Nine Valley women will be among the contestants competing for the Miss California crown in the annual pageant that begins June 28 in Fresno.
One of 49 women will be crowned Miss California and will advance to the Miss America pageant this September in Atlantic City, N.J.
The Saroyan Theatre in downtown Fresno will host the competition for the 22nd consecutive year. The young women will be interviewed by judges, answer questions on stage, demonstrate a diverse array of talents, and model in swimsuits and evening gowns.
Regional contestants are:
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▪ Kelsey Schulteis, Miss Fresno County: The 23-year-old attends Fresno State and is studying for a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She aspires to be a lawyer and plans on attending the San Joaquin College of Law. She will perform opera for her talent. Her platform is “Every Life Matters; Live, Love, Give.” She has a 4.0 GPA and has rescued six animals.
▪ Elise Barco, Miss Clovis: Barco, 19, is from Clovis and is majoring in civil engineering at Fresno State. She will perform a jazz dance routine. Her platform is “Generation of Genius,” promoting an increased female presence in STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. She is a member of her college’s dance team and was crowned Miss Fresno County Outstanding Teen in 2014.
▪ Kayla Seffing, Miss Tulare County: Seffing, 21, is from Visalia and attends College of the Sequoias. She will perform a tap dance routine to “Bad” by Michael Jackson. Her platform is “Back to Back,” which donates backpacks to local children and teens in the foster system being transferred from their homes. She has also auditioned for “The Voice.”
▪ Frances Wilson, Miss Kings County: Wilson, 20, is a first-generation college student who attends Fresno State. She is a criminology major and hopes to work in law enforcement. Wilson will present a dress she designed that transforms “From Rags to Riches” for her talent. Her platform is “Dropout Prevention Among Child Protective Services Children.” She is a PG&E Bright Mind Scholar.
▪ Savannah Albright, Miss Central Valley: Albright, 20, is from Tulare and attends College of the Sequoias, studying communications, business and marketing. She will perform a musical theater number titled “Show Off” from “The Drowsy Chaperone.” Her platform is “Reading Will Take You Places,” and her famous saying is, “Well, it makes sense in my head.”
▪ Kathryn Faull, Miss San Joaquin County: The 23-year-old is a first-generation college graduate from Humboldt State University majoring in kinesiology. She will perform a tap dance routine, and her platform is “Fighting Hunger at Home.” Faull has met and performed with Weird Al Yankovic.
▪ Mary Loera, Miss Merced County: Loera, 18, is from Atwater and is a student at Buhach Colony High School. She will play the piano. Her platform aims to integrate mentally disabled students in the community. She is a Hawaii native and has logged 333 hours of community service.
▪ Rita Garabet, Miss Sierra Nevada: Garabet, 22, is a Glendora native who graduated from the University of Redlands in 2015. She plans to go to dental school. Garabet will perform a ballet en pointe routine and her platform, “It Can Wait,” discourages texting and driving. She has visited five countries in Europe and the Middle East and has helped with a day care in Lebanon.
▪ Heidi Cheung, Miss Yosemite Valley: Cheung, 23, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a double major and a double minor and plans to attend law school. Her platform is advocating cancer awareness, and she will play her own arrangement of “Moonlight Sonata” on the piano for her talent. She enjoys Thai boxing and teaching piano.
If you go
Where: Saroyan Theatre, 730 M St., Fresno
When: Preliminary competition: Tuesday-Thursday at 7 p.m. Final competition: Miss California Outstanding Teen, 5:30 p.m. July 1, Celebration, 7 p.m.; Miss California, 5:30 p.m. July 2, Miss California Gala, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: Live streaming tickets, $10/night Tuesday-Friday, $15 Saturday, or $30 for all five nights; Venue tickets, $25-35 June 28-30, $40-50 July 1-2, or five-day pass from $120+, available from Ticketmaster or at the door.