Pageant contestant chases the crown again

Cal State Long Beach senior Danielle Tellez found the classifieds ad. She submitted an online application, went through two phone interviews and an in-person meeting. Then, she got the call back.

Now, the 22-year-old is representing the city of Long Beach in the running for Miss California USA.

“Usually, with pageants, you have to work your whole life to get to the top, and it’s like a career for the girls already in it,” Tellez said.

According to the Miss California USA website, an estimated 85 percent of its incoming contestants have never been in a pageant before.

For Tellez, the state pageant is nothing like the beauty pageant that scarred her when she was around 7 or 8. She participated in a competition as a kid, but she told her mom she didn’t want to do it again because of the catty girls.

“Other pageants didn’t look fun to me,” she added.

Tellez is now chasing the crown again.

“[Miss California USA] is a different pageant; they encourage friendship,” Tellez said. “You also have the fun side, like with wearing the beautiful dresses.”

The Long Beach representative found a place with the Miss California USA pageant, where catty girls and superficiality place last to friendship and inner beauty.

“The pageant is not just about being a pretty person on the outside, but the inside, as well as the community work you do, how much you help others, how big your heart is,” Tellez said. “It doesn’t even have a talent portion because it’s just swimsuit, evening gown and interview portions.”

Tellez has been attending events all year, including her favorite — Comic-Con 2011.

“We got to do a huge runway show for the Star Wars after-party and I got to meet Stan Lee,” she said. “That was awesome because I grew up as a tomboy, reading comic books.”

Even with all the attention given to her, the child development, and family studies and family life education double major is just like anyone else when it comes to dealing with stage fright.

“I just listen to music while getting ready because I get really nervous, even though I’ve performed all my life with singing,” she said.

The CSULB senior’s entire journey also requires funds and the support of her family, friends and companies like income tax verification service Veri-tax. In addition, she will hold a concert this fall that will showcase her and her friend’s singing talents.

Tellez also has to be on her best behavior because the Miss California USA judges have been watching since she applied last November.

“There are a lot of events where they keep a close eye on each representative,” Tellez said.

Miss California will be announced in January of 2012. Tellez said her goal is to make friends and to bring attention to the community service. Tellez sponsors a child named Brillion from Africa, who she met two years ago from the Chosen Children of Promise. She hopes to raise money for local and global causes.

Sarah Hart, a friend of Tellez for four years, said the pageant girl has always shown compassion for others.

“She has such a heart for children, helping them, loving them and improving their lives,” Hart said. “That, on top of all her other wonderful qualities, makes her a great representative of Long Beach as Miss California.”

Tellez started with no experience and went from applying to be a representative to gaining plenty of experience.

“When you put Miss California USA on applications, it looks good, as my recruiter says,” she said.

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