2010 Miss California Pageant


From the Director

I was out of town last week on a special trip to Fresno, California where I served as a judge in the 2010 Miss California Pageant. I previously had the honor of serving in the same capacity for the 2004 pageant, and my long-time friend and associate Robert Arnhym (president of the Miss California Pageant) requested that I reprise my role as a panel judge for 2010. Well, I certainly couldn’t pass up such and amazing opportunity!

For those of you who may not know, the Miss California Pageant is an official preliminary competition for the Miss America Pageant, to be held later this year. The participants of the pageant compete in several categories: talent, evening wear, swimsuit, and interview. The winner of each category is the recipient of a scholarship, and each category is factored into the final decision of who will become the next Miss California.


While many may believe the competition to be nothing more than a chance for beautiful women to strut onstage, the truth is that the Miss California Pageant has a well defined goal. The website states:

“The Miss California Organization promotes the further development of . . . fundamental life skills:

  • Broader knowledge of current events
  • Verbal communications
  • Physical fitness
  • Personal grooming
  • The opportunity of showcasing their creative and performing arts talents.”
  • –www.misscalifornia.org

The Miss California program also places an emphasis on community involvement, scholastic achievement, and professional goals.

Add all of this up, and you’ll find that Miss California brings together a group of highly motivated, intelligent, and talented young women. It was my pleasure to be able to meet each contestant during the course of the interview process.


You must understand that the pageant is not simply about finding the prettiest girl, or the most talented. It’s not about who looks best in an evening gown or a swimsuit. The Miss California Pageant is about finding the most well-rounded individual who excels in several walks of life. The best way to find this out is to speak with each contestant one-by-one. This is done through interviews conducted by the panel of judges.

This year every girl we spoke with was intelligent and well-educated. They were able to answer questions about politics ranging in difficulty from who is the governor of California to whether or not the Constitution should be amended. The panel would probe the young women to see whether or not they were well versed regarding their platforms. (Each girl must have an issue they are actively addressing. This isn’t like the “world peace” you see in movies. Examples from this year are: breast cancer, the dangers of marketing a woman’s body, the significance of mentoring, and multiple sclerosis awareness, to name a few.)

Aside from the women’s intellect, the judges were able to ascertain their personalities through the interview process. It isn’t simply enough to be driven, intelligent, talented, and civic-minded. A Miss California must also be a genuinely good person. Each girl was, and it was my pleasure to get to know them.


As I mentioned earlier, the pageant awards scholarships to the winner, the runners-up, and the highest ranked in each category. Miss California, in reality, a scholarship program, offering funds for several young women to pursue a higher education each and every year. This year the pageant awarded $90,150 in scholarships. Since its inception, the pageant has awarded more than $4,000,000 to young women!

Of course while seeing each young woman compete, meeting each girl one-on-one, and experiencing the difference they are making in their communities is a wonderful experience, the most exciting part is choosing the next Miss California. Each judge must make their marks for each contestant, and rank according to their own judgment. Once that is done, the scores are totaled, and a decision is made based on all the judges’ considerations.

San Diego

This year, California Ballet’s home town can hold it’s head up high as the winner was Miss San Diego County, Arianna Afsar!

Congratulations Miss Afsar.


It was an exciting and fulfilling week spent with a group of extremely talented and intelligent young women who promise to become important contributors to the state of California, as they become active members of society. It was a difficult decision to make, and I was fortunate to serve on a panel of exemplary judges.

I hope each of you who reads this will come to understand how important this pageant is, not as a chance to see young beauties, but as a forum for young intellects with a penchant for improving society. These women aren’t simply a group of pretty girls, they are a collective of future leaders of society.

–Maxine Mahon, Director


Below is Robert Arnhym, the president of the Miss California Pageant, speaking on the importance of supporting the arts:


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