Two Fresno State students will show off their qualities and talents as they compete for the crown in the Miss California pageant in June.
Both Elizabeth Farr and Jenny Tormey impressed the judges earlier in the year, earning their way into the 89-year-old competition.
Miss California was founded in Santa Cruz in 1924. The pageant has been held in Fresno since 1994. The pageant will be held at the William Saroyan Theatre on June 25-29.
To be a contestant for Miss California, candidates must present a platform of public service.
Farr, who was crowned Miss Fresno County on March 16, will present a platform designed to help the visually impaired, called Service for Sight.
A member of the Delta Gamma sorority, Farr, a business entrepreneur major, has worked with the visually impaired by collecting funds or volunteering at centers such as the Valley Center for the Blind.
“I have been doing it for four years with Delta Gamma, and I will continue to do it for the pageant,” Farr said.
Farr was crowned as Fresno’s representative on March 16 during the Miss Fresno pageant held at the Tower Theater.
“[It] was my first pageant ever done ,and it was really fun and exciting that I actually won,” Farr said. “I just tried my hardest, and it turned out pretty good.”
Farr was originally from Bakersfield, where she first fostered her talent for singing at age 10.
“When I was little, I always just loved singing,” she said. “I did school plays here and there at the Bakersfield Musical Theater and I’ve always loved it.”
Farr will demonstrate her talent at Miss California, singing “Like We Never Loved at All,” by Faith Hill.
“I’m going to go represent Fresno County as best as I can, and definitely try to win,” she said.
Tormey was given the Miss Clovis crown on Feb. 16. Her platform revolves around integrating art into education.
“You can’t teach a student just math and science and expect them to develop into a whole child,” Tormey said. “So I definitely believe in integrating music and theater and art into education for every child that goes to school here, and I want to start with the Fresno community.”
Tormey wants to hold an art show for children to display their art, or sign and dance or perform stage comedy.
She said her plan would involve charging for tickets to the show, and the funds would go toward the goal of intermixing art into classrooms.
She wants to begin with Clovis Unified before Fresno Unified, then “hopefully throughout California.”
Tormey never expected to compete in a pageant. However, her friend Katelen Weisenberger—who was crowned Miss Clovis last year—convinced her to try.
“I never thought I was that kind of person, but I was just myself the whole way through,” Tormey said. “I feel very blessed to be Miss Clovis, and I’m really grateful that people believe in me.”
Tormey will demonstrate her talent at Miss California by singing “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys.
A liberal studies student with a certificate in special event planning, Tormey plays an active role at Fresno State.
She belongs to the Phi Mu sorority, and she worked with Associated Students, Inc. as a planner for the dance marathon held on Saturday at Fresno State.
Tormey sees the work that goes into the competition as positive. She said she is learning how to be organized and is becoming better at interviews.
While challenging, competing in a pageant is something that Tormey believes is a good experience for anyone interested.
“I would encourage anyone to get involved, whether you think you have a chance at winning or not,” Tormey said. “I didn’t when I first started it, [and] here I am going to Miss California.”
The Miss California competition will hand out $13,000 worth of college scholarships. The grand prize awards $5,000, and the runner-up will receive $1,500.
Competition is fierce, and those who are chosen to go to the pageant will also have Miss America to look forward to if they are crowned Miss California.
The last Miss Fresno County nominee who won Miss California was Karen Pursell in 1967.
Miss Clovis winner Tiffany Stoker became the third runner-up for Miss America after winning Miss California in 1995.
In the pageant, the women must demonstrate their attributes in five different competitions, including an interview, on-stage questionnaire, as well as demonstrate eveningwear and fitness in a swimsuit.
Marie Theurich, executive director for Miss Fresno County, has been a part of the program for many years.
Theurich has seen many good results come from Fresno State contestants.
“All of my Fresno County’s, I’m proud to say, went to Fresno State.”