MiraCosta College student Kelsey Schwarz is the new Miss San Diego.
The 20-year-old Valley Center resident earned the title on Jan. 5, securing the right to compete in the Miss California Pageant in June, the last stop before the annual Miss America Pageant.
“It feels amazing and it is such an honor,” Kelsey said.
Kelsey, who is working at two jobs while attending MiraCosta College’s Oceanside Campus, said she got the pageant itch when Miss Valley Center painted Kelsey’s face at a softball game when Kelsey was just 6 years old. Some 11 years later, Kelsey won the title of Miss Valley Center for herself, earning a $3,500 scholarship in the process. Since then, she also won the Miss Teen California World Pageant.
Kelsey works as a student ambassador at MiraCosta College. “Our job is to build a relationship with prospective students in order to make the transition from high school to college as smooth as possible,” she said. “We want to encourage people out in the community to pursue higher education with MiraCosta College."
Kelsey also works for Royal Entertainers as a Disney princess at children’s parties.
She says pageants offer young women a number of benefits, including college scholarships, networking opportunities, and an opportunity to be a mentor and role model for younger children. Contestants must be well versed in current events while effectively communicating their thoughts.
“You really have to be on top of your intellectual game,” she said. “It’s very easy to look at it as being skin deep and shallow, but that really is not the case.”
Miss San Diego and Miss California fall under the umbrella of the Miss America Pageant organization. The four points of the Miss America crown symbolize scholarship, service, style, and success. In the upcoming Miss California Pageant, 25 percent of a contestant’s score will be based on how well they do on an interview before they take the stage. “It’s your opportunity to show who you are and who you want to be,” she said.
The formal wear portion of the pageant counts for 20 percent of a contestants score, the talent portion counts for 35 percent, and the swimsuit portion counts for 15 percent. How well a contestant answers an impromptu question counts for the remaining 5 percent of a total score.
Part of the interview process includes writing an essay advocating for a particular cause. In Kelsey’s case, that cause was PosiText, a website she runs (www.positiext.org) that sends out text messages “to promote positivity.”
Kelsey is a communications major who will be transferring to Cal State San Marcos next fall. She has an Associate’s Degree in liberal arts and humanities, and she will earn a second AA in communications this spring. Her hope is to earn a master’s degree in education and work as an inspirational speaker while teaching college communications courses.
Meanwhile, Kelsey is looking for potential sponsors in her Miss California effort. Those interested can write to firstname.lastname@example.org or donate directly to the Children’s Miracle Network at http://missamericaforkids.org/donate/kelseyschwarz.