educational dreams. 

This year, as Miss High Desert, I am thrilled to embark on a journey that I can’t even begin to imagine. I am a planner by nature, and unabashedly OCD, so the thought of not knowing what’s coming is slightly unsettling. However, with the help of my Desert Beauties team and the rest of the MAO family, I can honestly say that I am ready for the unexpected and content with not knowing. I’m trying to live in each moment… “I never  look back, darlings, it distracts from the now!” (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Edna Mode, The Incredibles, Walt Disney Pictures