The top beauty queen in California earns the title of Miss California, but it takes hard work and participation in smaller pageants to get there. Before going on to compete for the title of Miss California and ultimately Miss America, aspiring beauty queens enter pageants throughout the state. California pageants also exist for girls and teenagers.
Young women aspiring to compete for the Miss California title get their start by entering pageants at the local level. Women in California counties from Fresno to Santa Clara can earn their way to the Miss California stage by participating in local pageants. Such pageants include Miss Sonoma County, Miss High Desert, Miss Desert Vista and Miss City of Orange.
Miss California Pageant
Females who win titles in local pageants affiliated with the Miss California pageants get to participate for this prestigious statewide title -- and the shot of competing for Miss America. Women participating in this pageant are judged in five categories: private interview, talent, evening gown, lifestyle and fitness (swimsuit) and on-stage questions. Contestants participate in preliminaries, and those chosen as semifinalists go on to compete for the title during the final round of the Miss California pageant.
California International Pageants
Females can compete in the California International Pageant. Divided into four age groups -- junior miss, teen, miss and Mrs. -- this pageant includes a number of competitions. Contestants are judged in five categories: interview, fun fashion wear, fitness wear, evening gown and on-stage interview. The interview portion carries the most weight: 50 percent for Mrs. California International and 40 percent for the other titles.
Children and Teen Pageants
Children and teenagers wanting to hop on the pageant circuit have several options in California. Independent organizations, such as California Gold Coast Beauty Pageants, put on pageants for the youngest beauty queens. Contestants are judged based on their talent, outfits and even their smiles. In addition, the Miss California USA Pageant includes a Miss California Teen USA portion for women, which serves as a preliminary for the Miss Teen USA pageant.
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