Corona del Mar Today: Local girls compete in Miss California pageant

By Amy Senk

November 27, 2010
  • Miss Teen Newport Beach Jill St. Geme; Miss Teen Laguna Beach Amber Papst; and Miss Teen Newport Coast Lyssa Aruda.
Miss Teen Newport Beach Jill St. Geme; Miss Teen Laguna… (Daily Pilot )

"I told everyone that when I grew up I was going to be Miss Universe," said Lyssa Aruda, Miss Newport Coast, one of four girls from the Newport Beach area that competed in the Miss California Teen USA Pageant in Palm Springs last weekend.

Jill St. Geme, Miss Newport Beach, who attends Corona del Mar High School, with Lyssa, was a Top 10 finisher. Other local participants include Brooke Hanrahan, Miss Corona del Mar, who attends Mater Dei High School, and Amber Papst, Miss Laguna Beach, who attends Newport Harbor High School.

Competing against neighbors made the pageant more fun, they said.

"It was very nice knowing other girls from Newport Beach," Jill said. "It was comforting to be able to pick out a few familiar faces in a group full of strangers."

The pageant is known for being a welcoming to newcomers, but both CdMHS girls had competed before. Lyssa, who was a pageant girl throughout her childhood, held three National Supreme titles and acted as a spokesmodel for Hakes International Pageant.


Although Jill is still in the incipience of her career as a beauty queen, she has competed and won "Most Photogenic" in her previous (and her first) competition.

Preparation for the pageant stimulated an excess of nerves within the girls — but mostly feelings of excitement.

Lyssa says that she although she was anxious, "I was mostly looking forward to having a great experience."

Jill had similar feelings and was thrilled that the weekend finally arrived after such long preparation.

The pageant consisted of three portions: Interview, Swimsuit and Evening Gown. Contestants were judged based on their character, poise, confidence and personality. Jill said she was most excited to wear her evening gown.

"I love my dress — which was the first gown I tried on and instantly fell in love with — so I was excited to finally be able to show it off," she said. She also confesses she was dreading the opening dance that the contestants do together. "The piece was a tough one, and I'm not the best of dancers, but I had practiced a lot."

Lyssa had similar sentiments and said she was excited to show off her pageant clothes as well.

"I was also really looking forward to meeting so many accomplished girls," she said. "I met quite a few at orientation and I couldn't wait to get to know more of the participants."

For Lyssa there was no least-favorite part, but she was most nervous about doing her own hair and makeup.

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