Mariah for Miss Teen California

Mariah for Miss Teen California

Courtesy of Mariah Picou

As Miss Teen California 2011 comes around, senior Mariah Picou tries to set exemplary behavior and beauty to represent Downey natives. Picou's intentions have been to show young girls to have confidence, be unique and graceful.

Irene Luna and Irene Luna

Senior Mariah Picou began pageantry in 2009 when she was crowned a Miss Teen Downey Princess with Lauren Brasov, and Sandy Fernandez, also a senior, as Miss Teen Downey 2009.  The Miss Teen Downey/Miss Downey pageant has been sponsored by the Downey Rose Float Association since 1955 and invites young ladies between the ages of 13-15 (teen) and 16-23 (miss) to participate.

“I watched the Jr. Miss Downey pageant and what the little girls don’t understand is they have to enjoy the experience,” Picou said.  “They’re put under so much pressure, and it breaks their hearts when they don’t win.  The experience is the much more enjoyable part because I’ve met so many wonderful people through this.”

The winners of the Miss Downey Court attend events like Downey Rose Float fundraisers, the Street Faire, Kids Days, Concerts in the Park, the Parade of Winners, the Mr. Downey competition, the Downey Holiday Lane Parade, and the Pasadena Tournament of the Roses Parade.  Candidates also receive gifts and scholarship offers.

“We meet at orientation and they teach us walks, introductions, and interviews, but after that, we’re on our own,” senior Lauren Brasov, Miss Teen Downey Princess 2009, said.  “We have to be witty and have a clever response because at any moment, they [judges] can ask us a random question.”

Picou is entered in the Miss Teen California pageant for 2011, which is held in Palm Springs at the Rivera Palm Springs Hotel on the weekend of Nov. 19-21.  If she wins, she is automatically entered in the Miss Teen U.S.A. Pageant for 2011.

Picou has met many new people though pageants, even some she might call her best friends, because they all share common goals and have common interests.  Girls from all over the city, county, state, even the country come together because of one reason: to win.

“It’s [pageants] really brought out her good qualities, and she’s definitely more responsible,” Sandy Fernandez said.

Picou feels pageantry gives older girls a chance to be a role model for younger girls who look up to them for inspiration.  Contestants have a chance to show who they are, what they represent, improve their social skills, and gain the opportunity to give back to the community.  If she wins, Picou would like to work with breast cancer organizations, providing them with the publicity they need to be successful.