Miss Berkeley Sabrina Lewis received the coveted Miss California title on Saturday in Visalia, beating out 42 different girls from throughout the state. Together with the Miss America state crown and sash, Lewis took dwelling $20,000 in scholarship cash.
It wasn’t the primary crown the 26-year outdated claimed lately: Lewis, a College of California at Berkeley alum, beforehand held the title of Miss California USA in 2021, the Miss America group’s sister pageant recognized for its extra glamorous tenor. Miss America, in contrast, is usually described as a scholarship competitors first, with a closely weighted expertise element.
Lewis’ expertise? Horses.
“I’ll at all times be a horse woman,” the Olympian hopeful mentioned within the expertise portion of the competitors, describing how she usually struggled to discover a dwelling as a younger Black woman in that rarefied world. Lewis now runs an equestrian-related nonprofit and not too long ago accomplished a Grasp’s diploma in public administration.
Bay Space contestants held their very own on the competitors. 4 of the highest 12 semi-finalists represented Northern California cities and counties, together with Miss Golden State North and Miss Santa Clara. Miss Northern California Mahika Valluri positioned third runner-up.
Miss San Francisco Monroe Lace, the primary transgender lady to compete in Miss California’s 99-year historical past, additionally reached the semi-finals. Lace obtained the favored vote, which robotically certified her for semi-finals no matter her particular person scoring.
“As a trans lady, I by no means thought I may very well be a part of a sisterhood,” Lace mentioned in the course of the interview spherical. “However there are 42 women behind me who help me and love me for who I’m. And that’s the reason sisterhood is a part of the Miss America group—as a result of all girls should be a part of Miss California.”
READ MORE: Meet Miss San Francisco—the First Trans Girl To Win Miss California?
Jazz Fingers and a Lot of Sequins
The ultimate evening of the competitors showcased 4 rounds of competitors for less than the highest 12 finalists: on-stage interview, health, expertise/“HERStory,” and night robe. 5 additional finalists had been chosen earlier than a panel of 5 judges topped one fortunate lady.
Health was a brand new element this 12 months, launched by Miss America CEO Robin Fleming, who previously ran the Miss Florida USA competitions. The ladies twirled in circles and showcased their muscle mass in athleisure units, as host MacKenzie Freed (Miss California 2018) narrated their numerous well being and health commitments.
The standard pageantry reigned: Ladies in purple, blush, champagne-colored and sequin-encrusted robes floated throughout the stage, in opposition to the buzzing backdrop of bossa nova basic “The Woman from Ipanema.” That portion, in addition to the health and expertise elements, was price 20% of their scores.
The Miss America Group holds a repute for being a service and scholarship-forward competitors. The state competitors actually belabored that time, awarding money prizes to each High 12 contestant, together with a sliding scale from $1,000 to $20,000 for the High 5 finalists.
“I, like a variety of my sisters throughout the nation, am in a position to pursue a better training proper now solely due to the monetary affect that the Miss California has had on my life,” mentioned Miss Tulare County Elizabeth Sartuche in the course of the stay interview spherical. “I need to be a consultant of Miss California, to point out there is no such thing as a orthodox timeline for college—and that this scholarship group can change lives.”
Quite a few rivals—together with Lewis—selected to ship spoken-word monologues in lieu of conventional expertise acts. Branded “HERStory” by the group, rivals together with the winner, runner-up Asha Bhattacharya (Miss Anaheim Hills), and Monroe Lace all carried out both unique two-minute tales or well-known monologues from authors like Maya Angelou.
“Thanks [Robin Fleming] for creating HERStory so girls like me have the chance to share their non-traditional skills,” Lewis shared on her Instagram story Saturday night.
Lewis will take over the job of Miss California from Catherine Liang, a Bay Space native and monetary analyst who beforehand served as Miss San Francisco. Earlier within the day, the Miss California group additionally topped a brand new Excellent Teen, Marlie Wright of San Diego.
The Miss California group held the week-long state competitors within the Central Valley metropolis of Visalia for the primary time this 12 months. Earlier competitions operated out of Fresno. It was a sweltering weekend for a pageant competitors: out of doors temperatures reached a blistering 110 levels, although the competitors was staged in an indoor conference heart.