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.

Music Mania

For as long as I can remember, listening to music has always been my escape from my world while relaxing in peace. Throughout my school years, I listened to my Ipod while doing homework and studying for exams and while journal writing, I keep soft music playing in the background. In my house, a Pandora station is always on and the beats of the music keep me dancing in between hair brush strokes and more importantly, feeling alive! So in order to help keep my nerves down during pageant weekend, I figured I’d compile a list of my favorite songs and create a “Miss California Latina” playlist on my 2007 Ipod.*

Normally, one would ask why not just add the playlist or listen to Pandora on my Iphone however, I can not and will not take the chance of bad service or reception in the hotel leaving me without music. Though I have no idea how the weekend will play out, I know that I will at least feel more “at home” with my favorite tunes ringing in my ear buds.

Growing up, I was introduced to various genres of music from the people who raised me: parents, babysitters, the Catholic church, and TV. I’d like to think I have a wide and random taste for music so it’s not going to be a big surprise that my playlist will jump from songs from The Partridge Family to Blink 182 to Julieta Venegas. To people going through my Ipod, these random, completely different languages and messages may be a bit too much when trying to get a feel as in to who I am as a person but I think having a mixture of songs and genres shows just how diverse and culturally aware the average Latin American woman is today.

*Rock out to some of the artists I’ll be listening to with me:
Ace of Base
All American Rejects
America
Ariana Grande
Banda el Recodo
Banda Carnval
Brandon Heath
Chris Brown
Doobie Brothers
Gerado Ortiz
Hall and Oats
La Arrolladora Banda Limon
John Legend
Mandy Moore
Mary Wells
Metro Station
Patti Drew
Toby Mac
Toy Box
We the Kings
Will.I.Am

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.

LatinoUSA on NPR

I had an amazing thing happen to me last week: I was invited to be a guest speaker on LatinoUSA on NPR. Yes, that’s right…this opportunity meant I’d be part of something HUGE. I received an email from the producer of LatinoUSA in Harlem, New York, asking if I’d like to be part of a panel discussing body image with the Latina and pageant industry. I was so in shock because NPR was something all of my journalism classes listened to at SJSU and the prominent journalists, in my eyes, were definitely high and mighty-celebrity like. After the initial pre-interview phone call, we finalized last minute details and like a child excitedly waiting for Christmas morning all year long, November 1st, my Christmas, finally came arrived.

Once my sister and I showed up to the station, we quickly set up shop and began mic checking and as soon as I knew it, the segment had begun with journalist and moderator, Maria Hinojosa, introducing me as “Blogera* Kassandra Peña, Miss San Jose Latina.” The conversation also included proud feminist and “Blogera” Patricia Valoy in which we all discussed how body image has changed over the years and what we think the future holds for Latinas. Eventually, the segment came to a final close and it was such an amazing feeling to hear my blog address and more importantly, my name be announced on air. Participating in an interview like this just made me even more determined to make a name for myself within the Latina social media community. I felt as if I were doing exactly what I was meant to be doing in life and I truly was at my highest self of fulfillment.

Though the conversation will be edited and aired within the next two weeks, I am so grateful the Miss California Latina organization exists. I would have never had the opportunity to be on NPR if it weren’t for the pageant and my creation of this very blog-how LatinoUSA contacted me. The “Big Day” is now just 26 days away and up to this point, I have had many great opportunities with just my title alone that no matter what happens, I still am walking away as a winner.

Ps- Please visit my “Photos” page to view a picture at the studio

*Blogera is the latest and trendiest “Spanglish” name given to a Latina woman who is a blogger.

Love,
Kassie P.

The Countdown

In exactly one month from today, I will be competing for Miss California Latina and I am so excited! It seems surreal to think one year ago, I was barely filing out the organization’s paperwork to begin the process. Earlier this week, all of the contestants received a handful of emails outlining the pageant’s weekend…and it is something I definitely am looking forward to. Some of the events include attending a Purple Carpet Media Event and lots of dress rehearsals throughout the day!

Now that the pageant is weeks away, I definitely have noticed more anticipation and nervousness within myself. Though these feelings have sometimes kept me tossing and turning before bed, thinking of how the weekend will play out, I know I am more excited than anything else. Years ago, I would have never imagined myself entering a pageant and having all of the great support and opportunities I’ve had thus far. The countdown is officially on and I am totally ready to put San Jose on the map!

Love,
Kassie P.

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.

 

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