Rae Jillian Rivera, a STEM major at Long Beach State, was crowned Miss Long Beach Sunday night.
The pageant presented 35 contestants across five divisions and three rounds. The contestants met on pageant day at the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple for only an afternoon of rehearsals — something that is unheard of in the pageant world.
Justin Rudd, a Long Beach community leader, took charge of the Miss Long Beach & Miss Southern California Cities pageant in 2009. Since then he has revised the event to make it more humble.
“We don’t have swimwear, we don’t have a talent competition [and] we don’t have an athletic wear competition,” Rudd said. “ It is just a casual wear and [an] evening wear [portion].”
Pageant division breakdown:
- Little Miss: Ages 6 to 10 years old
- Teen: Ages 13 to 18 years old
- Miss: Ages 19 to 30 years old, never married, and no children
- Ms.: Over 18 years old and divorced or widowed; or over 18 years old and not legally married with at least one child; or over 31 years old and not legally married.
- Mrs.: Over 18 years old and currently married.
The Ms. division, added in 2017, is the most recent division added to the pageant.
The Miss Long Beach & Miss Southern California Cities pageant are also known for encouraging participants to express their individual styles. Contestants are encouraged to show up with funky hairstyles, piercings or tattoos.
As master of ceremonies, Rudd introduced the audience to the sitting judges, ranging from previous title holders to community leaders, to start the show. One-by-one the contestants came out to introduce themselves and the sold-out audience kept its high energy throughout the entire round.
Each division presented around six to 11 contestants who started with casual wear, evening wear and then an on-stage questions round.
The pageant draws a big crowd every year, and many say it’s because of how inclusive it is. Not many pageants offer Ms. and Mrs. divisions.
“It’s important to honor moms,” said Jennifer Zinn, a Seal Beach resident and supporter of Daryllen Stone, who was later crowned the winner of the Mrs. Long Beach division.
During the on-stage questions round, contestants were asked questions about their hobbies, day-to-day lives and philanthropic activities.
While the judges took a break to compare scores, the 10 current titleholders of the 2019 Miss Long Beach & Miss Southern California Cities pageant came up on stage to speak about their experiences and what they accomplished during their reigning year.
Many of them spoke about their favorite community events that they were able to participate in, such as the Turkey Trot, beach cleanups and parades.
All the contestants were present on center stage as each Long Beach and Southern California Cities runner-ups and winners were announced.
The full list of winners can be found here.