Miss California

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Miss California
TypeScholarship pageant
Miss America
Key people
Russ Gladden (CEO)
WebsiteOfficial website

The Miss California competition selects the representative for the state of California in the Miss America competition.

The pageant began in Santa Cruz in 1924 and was held there in 1925. During the years 1926 through 1946 in years when the Miss California pageant was held, the competition was primarily in San Francisco and Venice, California. In 1947, it returned to Santa Cruz and was held there annually until 1985, after which it moved to San Diego in response to years of protests and a "Myth California" counter pageant organized by local feminist activists led by Ann Simonton and Nikki Craft.[1][2][3][4] It has been held in Fresno, California since 1994.[5][6]

Catherine Liang of San Francisco was crowned Miss California on June 25, 2022 at the Paul Shaghoian Memorial Concert Hall Fresno, California. She competed for the title of Miss America 2023 at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut where she was a Women in Business Finalist and Non-finalist Talent Winner.

Gallery of past titleholders[edit]

Results summary[edit]

The following is a visual summary of the past results of Miss California titleholders at the national Miss America pageants/competitions. The year in parentheses indicates the year of the national competition during which a placement and/or award was garnered, not the year attached to the contestant's state title.



Preliminary awards[edit]

Non-finalist awards[edit]

Other awards[edit]


  •   Declared as winner
  •   Ended as a runner-up
  •   Ended as a finalist or semi-finalist
Year Name Hometown Age Local Title Miss America Talent Placement at Miss America Special scholarships at Miss America Notes
2022 Catherine Liang San Francisco 22 Miss San Francisco Piano Women in Business Finalist

Non-finalist Talent Award

2021 Jazmin Avalos[7] Garden Grove 24 Miss Los Angeles County Vocal
2019–20 Eileen Kim[8][9] Orange 22 Miss Culver City Violin Top 15[10]
2018 MacKenzie Freed[11] Lodi 23 Miss Treasure Island Vocal, "Hit Me With a Hot Note"
2017 Jillian Smith[12] Grass Valley 22 Miss Yosemite Valley Piano, "Malaguena"
2016 Jessa Carmack[13] Santa Clara 22 Miss North Bay Gymnastics Dance Top 10[14] Previously Miss California's Outstanding Teen 2011[15]
Finalist at Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2011 pageant
2015 Bree Morse[16] Garden Grove 23 Miss Orange Coast Tap Dance, "Land of a Thousand Dances"
2014 Marina Inserra San Diego 24 Miss Yosemite Valley Vocal, "Bring Him Home" from Les Misérables
2013 Crystal Lee[17] San Francisco 22 Miss Silicon Valley Ballet en Pointe, "The Dying Swan" 1st runner-up[18] STEM Scholarship Award Previously Miss California's Outstanding Teen 2008[19]
Top 10 at Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2009 pageant[20]

Previously Miss Chinatown USA 2010[citation needed]

Cousin of Miss Louisiana 2016, Justine Ker[21]
2012 Leah Cecil Garden Grove 22 Miss Southern California Regional Classical Harp, "Great Day" by Nancy Gustavson Contestant at National Sweetheart 2011 pageant
2011 Noelle Freeman Carlsbad 22 Miss Culver City Ballet en Pointe, "The Black Swan Variation" from Swan Lake 4th runner-up Previously Miss Teenage California 2007
2010 Arianna Afsar[22] San Diego 19 Miss San Diego County Vocal, "I (Who Have Nothing)" Top 10[23] Previously Miss California's Outstanding Teen 2005[24]
1st runner-up at Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2005 pageant[24]

Top 36 contestant on American Idol's 8th season[25]

Was cast as Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton in the Chicago production of Hamilton[26][27]
2009 Kristy Cavinder Orange 21 Miss Yosemite Valley Ballet en Pointe, "The Slave Maiden Variation" from Le Corsaire 1st runner-up Preliminary Talent Award
2008 Jackie Geist Vacaville 22 Miss Hollywood Ballet en Pointe, "The Dying Swan" Top 7
2007 Melissa Chaty[28] Ukiah 24 Miss North Coast Operatic Vocal, "The Jewel Song" from Faust Top 8 Previously Miss Teenage California 2003
2006 Jacquelynne Fontaine Moorpark 24 Miss Santa Barbara County Operatic Vocal, "Vissi d'arte" Top 10 Preliminary Talent Award
2005 Dustin-Leigh Konzelman Carlsbad 23 Miss San Diego Fiddle, "Twelfth Street Rag" Non-finalist Talent Award

