2013 Miss California Pageant Contestant Luzzei Tsuji Represented Valencia
Luzzei Tsuji never thought she would compete in a pageant, before she decided to compete in the 2013 Miss California Pageant.
“It was a really rewarding experience,” Tsuji said. “I was just so nervous.”
Tsuji represented Valencia while two other contestants from the Santa Clarita Valley, Katie and Lauren, also competed in the Miss California Pageant.
Tsuji considers herself privileged to be trained by professional walking coach, Lu Sierra. Not only has Sierra been a host for many other state pageants, but she has also trained 3 crowned pageant winners in 2012. Tsuji said that Sierra gave her great advice that helped her throughout the pageant.
“She was really powerful,” Tsuji said. “When I trained with her, she just helped me a lot in life.”
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Sierra encouraged Tsuji to avoid negative attitudes throughout the competition and to wake up every morning with positive affirmations.
Before the competition began, Tsuji had a perception of the pageant as being a “vain establishment.”
“I thought it was not something that girls should do because it is kind of superficial,” Tsuji said.
Reflecting on her experience, Tsuji said that pageants are not all about the superficial aspects, but more about building self confidence. Instead of picking the winner who is the prettiest or most fit, the pageant is judged on how the girls execute during the competition.
“It’s all about execution and how confident you are,” Tsuji said. “Your personality has to shine through.”
Tsuji said that her competitors refer to the girls who have undergone plastic surgery or physical enhancements as “Pageant Patties” because they look too “pageanty” and that was not what the judges were looking for.
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The most important parts of the pageant are to be yourself and show your confidence, Tsuji said. Judges are looking for the girls who make eye contact with them and have a strong walk. They want the girls to be more than just a pretty face.
“It’s based on who the girl is underneath the dress,” Tsuji said. “You have to have this personality that shines through.”
The pageant took place in Pasadena over three days. The first day was the preliminary round and consisted of interviews with the girls. Day two was when the girls walked the runway in their gowns and swimsuits. On the last day, only the top 20 finalists competed in their same gowns and swimsuits. Miss California was crowned on the last day and she went on to compete in the Miss USA Pageant.
“It was really cool watching the Miss USA Pageant and seeing Miss California walk down the runway. She was one of the girls I ate lunch with,” Tsuji said.
The hardest part of the pageant was having to get yourself ready, Tsuji said. The girls were not allowed to have any makeup artists or hairstylists help them out and the room that they had to get ready in did not have enough mirrors for them to use. Tsuji said that she might have had an easier time if her support system was with her. But, family and friends were not allowed backstage, they were only allowed to watch from the audience.
Tsuji enjoyed her time competing at the Miss California Pageant. Since there is an age limit of 25 to participate, she said she might compete next year since she is only 24. Tsuji said that she gained a lot of confidence from the pageant and learned a lot about herself.
“It taught you that you can’t let other people have a power over you,” Luzzei said. “You have to be happy with your own sense of self worth.”