Lights, Camera, Action!

I came, I saw, I conquered…in Swimwear and Fitness that is! I’m very proud and excited to share with you I won “Best in Swimwear and Fitness” at Miss California Latina! As you know, I competed this past weekend and boy oh boy, did I have an experience of a lifetime! Below is a quick overview of all three days at Miss California Latina in Pasadena, California.

Day 1
We began our journey to the pageant around 4:30am from the Central Valley and eventually we arrived to the hotel where girls filled the hallways with luggages, evening gown dress covers and curlers set in their hair. We checked in where I received my Opening Number dress, shoes, jewelry and two piece bikini. Luckily during our fittings, I ran into a friend I had met through social media knowing we would be seeing one another at the pageant where she introduced me to other girls she met earlier in the day. I then said my goodbyes to my family and pageant weekend had officially began. For the majority of the day, we practiced our dance routines, took group photos and settled ourselves into our hotel rooms. In the evening, we attended our Purple Media Carpet event where we introduced ourselves to guests and took media pictures.

Day 2
Our Saturday began around 7am where we continued our dance rehearsals and patiently waited for our one on one interviews that took up the majority of the day. We also took our bikini group photos and ate dinner at California Pizza Kitchen.

Day 3
On our last day, we ran through the entire show multiple times and set up and finalized our beauty stations to get ready for the show. We didn’t have much time to relax since we were definitely on the go since 6am with about five hours of sleep.

Finally, it was 6pm and the Miss California Latina show was ready to begin. With girls running like crazy all around backstage, woman parts hanging out and all, it definitely was a fun chaotic environment since there was only about three minutes in between outfit changes. Eventually the show came to an end and once I was awarded with my certificate, I knew in my heart that all this work paid off and I was leaving home as a winner. After taking pictures and changing into comfortable clothes and much needed flats for my swollen and blistered feet from wearing heels all weekend long, my family and I headed back to home sweet home but not before making a pit stop at no other than…McDonalds!

To be honest, I’m not sure if I’ll ever do another pageant again but signing up for Miss California Latina has given me a whole new perspective on pageants and what it means to be a supportive and an encouraging woman. Some of the girls I met (who had past titles and pageant knowledge under their belts) genuinely cared about everyone’s success and future goals just as much as their own and it was amazing to know I had support from girls I had met just a few days prior. I am so thankful to everyone who has cheered me on throughout this year and I am glad I am coming home with an award and new friendships. I have had an amazing year as Miss San Jose Latina and I am definitely looking forward to the new and unexpected opportunities that are coming my way.

Now, I’d like to take a moment and also thank all of my blog followers and everyone else who has stopped by and visited. I am very thankful you all took the time to read my posts giving me the energy to continue my writing posts. I hope you enjoyed reading some of my pageant experiences and I look forward to having you join me on my next blog adventure, The Kassie Khronicles*. Thank you again and I sincerely appreciate you all and your words of encouragement.

Love,

Kassie P.

*Once my blog is up and running, I will hyperlink The Kassie Khronicles so that you may find me and join me.

PS- Please feel free to see pictures from the pageant under my “Photos” page. Also, I was featured in another article where you can read more about me under my “Press” page.

Here We Go!

Seven. Days. Left. Yes that’s right, Miss California Latina is exactly one week away. Next Sunday, at this very hour I will either be the next reigning queen or I will look back on this amazing year and still feel a great sense of satisfaction. Everything I need for the pageant is set in stone and ready to go: travel plans, makeup and hair looks, and freshly steamed outfits.

I have had such an amazing time preparing for the pageant and I am honestly able to say I’m ready to be living the actual experience. I have been waiting exactly one year for this day and now that it’s right around the corner, just amazes me. I have had so much support from my family and close friends and knowing I have all of their best wishes and positive vibes is giving me that extra boost of confidence I need. I’ve sent a few questions via email to the pageant coordinator about certain details throughout the weekend but I also figured it’d be best for me to just go with the flow and experience the mystery as the days go on.

According to our itinerary, we will be busy from about 7am to 11pm throughout the entire weekend and the only time we’ll be in any contact with our families is on Sunday, the final day. Though I’d like to spend some time with my family to shake off some last minute jitters, I know I will be having a great time participating in interviews, photo shoots and outfit fittings. Out of all of the events that will take place, I really am looking forward to the personal one-on-one interviews (taking place on Saturday). I feel this is truly going to be my perfect opportunity to really connect with the judges and allow them to get to see my true self. Plus, who doesn’t like to talk about themselves?!

