Miss California Week – Days 2 & 3

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The second and third day of Miss California week have flown by! The past two days have been full of rehearsals and in between I had my interview for the job of Miss California and attended a Fresno Rotary luncheon.

On Sunday after a morning rehearsal, I headed straight to my interview.IMG_5114 I am completely satisfied with how it went and know that I showed the judges who I am. I am in love with the panel of judges! They are all so sweet and a pleasure to talk to. Ten minutes of conversation with them is not enough! It is hard to believe that my first phase of competition is already complete, and tonight I will compete in my next phase, evening gown!

IMG_5045The rest of the day was primarily for rehearsals. From the opening number, to evening gown production, to walking patterns, we danced and practiced until we were absolutely positive we can rock the material on stage.

Monday was spent at the William Saroyan Theatre for more rehearsals, but this time on stage with our talented choreographer, Cassie! The Miss California class of 2015 contestants are working extremely hard to make sure the show will be phenomenal!

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For lunch we made our way over to the Fresno Rotary luncheon. The rotarians were all so kind and encouraging. It was a delight to sit down with them to chat about the city of Fresno, and the Miss California competition.

This morning I get to rest before our first full tech rehearsal for tonight’s show. The production is going to be amazing and I can’t wait to walk on stage in my favorite evening gown!

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Stay tuned for more updates as we get into full swing of Miss California preliminary competitions!

The first official day of Miss California 2015!

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Today was the first official day of Miss California 2015!

The class of 2015 kicked off day one of pageant week at Fresno City Hall for the annual mayor’s reception.IMG_4967 Each titleholder presented a gift representing their title to city council member, Clint Olivier. Since Santa Clara is home to the beautiful new Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, my gift was a Levi’s Stadium wine glass and a mini bottle of wine. I thought this was the perfect gift because Super Bowl 50 is coming to Levi’s Stadium in February and we all know I am a huge 49ers fan 🙂 It was neat to hear about all of the different parts of California and to see what each titleholder brought to represent their parts of the state. Through each gift, I was able to learn so much about our extraordinary state!

After our visit to City Hall, we made our way to the Habit Burger Grill for lunch. Thank you so much to the Habit for hosting all 53 contestants for a delicious meal!

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We were so fortunate to spend the evening at a lovely BBQ at the Lester family home. Thank you so much to the Lester’s for having us at your breathtaking home. We enjoyed BBQ, karaoke, dancing and my new favorite hobby….hula hooping!

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The day was a perfect way to begin Miss California week. Spending some fun time with the rest of the contestants is always a great time. Thank you to the city of Fresno for being so welcoming and for the amazing hospitality. Stay tuned for the rest of this week’s activities!

The time has come…I’m headed to Fres-YES!

The past six months have been a whirlwind. When I was crowned as Miss Santa Clara 2015 I knew I was in for a ride. Along with volunteering in my community, promoting my platform, going to school full-time and working full-time, I have been preparing to compete for the title of Miss California 2015. I can’t believe the time is finally here. Tomorrow I will be headed to Fresno!

This will be my fourth pageant week experience on the Miss California stage. The stage where smiles prevail, tears of joy are shed, questions are answered flawlessly and where lives are changed. My life sure was.

My first “Miss California week” encounter was in 2010 when I represented Santa Clara for the first time as Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen. Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 1.46.56 PMAs a fifteen year-old and new to the Miss America program I was eager and excited to have an unforgettable week. My committee set me up for success and I was ready for the week ahead. However, I had never been to Miss California before so I was not sure exactly what to expect. At the end of the week I found myself with two preliminary awards, two overall awards and was 2nd runner-up to Miss California’s Outstanding Teen 2010. I was overjoyed and proud of myself and left my first Miss California week with a vibrant smile on my face.

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 1.43.07 PMMy second week on the stage in the Saroyan theater was one year later when I was Miss Mission City’s Outstanding Teen 2011. I knew I was 110% ready to show the judges that I could successfully represent our state with the job as Miss California’s Outstanding Teen. After a long but fulfilling week my life was changed. I was ecstatic to be crowned Miss California’s Outstanding Teen 2011!
After another year had passed and an endless amount of memories as Miss California’s Outstanding teen were made, I was back in Fresno for Miss California week for the third year in a row. This time it was not to compete, but to crown my successor. Being on the Miss California stage and not competing is a completely different feeling. Watching the young ladies who were in the place I was in just a year prior, felt like I was watching a movie. I was sad that my year was ending but thrilled for the young lady that I was going to crown as MCAOT 2012. I could not have been more happy to pass on the duties of MCAOT to my friend and the well deserved Grace Lee Grant.

