Miss Marin County Beauty Pageant 101

The Miss Marin County Beauty Pageant is celebrating its 30th year of helping young women showcase their talents and education while supporting local charities. There are actually two pageants: Miss Marin Outstanding Teen, and Miss Marin County. The age range for Miss Marin County contestants is 17-24, and they must either reside in Marin, go to school, or work a minimum of 40 hours in the county. Girls age 13-17 may compete for Miss Marin Outstanding Teen. All contestants cannot have been married, and must be a US citizen.

The Miss America pageant began as something of a publicity stunt in 1920, when Atlantic City businessmen sought to extend their summer season, and sponsored a photography contest that led to trips, prizes, and a beauty contest, with the winner coming to be known as “Miss America.” Its mission, according to its website, is to help young women “promote their voices in culture, politics, and the community.” Nationally, contestants volunteer thousands of hours of community service, and have raised more than $13-million for Children’s Miracle Network. The Marin pageant also helps support non-profits including Rotary Club and Novato Youth Center.

Locally, the annual contest is run by The Miss Marin County Scholarship Organization which is the official local preliminary to the Miss California and Miss America pageants. This year’s pageant will be held at 2:00 pm on Sunday, Nov. 20th, at Dominican University in San Rafael. Each contestant will have to answer a question about current events and social issues, perform a talent, and model an evening gown and swimsuit. There will also be an upbeat dance number featuring all the young women hoping to win the two crowns.

Regardless of whether they win, each contestant gets scholarship money for college, and the opportunity to have their voices heard on important issues. This year, the Marin pageant will award more than $6,000 in scholarships to 9 young women, and will also help support non-profits including the Rotary Club. The winner of Miss Marin County goes on to the Miss California pageant, and if she wins there, she will compete to be Miss America. Along the way, she will be a role model, making numerous public appearances, and speaking to community groups and schools about her platform- the social issue about which she is trying to raise awareness.

Miss Marin County is a wonderful tradition, and great opportunity to empower and teach young women how to feel strong, confident and beautiful.