Miss California

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Jessa Carmack, Miss California 2016
Bree Morse, Miss California 2015
Crystal Lee, Miss California 2013
Leah Cecil, Miss California 2012
Kristy Cavinder, Miss California 2009
Melissa Chaty, Miss California 2007
Jacquelynne Fontaine, Miss California 2006
Rita Ng, Miss California 2000
Susan Anton, Miss California 1969 (photograph taken in 2001)
Lee Meriwether, Miss California 1954 and Miss America 1955 (photograph taken in 2008)

The Miss California competition is the pageant that selects the representative for the state of California in the Miss America pageant. Miss California has won the Miss America crown six times:

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" counterpageant organized by local feminist activists led by Ann Simonton and Nikki Craft.[1][2][3] It has been held in Fresno, California since 1994.[4][5]

Jillian Smith of Grass Valley was crowned Miss California on July 1, 2017 at William Saroyan Theatre in Fresno, California. She will compete for the title of Miss America 2018 on September 10, 2017 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Results summary[edit]

The year in parentheses indicates the year of the Miss America competition the aware/placement was garnered.



Preliminary awards[edit]

Non-finalist awards[edit]

Other awards[edit]

Local pageants[edit]

As with many other Miss America state pageants, delegates first must qualify by winning a local pageant. Local titles that have produced more than one Miss California are:

  • Miss Los Angeles County- Sandra Lynne Becker (1965), Cheryl Vancleave (1981), Paige Adams (1991), Patricia Northrup (1992), Rebekah Ann Keller (1997)
  • Miss Hollywood- Phyllis Dobson (1936), Phyllis Randall (1937), Lucille Lambert (1942), Jackie Geist (2008)
  • Miss San Francisco- Virginia Donham (1935), Marguerite Skliris (1939), Lee Meriwether (1954), Nicole Lamarche (2003)
  • Miss Sacramento- Patricia Lehman (1951), Joan Beckett (1956), Lorna Anderson (1957), Wendy Douglas (1963)
  • Miss San Diego- Joanne Durant (1950), Suzanne Reamo (1960), Dustin-Leigh Konzelman (2005)
  • Miss San Mateo County- Carolyn Jean Stoner (1971), Diane Wagner (1972), Lisa Davenport (1985)
  • Miss Yosemite Valley- Kristy Cavinder (2009), Marina Inserra (2014), Jillian Smith (2017)
  • Miss Contra Costa County- Charlene Diane Dallas (1966), Jennifer Glover (2002)
  • Miss Gavilan Hills- Danielle Coney (1998), MaryAnne Sapio (1999)
  • Miss San Bernardino County- Connie Lee Haegen (1977), Christine Louise Acton (1978)
  • Miss Pomona Valley- Lucianne Buchanan (1974), Janet Jaye Carr (1975)
  • Miss Fresno County- Susan Henryson (1961), Karen Pursell (1967)
  • Miss Los Angeles- Claire James (1938), Rosemary LaPlanche (1941)


Year Name Hometown Age Local Title Miss America Talent Placement at Miss America Special scholarships at Miss America Notes
2017 Jillian Smith[6] Grass Valley 22 Miss Yosemite Valley Piano TBD TBD
2016 Jessa Carmack Santa Clara 22 Miss North Bay Gymnastics Dance Top 10 Previously Miss California's Outstanding Teen 2011

Previously Miss Santa Clara 2015
2015 Bree Morse[7] Garden Grove 23 Miss Orange Coast Tap Dance, "Land of a Thousand Dances" Miss Orange County 2014

Miss North County 2013

Miss Garden Grove 2012

2014 Marina Inserra San Diego 24 Miss Yosemite Valley Vocal "Bring Him Home" Miss Monterey Bay 2013

Miss Culver City 2012

Miss San Diego 2011

Miss Northern California 2010

Miss San Diego's Outstanding Teen 2008

2013 Crystal Lee San Francisco 22 Miss Silicon Valley Ballet en Pointe "The Dying Swan" 1st runner-up STEM Scholarship Previously Miss California's Outstanding Teen 2008

Previously Miss Chinatown USA 2010

Cousin of Miss Louisiana 2016, Justine Ker[8]
2012 Leah Cecil Garden Grove 22 Miss Southern California Regional Classical Harp "Great Day" by Nancy Gustavson Contestant at National Sweetheart 2011

Miss Garden Grove 2011
2011 Noelle Freeman Carlsbad 22 Miss Culver City Ballet En Pointe "The Black Swan Variation" from Swan Lake 4th runner-up
  • Winner of the 2007 Miss Teenage California Scholarship Pageant
  • Later competed at Miss California USA 2015 and failed to place
  • Miss City of Orange 2008
2010 Arianna "Ari" Afsar San Diego 19 Miss San Diego County Vocal "I Who Have Nothing" Top 10 Previously Miss California's Outstanding Teen 2005
1st runner-up at Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2005

