The pageant atmosphere will be nothing new for the three Latina hopefuls at the 2018 Miss Fresno County Pageant.
That’s because Karmelita Medina, Jasmine Romero and Stephanie Velásquez have some some familiarity with the pageant lifestyle.
▪ Medina, a 19-year-old sophomore at Fresno State, competed twice in the Miss Tulare County Pageant.
▪ Romero Candelaria, a 19-year-old Fresno Pacific student returns from last year’s Fresno pageant.
▪ Velásquez, a 22-year-old Fresno State junior, won the Miss Distinguished Young Woman title while attending Turlock High School.
They will be joined by six other hopefuls when the pageant takes place starting at 7 p.m. Saturday (March 17) at the Tower Theatre. The Miss Fresno County Outstanding Teen Pageant will be held at the same time.
Winners will go on to compete at the state pageant June 23-30 at Selland Arena.
▪ Medina, who was born in Dinuba, is looking forward to the pageant.
“I did Miss Tulare County for two years. Now, I live in Fresno,” said Medina, who has also competed in the Miss Dinuba pageant. “I want to try out a new experience and meet new people.”
Medina, a 2016 graduate of Dinuba High School, also participated in her hometown’s Cinco de Mayo pageant. She is the daughter of Minerva, a lab assistant. She has an older sister and a younger brother.
“It’s been really great,” she said about the pageant preparation. “It is different every year.”
Her talent will be a lyrical dance to ‘7 Years.’ She has been dancing – hip hop, baton, fly ribbons – since she was 5 years old.
Her uncle, Rumaldo Medina, has been instrumental in her preparation.
“He rehearses with me, does my makeup, helps get the outfits, and goes with me to sell ads,” said Medina. “He also helps prepare me for my interviews as well.”
Medina’s platform is ‘Be a Friend, Not a Bully.” She was bullied while in elementary school.
“I also saw other family members get bullied,” she said. “I learned not to let the words bring me down.”
▪ Romero, who was born in Fresno, is a 2017 graduate of Roosevelt High School. She is the daughter of Ana Rosa and Isiaís Romero. She works for Foster Farms and he is a truck driver.
She has three older siblings and three younger siblings.
“I came in really timid,” she said about last year’s pageant. “I was a tiny bit timid, but I’m hoping I’m coming out more now.”
Romero said her public speaking is better now. “It’s weird, I shouldn’t be the doing it,” she said regarding the pageant. “I’m not the pageant type to go back to the range and practice shooting.”
Her talent will be a flag and rifle dance routine. “I’ve been in color guard forever,” she said. “My brother used to be in color guard, and he coached me. He’s always pushing me.”
Romero’s platform is ‘Youth for Christ.’ She volunteers every Friday at lunch for the program One Way at Sunnyside High School.
“The club Set Apart at Roosevelt changed my life. At that time I was an atheist,” she said. “Now, I’m talking to students. It’s personal to me.”
She is also involved with Care Fresno, in which volunteers help mentor students. Romero is waiting to see if she was accepted for Mission Care, which would place her in an apartment complex to run the program there.
▪ Velásquez was born in Modesto and graduated from Turlock High in 2013. She is the daughter of Beatriz and Benito Velásquez. She is the second-oldest – and only daughter – of four children.
She grew up in her father’s goat farm near Crows Landing. Her father is in the process of selling the farm.
Velásquez is majoring in sports medicine and minoring in Chicano Studies.
“One of my friends did (the pageant) the year prior and I followed her in person,” said Velásquez about entering the pageant this year. “I thought, ‘You know what? Yeah, I need something else to occupy my time.”
Velásquez, who was president of Kappa Alpha Meta, will perform a dance to ‘The Storyteller Dream’ from the movie ‘Apocalypto.’
“It’s a little bit of Aztec, jazz and lyrical,” she said about the dance. She took a folklórico dance class at Fresno State.
Velásquez’s platform is Court Appointed Special Advocates, which works with abused or neglected children in court. Her sorority would raise $10,000 a year for CASA, and “it’s still a platform I would love to promote, she said.
Her mother, she said, has been supportive of her pageant involvement. But, her father has been a “typical Mexican male” and indifferent, but has come around.
▪ Other Miss contestants are: Clovis High senior Jacqueline Trafton; Fresno State senior Lauren Herring; Reedley College sophomore Jana Miller; Fresno Pacific senior Hannah Hilyard; Clovis Community College student Amy Bishop; and, Fresno State senior Kindle Lynn Cowger.
Outstanding teen pageant
Mya Sosa, a 16-year-old junior at Roosevelt High, is among three candidates in the Miss Fresno County Outstanding Teen Pageant.
She is the daughter of Alyssa and Michael Sosa, both teachers in the Fresno Unified School District. In college, she wants to focus on musical theater and get a minor in political science.
“I’m friends with the current Miss Fresno. Last summer, she asked me to be a part of it and here I am,” said Sosa. “I have always known about the pageant.”
Sosa’s platform is ‘Standing with Victims of Domestic Abuse.’ “It’s a huge problem. One of four women will experience domestic abuse in their life,” she said.
Her talent will be singing ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’ from the movie ‘Funny Girl.’ “It’s my favorite kind of music to sing,” she said.
Sosa speaks Spanish fluently.
▪ Other Teen contestants are: Fowler High junior Rachel Nichole Axt, and Central High junior Zoe Lark.
Karmelita Medina’s favorites
Color: Red; Hobby: Dancing; Food: Tacos with green chile; Entertainer: Michael Jackson; Movie: ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas;’ Television show: ‘9-1-1;’ Vacation spot: Amusement park with roller coasters.
Jasmine Moreno’s favorites
Color: Burgundy; Hobby: Walk the dog on Dry Creek; Food: Hamburgers; Entertainer: Emma Watson; Movie: ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic;’ Television show: ‘The Kardashians;’ Vacation spot: Shaver Lake in the summer.
Stephanie Velásquez’s favorites
Color: Purple; Food: Tamales; Hobby: Scripture writing; Entertainer: Rascal Flatts; Movie: ‘Good Will Hunting;’ Television show: ‘Grey’s Anatomy;’ Vacation spot: New Orleans.
Mya Sosa’s favorites
Color: White; Hobby: Singing; Food: Pepperoni pizza; Entertainer: Barbra Streisand; Movie: ‘Tangle;’ Television show: ‘The Office;’ Vacation spot: Greece.