Miss Southwest County titleholders crowned

Southwest California Pageants crowned eight new queens on June 28. They will serve the communities of Southwest Riverside County for 2014-2015.

Margaret Aebel of San Jacinto, was crowned Miss Southwest County. Her court members are Teen Miss Jessica Lawrence of Murrieta, Jr. Teen Michelle Golstab of Lake Elsinore, and Pre-Teen Miss Mary Garza of Temecula.

This year’s pageant was held at La Sierra High School in Riverside. The Saturday evening pageant included an opening a dance number, sportswear and evening gown competitions and an on-stage question. Personal interviews were conducted earlier that day to help judges determine who would be selected as Miss Southwest County in each division.

Also, earlier that day, the children’s pageant crowned four titleholders. They are Junior Miss Hailey Ana Tovar of Temecula, Little Miss Arianna Estada of Riverside, Pixie Miss Skyy Vollan of Anza, and Petite Miss Peyton Skillman of Hemet.

“The young women and girls selected today will serve as goodwill ambassadors for Southwest Riverside County and their local communities. They take on the responsibilities of being a role model to their peers,” said Southwest California Pageants Director Anne Bowman. “SWC Pageants emphasizes community service as a way of building leadership skills and self-confidence. We want these young women to be proud of themselves because of what they have accomplished, not what they look like.”

The annual pageant is open to girls and unmarried women from ages three to 22 who reside in Riverside County. All contestants in middle school and high school are required to submit a letter from their school counselors verifying that they are good standing academically and not under any disciplinary action. Teen and Miss contestants take part in rehearsals and training prior to the pageant to prepare for the competition.

During their reign they will attend numerous community functions, chamber of commerce mixers, grand openings, parades and philanthropic and charitable functions.

“It feels amazing,” Aebel said about being crowned Miss Southwest County. “I actually get to go out in my community and meet the mayors and other people and do community service throughout Southwest County.”

Aebel, 21, has been doing pageants on and off since she was five and has won other titles. She was an Oceanside Princess in 2011, Miss French Valley in 2012 and was first runner-up Miss San Jacinto in 2012 and 2013.

Her first duty as Miss Southwest County was being in the San Jacinto Fourth of July Parade. “It was exciting,” she said.

Aebel recommends entering pageants to other girls because they are a good way to learn communication skills, build confidence, develop poise and earn money for education. She’s a student at Mt. San Jacinto Community College and wants to become a registered nurse.

Lawrence, 17, is a senior at Vista Murrieta High School and plans to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C. to study pre-medicine and become a doctor. Like Aebel, she’s been in previous pageants and won titles. She was Junior Teen Miss Inland California in 2012 and Young Miss City of Temecula in 2013.

Lawrence started entering pageants when she was about 12 because she wanted to become more of a lady and less of a tomboy. Her family has been supportive, especially her mother. “My mom loves to brag about me,” she said, laughing.

Aebel and Lawrence have high regard for Bowman and how she trains pageant contestants to achieve their best.

“She’s a really great director and role model,” Aebel said.

“I love Anne,” Lawrence said. “She’s so professional.”

For pageant information, or to schedule an appearance by Miss Southwest County and her court, contact Bowman at (951) 541-9163.

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