Top 36 contestant on American Idol 8

Currently Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton in the Chicago production of Hamilton[9][10]
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 Runner-up in the Miss Teenage California Scholarship Pageant
2007 Melissa Chaty[11] Ukiah 24 Miss North Coast Operatic Vocal "The Jewel Song" from Faust Top 8 Winner of the 2003 Miss Teenage California Scholarship Pageant
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" Preliminary Talent Award, Non-finalist Talent Award Contestant on The Amazing Race 10 with partner Kandice Pelletier (Miss New York)
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
2003 Nicole Lamarche Berkeley 24 Miss San Francisco Vocal "At This Moment" 4th runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award, Final Night Swimsuit Award Contestant at National Sweetheart 2001 as Miss Arizona
2002 Jennifer Glover Castro Valley 23 Miss Contra Costa County Contemporary Vocal "A New Life" from Jekyll & Hyde Top 10 at the 1997 Miss Teenage California Scholarship Pageant, Contestant at Miss International 1999 as Miss USA, 1st runner-up at Miss Oktoberfest 2000, 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 Preliminary Talent Award, Miss America Scholar 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 Miss California USA 2000
1996 Lyndsay Kahler Orange 22 Miss City of Orange Vocal "Where Is It Written?" from Yentl
1995 Tiffany Stoker Clovis 21 Miss Clovis Vocal "Think of Me" 3rd runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award America's Junior Miss 1992
1994 Jennifer Hanson La Habra 21 Miss Garden Grove Vocal "Since I Fell for You" Non-finalist Talent Award Country music singer/songwriter
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, Judge for the Miss America 2001
1991 Paige Adams Hemet 22 Miss Los Angeles County Vocal Medley "Some Day My Prince Will Come" Alaska's Junior Miss 1986, Judge for the Miss America 2008
1990 Maria Ostapiej La Mesa 24 Miss San Diego North County Classical 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 Harvard Professor
1988 Marlise Ricardos San Pedro 26 Miss Lomita Dramatic Vocal "I Dreamed a Dream" 3rd runner-up
1987 Simone Stephens Cerritos 25 Miss El Camino Stand-up Comedy
1986 Lisa Kahre Salinas 19 Miss San Ramon Valley Flute Solo "Carnival of Venice" Non-finalist Talent Award
1985 Lisa Davenport Santa Cruz 23 Miss San Mateo County Popular Vocal "Once in my Lifetime" Assumed the title in 1982 when Debra Maffett won Miss America & became the 1st such titleholder to win a state title and compete at Miss America.
1984 Donna Cherry Northridge Miss West Los Angeles Impersonations / Vocal "Quando me'n vo"
1983 Shari Moskau Mission Viejo 19 Miss Saddleback Valley Popular Vocal "Greatest Love of All"
1982 Lisa Davenport Santa Cruz 20 Assumed the title when Debra Maffett won Miss America, Miss California 1985
Debra Maffett Anaheim 25 Miss Anaheim Popular Vocal "Come In From the Rain" Winner Preliminary Swimsuit Award, Preliminary Talent Award
1981 Cheryl Vancleave Riverside 20 Miss Los Angeles County Country Western Vocal Medley "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool" & "You're Lookin' at Country" Married Frank Kalil, Mother of Ryan Kalil and Matt Kalil
1980 Robin Brooks Elverta 23 Miss Fullerton Patriotic Vocal Medley "America the Beautiful" & "Battle Hymn of the Republic"
1979 Deanna Rae Fogarty Azusa 22 Miss Azusa Vocal "Cabaret" Toured with Miss America USO Troupe, Featured performer for several Miss America pageants in the early 80s
1978 Christine Louise Acton Chula Vista 23 Miss San Bernardino County Flute / Piccolo Solo "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 Michelle Mouron Orange 19 Miss Orange County Tap Dance "Puttin' On the Ritz" 3rd runner-up Toured with Miss America USO Troupe
1975 Janet Jaye 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 Toured with Miss America USO Troupe; Assumed the Miss California title when the original winner, Alice Tobler, resigned due to Mononucleosis.
1973 Susan Kaye Shipley Hillsborough 21 Miss San Joaquin County Piano "Malaguena" Top 10
1972 Diane Wagner Daly City 20 Miss San Mateo County Ballet "Swan Lake" Toured with Miss America USO Troupe
1971 Carolyn Jean 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, Toured with Miss America USO Troupe
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 Diane Dallas Danville 19 Miss Contra Costa County Piano "Toccata" by Khachaturian 1st runner-up Preliminary Swimsuit Award, Preliminary Talent Award Featured Performer at Miss America 1967 Telecast; Assumed the Miss California title when the original winner, Donna Danzer, resigned during the coronation gala for school and personal reasons.
1965 Sandra Lynne Becker Covina 18 Miss Los Angeles County Semi-classical Vocal "Make Believe" Non-finalist Talent Award
1964 Sherri Lee 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 Preliminary Talent Award Miss Congeniality, Featured performer at Miss America 1962
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 Maid of Cotton 1960
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 "Riders to the Sea" Winner Preliminary Swimsuit Award Actress best known as Catwoman in the 1966 Batman movie
1953 Patricia Johns Fresno Miss Fresno Dramatic Monologue "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 Miss Salinas Vocal "So Long For So Long" 4th runner-up
Marilyn Davidson Los Angeles Vocal / Dress Design "A Sunday Kind of Love" Competed as Miss Los Angeles County
1946 Marilyn Buferd Los Angeles 21 Miss Wilshire District Dramatic Monologue "Accent on Youth" Winner Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1945 Polly Ellis Tarzana No Locals Vocal "Cowboy Joe" Top 13 Preliminary Talent Award
Phyllis Mathis San Diego Hula 1st runner-up Competed as Miss San Diego
1944 Shirley Ballard Los Angeles No Locals
1943 Jean Bartel Los Angeles 19 No Locals 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 Los Angeles 18 Miss Los Angeles Dance Winner Preliminary Swimsuit Award
1940 17 Dance 1st runner-up 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 Preliminary Talent Award Sister of Miss North Carolina 1941 Joey Augusta Paxton
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
1933 Blanche MacDonald Miss Venus de Milo 2nd runner-up
1927 Bertha Weizel Miss Santa Cruz Top 15 Assumed the title when the original winner, Billie Copeland, was disqualified for being a professional actress. Ruby Smith competed as Miss Oakland and was a semi-finalist. Naoma Farrand competed as Miss San Francisco and Louise Heathman from San Diego competed as Miss Southern California, despite the fact that Linda Burrage had been crowned the winner of that pageant and Almo Ingraham had been announced as the 1st runner-up.
1926 Aloha Porter Miss Venice Eleanor Twohig competed as Miss San Francisco.
1925 Fay Lanphier Oakland 19 Miss Alameda Winner Also representing California were: Adrienne Dore, Miss Los Angeles, who placed as 1st runner-up; Edyth Flynn competed as Miss San Francisco and Yetta Haber competed as Miss Santa Cruz.
1924 Fay Lanphier won the title of Miss California 1924, competing as Miss Alameda. After being crowned, the local committee decided that, for Miss America purposes, she would be considered Miss Santa Cruz since that is where the competition was held. Miss Lanphier was the first contestant at Miss America to represent an entire state and placed as 2nd runner-up. Curiously, the first Miss Santa Cruz, Mary Black, won the title in 1924, but she was the official hostess for the state-wide competition and was not allowed to compete. Lillian Knight competed as Miss Los Angeles and was a Finalist. Irma Frazier competed as Miss Oakland.
1923 No Miss California Violet Regal competed as Miss San Francisco and was a Finalist. Vera King competed as Miss Long Beach.
1922 No Miss California Angela Grant competed as Miss Los Angeles.