Preliminary Talent Award
Contestant on The Amazing Race 10 with Kandice Pelletier, Miss New York 2005[citation needed]
2004 Veena Goel Laguna Hills 22 Miss Southland Jazz Dance, "Hot Honey Rag" from Chicago 4th runner-up Preliminary Talent Award Contestant at National Sweetheart 2003 pageant
2003 Nicole Lamarche Berkeley 24 Miss San Francisco Vocal, "At This Moment" 4th runner-up Final Night Swimsuit Award

Preliminary Swimsuit Award
Contestant at National Sweetheart 2001 pageant as Miss Arizona
2002 Jennifer Glover Castro Valley 23 Miss Contra Costa County Contemporary Vocal, "A New Life" from Jekyll & Hyde Contestant at Miss International 1999 as Miss USA

Previously Miss California USA 2001
2001 Stephanie Baldwin Fullerton 23 Miss Northern California Regional Vocal, "Time to Say Goodbye" Top 20
2000 Rita Ng Tracy 22 Miss Los Altos Classical Piano, "Sonata Appassionata" 2nd runner-up Miss America Scholar Award

Preliminary Talent Award
1999 MaryAnne Sapio Rohnert Park 21 Miss Gavilan Hills Tap Dance, "Go Daddy-O" Non-finalist Talent Award
1998 Danielle Coney Santa Clara 21 Miss Gavilan Hills Vocal, "A Piece of Sky" from Yentl Non-finalist Talent Award

Waterford Business Scholarship
1997 Rebekah Ann Keller Lakewood 22 Miss Los Angeles County Vocal, "Someone Like You" from Jekyll & Hyde 4th runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award Later Miss California USA 2000
1996 Lyndsay Kahler Orange 22 Miss City of Orange Vocal, "Where Is It Written?" from Yentl
1995 Tiffany Stoker[29] Clovis 21 Miss Clovis Vocal, "Think of Me" from The Phantom of the Opera 3rd runner-up[30] Preliminary Swimsuit Award Previously America's Junior Miss 1992[31]
1994 Jennifer Hanson La Habra 21 Miss Garden Grove Vocal, "Since I Fell for You" Non-finalist Talent Award
1993 Lisa Michelle Duncan Tulare 21 Miss Tulare County Character Ballet, "Turkey in the Straw" Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1992 Patricia Northrup Agoura Hills 23 Miss Los Angeles County Vocal Medley Pilot for American Airlines[citation needed]

Judge for the Miss America 2001 pageant[citation needed]
1991 Paige Adams Hemet 22 Miss Los Angeles County Vocal, "Some Day My Prince Will Come" Previously Alaska's Junior Miss 1986

Judge for the Miss America 2008 pageant[citation needed]
1990 Maria Ostapiej La Mesa 24 Miss San Diego North County Vocal Medley, "Phantom of the Opera" & "Angel of Music" Non-finalist Talent Award
1989 Wendy Berry San Pedro 22 Miss Centinela Valley Classical Ballet, "The Black Swan" from Swan Lake Professor at Harvard University[citation needed]
1988 Marlise Ricardos San Pedro 26 Miss Lomita Dramatic Vocal, "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Misérables 3rd runner-up
1987 Simone Stephens Cerritos 25 Miss El Camino Stand-up Comedy
1986 Lisa Kahre Salinas 19 Miss San Ramon Valley Flute, "Carnival of Venice" Non-finalist Talent Award
1985 Lisa Davenport Santa Cruz 23 Miss San Mateo County Popular Vocal, "Once in my Lifetime" Previously named Miss California 1982 when the original winner, Debra Maffett, won the Miss America 1983 pageant

Became the first titleholder to hold a state title twice[citation needed]
1984 Donna Grace Cherry[32] Northridge 21 Miss West Los Angeles Vocal, "Quando me'n vo"[33]
1983 Shari Moskau Mission Viejo 19 Miss Saddleback Valley Popular Vocal, "Greatest Love of All"
1982 Lisa Davenport Santa Cruz 20 Miss Tulare County Did not compete; later assumed the title after Maffett won Miss America 1983
Later Miss California 1985
Debra Maffett Anaheim 25 Miss Anaheim Popular Vocal, "Come In From the Rain" Winner[34] Preliminary Swimsuit Award

Preliminary Talent Award
1981 Cheryl Vancleave Riverside 20 Miss Los Angeles County Country Vocal Medley, "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool" & "You're Lookin' at Country" Later married Frank Kalil[citation needed]

