Miss Yosemite Valley, Crystal Munoz, 21. Born in: Glendora, California. Has participated in 12 pageants and attends Azusa Pacific University. Talent: Piano. Platform: Childhood Obesity Awareness and Prevention
Q: When was the first time you participated in a pageant and what was it like?
A: I started at the age of 17. The reason I got involved is because I wanted to do something new and something different. I don’t want to say I lived a sheltered life, but I really wanted to do something outside my comfort zone and something that would help build my self-confidence. The first pageant I participated in was one I heard from a good friend of mine. She said they were looking for girls to try out so I decided to do it. I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that I had to wear a dress and I’ve taken piano lessons since I was little, so my talent would be the piano. After doing it, I realized that it went really well. I pretty much surprised my family. They went to see me and I was the second runner-up. After the first time, I decided to do it again. I worked hard and made it happen when I got my title as Ms. Azusa in 2009- which was the second pageant I participated in.
Q: What has been the most embarrassing moment during a pageant competition?
A: I have two that I can remember at the top of my head. Once, I was performing my talent on stage and I totally forgot the lyrics to the song I was playing. I just remember playing a little bit of it and forgot the rest so I just had to make it up as I went along. I was so embarrassed that I walked off stage. You know, it can be very nerve racking going up on stage. Now that I have been doing it more often, I am more comfortable on stage and I haven’t forgotten the lyrics to the music, thankfully. The second most embarrassing moment was when I was participating in a local pageant and when I got called by the judges, I walked up to the podium to begin my interview and I accidentally knocked the podium down, right in front of them. All I said was, ‘wow, I guess I am really excited to see you all’. I was super embarrassed.
Q: You competed in the Miss California Pageant last year and you didn’t win. Why are you vying for the crown this year and what are you doing differently?
A: I have participated in this competition for the past two years and I have not placed at all, but its okay because both of those times, I wasn’t prepared. This year, I have worked extremely hard to improve in every area of the competition, especially with my interview and the swimsuit competition. I was really weak in those areas last year and I feel that I improved tremendously in them this year.
Q: What is the most valuable thing you have learned from participating in pageants?
A: To be yourself and to have fun because sometimes you get too competitive and you lose the fun in all of it. If you come to participate with the mentality that this may be the last time you will be here, you will end up enjoying the experience more because you don’t end up being stressed out and more competitive. The majority of the girls have been very sweet through this organization and that is why I continue to participate. The majority of the girls are really nice and they have the same goals as you and that’s why I keep participating in this organization. I have been in pageants where girls are snobby and mean backstage and really competitive and this happened more often when I first started out in local pageants, but with the Miss California pageant, I haven’t seen any of that.
Q: What is the most common misconception about women that participate in pageants and how do you try to defy that misconception?
A: That pageant girls are stuck up or way too into themselves. I tell people that this is not true. We are not fake. We are real girls, trying to achieve our dreams and become better women in the process. Plus, we are trying to earn scholarship money so we can fund our education- and that’s the reason people compete in pageants through this organization.
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