I’m so thankful for everything that has come my way as Miss San Jose Latina and I am so ready to see what doors will open for me next week!Love,
Kassie P.

Behind the Scenes

My favorite day of the week is Sunday because I get to visit my parents and spend some quality time with them while taking advantage of a quarter free laundry system, of course. I keep all of my most prized possessions at my parents house so it wasn’t a big surprise that I’d keep all of my pageant odds and ends tucked away in my old room’s closet. In a previous post, I mentioned I was almost done purchasing all of my outfits items and thankfully today marked the final shopping day for all of my pageant gear meaning a complete head-to-toe dress rehearsal was definitely necessary.

After about two hours of makeup, hair and outfit changes, I was finally done! I practiced walking in all of my outfits (evening gown especially) and adjusted a few buttons here and there. I am so happy I have everything set because this is just one less thing on my mind now that the pageant is exactly two weeks away.

A lot of my friends have been asking if I’m getting nervous but in complete honesty, I’m getting very excited. I am having the time of my life soaking up all of these opportunities and experiences that I’ve had that being part of the pageant has given me and I’m now ready to actually be in Pasadena!

Love,
Kassie P.

SoleExpo

When I was a Junior at San Jose State University, I interned for Bay Area’s legendary TV and Radio host, Chuy Gomez. Though he was usually out and about doing guest appearances and promotions, I definitely took advantage of my time as an intern learning as much industry knowledge as possible. Now I’m not sure if I got lucky or if Chuy just keeps a good relationship with all interns but we never stopped communicating post internship duties. Chuy has been a great help in giving me advice career wise while promoting a few of my past accomplishments so when he found out I was Miss San Jose Latina, he definitely wanted to help me get the proper exposure.

Last Saturday, Chuy invited me to the second annual SoleExpo* event on the East Side of San Jose. The event was held to help local venders sell and promote personal clothing lines and authentic urban style shoes. Since my family was on our way to Fresno immediately right after, I was not able to stay as long as I would have liked to but I definitely was able to interact with guests and of course, shop. What made this event more special was that I was accompanied by my older sister who hasn’t really had the opportunity to come to events with me since she usually is swamped with third year law school assignments or papers. Eventually, it was time to get on the road but I was happy to make another appearance on the same day my blog hits surpassed 3,000 views!

*To view a picture of myself and Chuy please visit my “Photos” page.

Love,
Kassie P.

Operation Safeway

Though this pageant life is a new and an unexpected experience for me, I must say I am quite content with all of the opportunities that have come my way. I have met so many people and have gone to exciting events with my sash but one of the greatest perks of being a titleholder is being able to create and promote causes. As you know from a previous post, Santa Clara County definitely has its fair share of poverty and in a somewhat bittersweet feeling, I’m happy I get to work directly with some of these low income community members every single day. These fun, emotional, “too-cool-to-talk-to-you teenagers” constantly remind me how blessed and fortunate I am, and I’m probably 99.9% sure they don’t even know it. When a student tells me she wakes up at 5am because her mom couldn’t afford their house anymore and now travel from a distant city or how a family of five lives in a motel, I’m reminded but more importantly, motivated, to use the resources I have to help in any way.

Seven years ago, I met my best friend. My family had moved second semester of Senior year of high school to a new city (yes, I know, horrible!) and Felicia was the only person who gave the new kid any type of attention. We immediately clicked, mostly due to our faith, and our friendship blossomed and it wouldn’t be much longer until I’d learn exactly how many great connections pastors make throughout their community. Grocery stores like Safeway for example, would donate TONS of food on a weekly basis to her parent’s church so members including myself always left with some yummy treats. Fast forward until present day, it only made sense that I’d bring the “Safeway leftovers” to my work and have it distributed to the teens listed under the “Emergency Funds for Families”*. With the school’s permission and gratitude, “Operation Safeway” was underway. Unfortunately, the past few weeks didn’t pan out as planned: either a miscommunication amongst the Safeway distributor and our church member food picker-upper occurred or some other mishap took place, causing me to come to work empty handed. Luckily this week was different. Safeway must have known I had a ton of kids to feed because it took me a good 20 minutes to pack and stuff my Honda with over 200 loaves of healthy whole wheat bread, french rolls, and baguettes!

