The Miss and Teen contestants pose for a picture after the pageant (Photo: Courtesy of Will Bucqouy Photography)
by Georgia Laganiere, a&e editor
Delaney Bright, Maria Carrillo junior, recently took on the Miss Outstanding Teen, Sonoma County competition and won. Bright, who has competed in the local competition for two years now, is ecstatic about her upcoming year serving the community under her new title.
The pageant preparation process was filled with a lot of camaraderie and sisterhood as Bright competed alongside five other girls: Kamila Salazar, Rosa Maria Valentine, Taya Gundeid, Julia Olsen and Rachel Ding.
However, this event is not considered a beauty pageant; rather, it is a scholarship competition. Whoever wins receives a sum of money that can only be used for school related expenses. This year, Bright won $1,400 to go toward paying her future college tuition. To win, you must score the highest in each of the following categories: fitness, interview, on-stage question and talent.
Delaney Bright commented on the scholarship aspect by saying, “We are a scholarship competition not [just] a pageant! The winners are not chosen based on physical appearance. It is [instead] based on the four phases of the competition.”
Last year, the competition was postponed to give the 2020 title holders a full year to experience the crown. However, the previous year was Bright’s first competition. She won second runner up, or third place.
“I competed last year and loved the experience! I have gained so much familiarity with public speaking and got the chance to show my passion for dance!” Bright said.
Bright, a third year member of the Carrillo Advanced Dance Team, chose dance as her talent. She has been dancing since she was ten years old. Bright’s talent portion was a Latin-inspired jazz piece. She said displaying her dance talent “felt fitting.”
Not only did Bright win Top Talent, she also won Top Fitness and tied with another Carrillo junior Kamila Salazar for Top Interview. However, according to Bright, this was the most nerve wracking part.
“I tend to talk really fast and get nervous super quickly, but with all the practice I got from rehearsals, I felt confident,” Bright said.
One of the things that the pageant boasts is well-educated and community-driven contestants. Each contestant is required to have a Social Impact Initiative, or a community outreach plan and specialty that they will focus on through their year as Miss Sonoma County Outstanding Teen should they win. Some of this year’s contestants’ initiatives included Tutoring our Children for Tomorrow, Empowering the Latinx Youth Community, No Athlete Left Behind, Creating a Culture of Self-Care in Sports, Supporting Women in Tech and Advocacy for Transgender Youth. Bright’s Social Impact Initiative is Promoting a Healthy Body and Mind.
“I hope to encourage people to live a healthy lifestyle! With this title I hope to reach people all over the county with the appearances I get to make,” Bright said.
This is not the last time Bright will take center stage as later this summer. She will be competing against other girls who won in their counties for the state title of Miss California Outstanding Teen. Last year, there were 21 candidates at this level. Then, if Bright wins the state, she will compete against all of the state titleholders from across the country for Miss America Outstanding Teen.
Bright reminisced, saying, “I wanted to win this title for so long, and to know I actually achieved it was so surreal.”