  1. ^ "Police Arrest 11 Demonstrators in Protest of Pageant", Associated Press in Oxnard Press-Courier, June 17, 1986.
  2. ^ Bacon, Amity (2005-05-22). "Miss California Pageant united the community and served as a platform for protest". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-05-18. 
  3. ^ Kirsten Anderberg, "Radical body politics for women", KirstenAnderberg.com 2004
  4. ^ Hoagland, Doug (2007-07-01). "Pageant crowns San Diego woman". Fresno Bee. Archived from the original on 2007-08-13. Retrieved 2007-07-01. 
  5. ^ "Miss California History". Miss California. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ Panoo, Ashleigh (July 1, 2017). "Miss California crowns its champ, and the winner is …". The Fresno Bee. 
  7. ^ Santos, Nicole (June 27, 2015). "Miss Orange Coast wins Miss California crown". The Fresno Bee. Fresno, CA: McClatchy. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  8. ^ "52 Fun Facts About This Year's Miss America Hopefuls". Cosmopolitan.com. 11 September 2016. 
  9. ^ "Casting for Chicago’s ‘Hamilton’ announced". Chicago Sun-Times. July 13, 2016. 
  10. ^ "UCLA alumna Ari Afsar lands role in Chicago production of ‘Hamilton’". Daily Bruin. September 16, 2016. 
  11. ^ Associated Press (2007-07-01). "Miss North Coast Melissa Chaty wins 2007 Miss California crown". The Lompoc Record. Retrieved 2007-07-01. [dead link]

External links[edit]