As school officials helped me unload all of the bread onto a golf cart, they couldn’t stop thanking me for sharing all of the food. Though I was happy they were happy, I honestly didn’t feel a sense of pride that this was my doing or my idea…I thought, “Well of course I’d bring this food, how could I not? Is there another choice I could have made?” We started dividing all of the bread into baggies for the teens in need when some of the office ladies decided we should start a weekly pantry system for our kids. I’d be in charge of bringing the majority of donated food and they’d provide pasta and sauce and other non-perishable food items. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to physically pass out the bread to the students since I needed to be elsewhere in the school but I was told the kids had looks on their faces as if they had been awarded 1 million hall passes. I was told the teens were overjoyed and it had been an unexpected surprise for many. According to the school Registrar, one student said, “My mom is going to be so happy…we’re going to eat.”

Love,

Kassie P.

*To read more about Emergency Funds for Families, please scroll down to “The Platform I Need”

Back to the Basics

If you were to ask my family how I studied for exams and presentations during elementary and early middle school years, they’d probably cringe at the very thought of those oh so memorable years, right Mom?! You see, many of those pre-test-nights consisted of me bawling my eyes out laying faced down on the kitchen table literally suffering trying to memorize facts and those horrible irrelevant math word problems! My mom (who I’m pretty sure wanted to strangle me a few times during these melt downs) patiently tried to help me figure out new ways to study and when her patience ran out, in came the switch-a-roo and boom!…my older sister was there for the rescue, that was until she’d toss the papers in the air out of frustration and say, “Mom, it’s your turn.” Eventually, I learned my personal style of studying and once high school and college came around, I hardly ever asked for help and was always above a 3.0 GPA.

When I at last figured out writing in sections, dividing questions and answers in parts and circling and boxing in phrases was my style of remembering, I wasn’t surprised since after all, I’m a writer. I learned when I began writing down notes or key words that needed to be remembered, it was imprinted in my head. Once the test or presentation came, I was then able to visualize my study guide and know exactly there had been three key points about that one subject on the left hand side of my notes and four facts about the other topic underneath of it, circled. I remember multiple professors asking me during tests if I was okay since I’d have a burning look within my eyes staring at the whiteboard or at my classmate’s shirt, when in reality all I was doing was visualizing my notes. 

Over these past few months, I’ve had the great opportunity to discuss my personal beliefs on politics and world and local issues with my family that I feel I may be asked during pageant weekend. In my head, I’ve kept tabs on certain key points I’d like to hit just in case I am asked those questions but since almost anything is game, obviously that’s a whole lot of key points I’d need to store in my memory bank! Then, it dawned on me…why not keep a small journal of all my pageant related thoughts, beliefs and facts?! I knew this was going to be ideal for pageant weekend and I’d “study” and review everything throughout the weekend. Though I will not of course memorize everything word for word, I know having my journal will help reduce the nervousness. My journal will symbolize everything I’ve done thus far to make it to the pageant and it will be the ultimate reminder that I already have all of the answers…for my writing pieces are not ordinary things to simply be memorized;  they are what is written inside of my heart.

 

“MGPTF”

Today I had the most amazing opportunity to be part of San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s “Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force” (MGPTF) Community Town Hall meeting. As mentioned in a previous post, San Jose is plagued with youth violence and though city statistics show gang related crime is down 18 percent from last year, it still remains an issue for the nation’s fourth largest city. The meeting was held at a high school in the East Side of San Jose, where one can usually find some type of gang related graffiti or tagging on almost every street corner. Dozens of San Jose residents, young and old, poured into the gymnasium where the facilitators introduced themselves and stated what department they were associated with (SJPD, SJFD, Parks & Rec. etc). We later broke into groups where we could voice our opinions and desires of what needs to change to keep our communities safe. At the end of our team discussions, we were then to present to the entire body our top concerns.

I’ve always heard when groups of passionate advocators come together for a good cause, positive changes are made. So it wasn’t surprising to see out of seven large groups, six groups felt the number one factor the city of San Jose needs to focus on is educating parents on the overall notion of gangs. Presenters stated parents need to be more involved and more aware of what’s happening within our communities and more importantly, to their children. Many felt San Jose should hold parent programs paralleled with schools that focus on gang prevention and include other avenues of awareness like alcohol abuse and mental health issues. Today was the first of four MGPTF meetings that will be held in various districts of San Jose and once all Town Hall gatherings are completed, Mayor Chuck Reed and Council Members will compile all of the notes and ideas and will create a strategic plan that will be implemented by 2016.

At the end of the gathering, I also had the opportunity to be interviewed by Peninsula Press on why I showed up and what I hope for the future of San Jose. I talked about my Miss San Jose Latina title and platform and though the interview was short, I felt it prepared me for when it’s really my time to shine during pageant weekend.

Love,
Kassie P.

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