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Fast forward three years and I am heading back to Fresno!

With a few years of growth, experiences and new wisdom under my belt I am ready to head back to the Saroyan theater to compete for my first time as a “Miss” contestant!

During my preparation, there have been highs, lows, successes, doubts, excitement and nerves, but I feel more than prepared to show the judges that I have the ability to represent our state again, this time as Miss California 2015. My friends, family, committee and sponsors have been with me every step of the way and I cannot thank them enough! 

Pageant week is not only about the competition. It is about enjoying the time in Fresno with some of the most incredible young women in California. I cannot express how privileged I feel to be spending the week with 52 of the most intelligent, beautiful, talented and poised women in the state.

After months of endless hard work, we all come together to make memories, have some good laughs, but most of all, to be there for each other. Only WE can truly understand what this week means to one another.

We are all dreamers. We are all strong. We are all eager. We are all determined. We are all different. But most importantly, every single woman who puts her foot on that stage would be an incredible Miss California.

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I know whoever is crowned Miss California 2015 on June 27th probably around 9 or 10 PM in the Saroyan theater, will be a young lady that we will all be proud of. No matter who it is, our state will be in the best hands.

Regardless of the outcome on June 27th, I know I have done everything in my power to prepare. I will show the judges who I am and then it is in their hands 😉

My Personal Philosophy

Value the present. Live free of tension, full of love, happiness and laughter. Be a lifelong learner. Embody dedication and uniqueness. Create. 

In late 2014-early 2015 I was the Communications Intern for the mobile gaming company who has brought you the popular games FarmVille and Words With Friends, Zynga. During my internship with Zynga I was tasked to create my own personal philosophy. A personal philosophy is your life motto, quote or simply, words that express who you are as a person. It can be one word, five words, ten words, but it cannot be longer than 25 words.

When I first sat down at my computer to write my personal philosophy, I found it very difficult to keep it to 25 words or less. I decided to jot down words that describe myself, characteristics I admire in others and characteristics that I want to live up to. Eventually I came up with my personal philosophy:

Value the present. Live free of tension, full of love, happiness and laughter. Be a lifelong learner. Embody dedication and uniqueness. Create.

JessalaughValue the present. I lead off my personal philosophy with this short statement because I find the present incredibly important. I think a struggle that many individuals have is to stay in their present self. Many times we may let the past or even future get to us and because of this, we are not able to enjoy what is going on in the present moment 100%.

Live free of tension, full of love, happiness and laughter. This sentence is how I’ve always enjoyed living and how I would like to live the rest of my life. Tension and stress are unnecessary factors that creep up in everyday life. It is important to brush these distractions off your shoulder. When you live full of love, happiness and laughter, you will remain in the best version of yourself. The people that love me best know how much I love to laugh 😉

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Be a lifelong learner.
I find this the most important part of my personal philosophy. I love and embrace learning. Whether it is at school, at work, in a conversation, observing, etc., learning is what I find as the most essential aspect in life. The more I can learn, about anything and everything, the more diverse of a person I can become and the more I can understand the world.

Embody dedication and uniqueness. Dedication is one of my strongest traits that I have always valued. In my life, through dedication, I can do anything. Uniqueness is what sets one person apart from the rest. We are all unique and it is our responsibility to embody it.
IMG_9399Lastly, create. I conclude my personal philosophy with this single word because it is powerful. In every aspect of my life, my goal is to create. For example, through the Miss America Program I would like to create change. Change that will better our world, and specifically with my platform, Building A Healthy Future. In my everyday life I want to create conversations, friendships, smiles, bonds, special moments, volunteerism, pretty much anything that can leave a lasting mark on an individual. If I had to summarize my personal philosophy into one word, it would be- create.

I challenge you to begin thinking of your own personal philosophy. Begin to jot down your initial ideas and eventually it will come together. A very important thing to remember is your personal philosophy is not engraved in stone, as it may evolve alongside of you. Every so often read it and make sure it represents the person you are and want to be. Do not be afraid to change it from time to time. If one day you read it and the words do not reflect who you are anymore, create a new one.