Mother of Ryan Kalil and Matt Kalil[citation needed]
1980 Robin Brooks Elverta 23 Miss Fullerton Vocal Medley, "America the Beautiful" & "Battle Hymn of the Republic"
1979 Deanna Rae Fogarty Azusa 22 Miss Azusa Vocal, "Cabaret"
1978 Christine Acton Chula Vista 23 Miss San Bernardino County Flute / Piccolo, "Hungarian Peasant Suite" Non-finalist Talent Award
1977 Connie Lee Haugen Redlands 24 Miss San Bernardino County Vocal, "Nobody Does It Like Me" from Seesaw Top 10
1976 Linda Mouron Orange 19 Miss Orange County Tap Dance, "Puttin' On the Ritz" 3rd runner-up
1975 Janet Carr San Gabriel 21 Miss Pomona Valley Vocal, "They Call the Wind Maria" from Paint Your Wagon 2nd runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1974 Lucianne Buchanan Claremont 21 Miss Pomona Valley Harp, "Concerto in B Flat" 1st runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award Assumed title when the original winner, Alice Tobler, resigned due to mononucleosis[citation needed]
1973 Susan Shipley Hillsborough 21 Miss San Joaquin County Piano, "Malaguena" Top 10
1972 Diane Wagner Daly City 20 Miss San Mateo County Ballet, "Swan Lake"
1971 Carolyn Stoner Belmont 18 Miss San Mateo County Gymnastic Ballet, "Malaguena" Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1970 Karin Kascher Castro Valley 18 Miss Hayward Violin, "Méditation" Non-finalist Talent Award
1969 Susan Anton Yucaipa 18 Miss Redlands Vocal, "Get Happy" & "Put On a Happy Face" 2nd runner-up Actress best known for her role as "Susan Williams" in the various Stop Susan Williams!-related television series and television movies[citation needed]
1968 Sharon Terrill Torrance 21 Miss Torrance Dramatic Reading, "Little Word, Little White Bird" by Carl Sandburg Non-finalist Talent Award
1967 Karen Pursell Lindsay 22 Miss Fresno County Vocal, "Much More" from The Fantasticks
1966 Charlene Dallas Danville 19 Miss Contra Costa County Piano, "Toccata" by Khachaturian 1st runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award

Preliminary Talent Award
Assumed title when the original winner, Donna Danzer, resigned for school and personal reasons[35]
1965 Sandra Lynne Becker Covina 18 Miss Los Angeles County Semi-classical Vocal, "Make Believe" Non-finalist Talent Award
1964 Sherri Raap Fremont 18 Miss Oakland Jazz Baton Dance & Acrobatics Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1963 Wendy Douglas Sacramento Miss Sacramento Vocal, "Summertime" Top 10
1962 Pamela Gamble Carmel 18 Miss Monterey County Classical Jazz Interpretive Dance
1961 Susan Henryson Fresno 19 Miss Fresno County Vocal, "You've Got to See Momma Every Night" Top 10 Miss Congeniality

Preliminary Talent Award
1960 Suzanne Reamo La Mesa 20 Miss San Diego Vocal, "Love is Where You Find It" 1st runner-up
1959 Susan Bronson San Lorenzo 19 Miss Southern Alameda County Modern Dance, "An American in Spain" 3rd runner-up
1958 Sandra Jennings Riverside Miss Riverside Piano, "Clair de Lune" 3rd runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1957 Lorna Anderson Sacramento Miss Sacramento Accordion, "Dark Eyes" 3rd runner-up
1956 Joan Beckett Sacramento Miss Sacramento Dramatic Sketch, "A Dream: Faith Over Atheistic Sciences" Top 10 Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1955 Barbara Harris Santa Cruz Miss Watsonville Vocal, "Over the Rainbow"
1954 Lee Meriwether San Francisco 19 Miss San Francisco Dramatic Monologue from Riders to the Sea Winner[36] Preliminary Swimsuit Award Actress best known as Betty Jones in the 1970s television series Barnaby Jones
1953 Patricia Johns Fresno Miss Fresno Dramatic Monologue from The Country Girl Top 10 Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1952 Jeanne Shores Azusa Miss Alhambra Dramatic Monologue 2nd runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1951 Patricia Lehman Sacramento Miss Sacramento Piano
1950 Joanne Durant San Diego Miss San Diego Vocal / Poetry Recitation, "Alice Blue Gown" Top 16 Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1949 Jone Pedersen Santa Rosa Miss Sonoma County Dramatic Monologue, "You Will Come Back" 4th runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1948 Reba Watterson Stockton Miss Stockton
1947 Laura Emery Salinas 18 Miss California Vocal, "So Long for so Long" 4th runner-up Multiple California representatives

