Miss California Orientation

22 Apr

In the early hours of Saturday morning in Fresno, all 44 Teen contestants and all 58 Miss Contestants got out of their hotel rooms and made their way down to our first official orientation event: breakfast!  After an opening welcome and introduction, each young lady (with their Executive Director and other committee members/guests) began her series of workshops for the day.

My first stop was Voice Recording, where we recorded ourselves speaking a 10 second description of our talent, to be played right before we perform.

Next, it was on to Mock Interview!  A group of volunteer panelists, plus Miss California 2011 Noelle Freeman, interviewed us and gave us some great feedback to prepare for “the real thing” later in June.

After my interview, I went to makeup where the lovely Linda Ontiveros offered her makeup wisdom for the pageant.  She even had time to give me a “mini makeover”!

Lunchtime!  As one of the newest titleholders, lunch was a wonderful time to meet and greet with many of the other contestants, as well as get an opportunity to meet Bob Arnhym- the CEO of Miss California.

I then had my workshop in On Stage Movement where we practiced walking for the evening gown/fitness portions of the competition.  I learned great techniques on posture, leg positioning, and foot placement.

Last, but not least, was my Talent Review.  I played my piano piece to some volunteers who were checking to make sure it was within the time requirement and that my costume was appropriate.

Next, I had some free time and was able to discuss some current events with fellow contestants and Bob Arnhym (Miss CA CEO).  It was interesting hearing others ladies’ views on things happening around the world and learning their perspectives on current issues.

After a wonderful day of learning, came my favorite part of the orientation- a classy dinner full of fun, raffles, and great conversation.  During this dinner was when I finalized who my roommate would be during the week-long Miss California competition in June- Miss Kings County, Amber Purdy!

*Miss Kings County, Amber Purdy (my roommate!) and myself

After dinner, all the contestants had a group rehearsal  to learn our group dance for the Opening Number of the competition.  Through a random lottery, we selected which “group” we would be a part of and I selected the Deltas!  This night was the first time all the Deltas got a chance to meet and began working together.  These ladies were fabulous, and many who had been to Miss CA before we able to give me some great pageant tips.

*The Darling Deltas!

After rehearsal, we hit the hay and started bright and early Sunday morning.  The numerous, fantastic volunteers with the organization led several meetings giving us vital information about the pageant and how to prepare.  Following another rehearsal for some dance numbers and on-stage movement (hence the reason for my stunning yoga pant and exercise tee attire), all the Miss Contestants got together for one last photo op.

*Miss California Noelle Freedman is bottom left, center


Fountain Valley Has Its Queen Again!!

14 Mar

Saturday. March 10th. Two Thousand and Twelve. Fountain Valley, California.  The Saigon Performing Arts.  The crowd in a hushed, serene silence.  12 fabulous ladies on stage.  All holding hands, each hoping their name is spoken.  6 syllables of a name break the quiet.

“Andrea Licata, your new Miss Fountain Valley 2012!” exclaims Kristy Cavinder-Fontiera, the 2009 Miss California.

*picture from the Orange County Register

That momentous evening, I was honored with the privilege of providing the city of Fountain Valley with THEIR new Queen!  I was strikingly shocked, thoroughly thankful, absolutely amazed, genuinely grateful, emphatically elated, and beyond a shadow of a doubt truly blessed — all at the same time.

Allow me to walk you through the pageant night so sit back, relax, and enjoy:

Though not technically part of the live pageant performance, the first category we competed in we the Personal Interview portion, counting for 25% of our total score. Each contestant participates in an individual 10-minute press conference-style interview with our panel of judges.  Each young lady came in their finest (and cutest!) business attire earlier in the day to complete their interview.

*Ready for Interview!

With a sold-out audience, our pageant began with an opening number performed by the 12 contestants.  The song, “Reach for the Stars,” seemed quite appropriate for the theme of the pageant – Reach for the Stars.  Each contestant wore a black, cocktail-esque dress matched with black heels and held a shimmery silver star throughout the dance.  We had so much fun learning this dance, and even more fun performing it!

*Opening Dance Number , photo credit: SeedenPhotographyThe next category of the night was Physical Fitness in Swimsuit. Each girl had a bathing suit that reflected her unique, individual personality. As a Christian who believes modesty is key, I chose a turquoise blue one-piece and had a great time on stage with my fellow contestants.

Following swimsuit, the audience got a real treat enjoying the various talents each lady brought to the pageant in the Talent portion (worth 35% of the total score- the biggest individual component).  From a color guard performance to a poetry reading, singing to salsa dancing, these talented young ladies certainly entertained the crowd.  Following what I’ve been doing since I was 6 years old, I played a lyrical piano piece titled “Enchanted Waterfall.”

*About to begin playing my piece

After talent, On Stage Question (5% of the total score) was next in the line-up.  All of us girls anxiously waited on-stage to answer the question Councilman Larry Crandall would ask of us.  A diverse selection of questions were asked, varying from “What is your greatest accomplishment?” to “What is your opinion on the current healthcare reform bill?”

*Listening to my question being read

The final area of competition was the beloved Evening Wear, counting for 20% of the total score.  All of the ladies looked positively ravishing in their unique gowns and were each escorted by sponsor of the Fountain Valley Pageant.  I chose a champagne-colored, fit-and-flare style gown and was escorted by Dennis Prado of Toyota of Huntington Beach.

*All of the contestants lined up in their evening wear, photo credit: SeedenPhotography

After each beautiful girl glided across the stage, Ryan Lisack (son of Keeli Lisack, the Executive Director) entertained the audience with an upbeat song.  Then the emcee for the night, Kristy Cavinder-Fontiera (Miss California 2009, and 1st runner up to Miss America) dazzled everyone in the theater with a ballet dance while the judges tabulated the scores.

Finally, it was time for the awards!  Thanks to our fabulous Executive Director, Keeli Lisack, and all of the sponsors from around Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach, the Fountain Valley Scholarship Pageant was able to provide over $12,000 in scholarships! What an incredible gift we were privileged to receive!

The first award given out went to Jeanamarie Pirio for Miss Congeniality.  This award is special because all of us ladies voted for this special award.  Taylor Benay Palitz won the Platform Scholarship for her outstanding work connected to her platform.  The 3rd runner up was Sophia Lam; 2nd runner up was Val Kraus; and 1st runner up Aimee Le (who also won the Evening Gown Scholarship).  On top of being titled as Miss Fountain Valley 2012, I was also privileged to receive the Talent Scholarship for receiving the highest score in the talent competition.

Here are some pictures to document the rest of the evening:

*Some of us girls waiting patiently backstage to go on for evening wear

*The Moment of Being Crowned, So Exciting!

*Fellow Contestant, Pheobe Horibe, and myself sharing a special moment after crowning

*We can’t all look spectacular ALL the time, haha

*My grandparents with me after the pageant; they have always been huge supporters of everything I do

*The official “Miss Fountain Valley” cake for the evening

*Having a little fun with Fountain Valley Mayor John Collins at the Queen’s Reception after the pageant