Last week, my darling sister, Rita (of Survivor: Fiji fame) was in Los Angeles training the lovely contestants vying for the Miss California USA and Miss California Teen USA 2008 titles. She invited David and I to attend the finals, which were held at the historic Orpheum Theater in Downtown Los Angeles.
I wanted to attend the finals to support my sister, who looked absolutely stunning wearing one my NIKOLAKI gowns as she handed the bouquets to the Final 5. It was a nice surprise to see the beautiful Meagan Tandy, last year's Miss California USA, wearing the gown we designed for her when she competed (and received the 3rd Runner Up Title). Also in attendance were two Rita's castmates and friends from Survivor:Fiji, Michelle Yi and Alex Angarita. It was fun to watch all those girls whom Rita trained and to see her "stamp" of excellence in their walk, posture and presentation.
The pageant itself was actually an exciting one. Everything seem fine and normal. There were over 100 girls competing for both titles. I had my favorites including Miss LA who was a spunky Latina with a walk and a personality that could be seen from the nose-bleed seats at the theater. Miss Barstow and Miss Greater San Diego were gorgeous, the former being a dead ringer for Carmen Electra and Lauren Conrad of MTV's The Hills and the latter, a beautiful California blond who had "Miss USA" written all over her. These last two were the obvious favorites of the capacity audience at the Orpheum, as well.
It came as a shock then when neither of their names got called as the winner. This is went things got "pageant ugly". All one could hear were shouts of "Boo" and hisses from the entire theater when Miss Barstow was not named the winner. The sassy Miss LA, Christina Silva had been crowned the new Miss California. We happened to be seated directly behind the judges, which included last year's controversial Miss Teen USA, Katie Blair (from MTV's Pageant Place) who looked at the other judges with wonderment. There was some shuffling that had occurred right before the naming of the winners, by the judges' reps who were tabulating their scores. So there was obvious confusion, but besides this, everything seemed to be going according to a normal pageant script. I met the newly crowned Miss California USA as well as her family backstage and she was such a doll. She confided that she was a fan of Project Runway and loved the gown I designed for last year's winner and couldn't wait for me to design hers.
Cut to today. My sister calls me and tells me to go to ExtraTV.com to see the new pageant scandal: It has just been discovered that the judges scores were somehow "misread" by the accounting firm overseeing it and the winner was not the Miss LA, but in fact Miss Barstow, Raquel Beezley (the Carmen Electra/Lauren Conrad doppelganger) . At least this pageant scandal did not involve pepper spray or drug addiction. The lovely Christina Silva, Miss LA, was asked to give up the crown she just had for only 5 days and the crowd favorite, Miss Barstow now has been crowned the new Miss California USA. I am sure this is not the way she envisioned to be crowned the most beautiful woman in California. But, as they say, any publicity is good publicity. More eyes will be on her when she competes in next year's Miss USA and she will already be on the pageant radar.
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