Contestants competed under local title at Miss America pageant
Marilyn Davidson Los Angeles Miss Los Angeles County Vocal / Dress Design, "A Sunday Kind of Love"
1946 Marilyn Buferd Los Angeles 21 Miss Wilshire District Dramatic Monologue from Accent on Youth Winner Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1945 Polly Ellis Tarzana Miss California Vocal, "Ragtime Cowboy Joe" Top 13 Preliminary Talent Award Multiple California representatives

Contestants competed under local title at Miss America pageant
Phyllis Mathis San Diego Miss San Diego Hula 1st runner-up
1944 Shirley Ballard Los Angeles Top 12
1943 Jean Bartel Los Angeles 19 Vocal, "Night and Day" Winner Preliminary Swimsuit Award

Preliminary Talent Award
1942 Lucille Lambert Hollywood Miss Hollywood Vocal, "Embraceable You" 4th runner-up
1941 Rosemary LaPlanche[37] Los Angeles 18 Dance Winner Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1940 17 Dance 1st runner-up[37] Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1939 Marguerite Skliris San Francisco Miss San Francisco Dramatic Monologue, "The Poison Scene" from Romeo and Juliet 3rd runner-up Preliminary Talent Award
1938 Claire James Los Angeles Miss Los Angeles Dance 1st runner-up
1937 Phyllis Randall Hollywood 20 Miss Hollywood Vocal / Dance 3rd runner-up (tie) Preliminary Talent Award Sister of Miss North Carolina 1941, Joey Augusta Paxton[citation needed]
1936 Phyllis Dobson Hollywood Miss Hollywood Drama 1st runner-up Preliminary Talent Award
1935 Virginia Donham San Francisco Miss San Francisco Vocal, "Chlo-e" & "I Ain't Got Nobody" Top 12
1934 No national pageant was held[38]
1933 Blanche MacDonald Miss Venus de Milo N/A[39] 2nd runner-up
1932 No national pageants were held[38]
1927 Ruby Smith Miss Oakland N/A[39] Top 15 Multiple California representatives

Contestants competed under local title at national pageant
Naoma Farrand Miss San Francisco
Bertha Weizel Miss Santa Cruz Top 15
Louise Heathman Miss Southern California
1926 Eleanor Twohig Miss San Francisco Competed under local title at national pageant
1925 Fay Lanphier Oakland 19 Miss California Winner Multiple California representatives

Contestants competed under local title at national pageant
Adrienne Dore Miss Los Angeles 1st runner-up
Edyth Flyn Miss San Francisco
Yetta Haber Miss Santa Cruz
1924 Lillian Knight Miss Los Angeles 3rd runner-up Multiple California representatives

Contestants competed under local title at national pageant
Fay Lanphier 18 Miss Santa Cruz 2nd runner-up
Irma Frazier Miss Oakland
1923 Violet Regal[40] San Francisco Miss San Francisco Competed under local title at national pageant
1922 Katherine Grant[41] Los Angeles Miss Los Angeles Multiple California representatives

Contestants competed under local title at national pageant
Tanssia Zara[42] San Francisco Miss San Francisco
No California representative at Miss America pageant[43]


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  13. ^ "North Bay's Jessa Carmack is crowned Miss California 2016 in Fresno". fresnobee. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
  14. ^ Wiegle, Lauren (September 11, 2016). "Miss America 2017 Pageant: Top 10 Contestants Revealed LIVE". Heavy.com.
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  27. ^ "UCLA alumna Ari Afsar lands role in Chicago production of 'Hamilton'". Daily Bruin. September 16, 2016.
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  29. ^ "BYU Student Is Crowned Miss California for 1995". Deseret News. July 10, 1995.
  30. ^ Roberts, Roxanne (September 17, 1995). "Miss Oklahoma Wins, So Does Pageant Tradition". The Washington Post.
  31. ^ "Miss California "Woman of Year"". Cumberland Times News. June 29, 1992. p. 2.
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  39. ^ a b Schnitzspahn, Karen (September 8, 1997). "There She Was – Miss Long Branch". Asbury Park Press. Asbury Park, New Jersey. p. 4 – via Newspapers.com. ...talent contest that was established in 1935.
  40. ^ "Extra Attraction". The San Francisco Examiner. San Francisco, California. August 22, 1923. p. 11 – via Newspapers.com.
  41. ^ "Reporter, Dazzled by Beauty of Six Pageant Entrants - Sees Hard Job Ahead for Judges". The Indianapolis Times. Indianapolis, Indiana. September 5, 1922. p. 1.
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  43. ^ "1921 Candidates". Miss America.

External links[edit]