Hello, Again!

By: ray.perry : October 09, 2012

It’s been a little over a month since we’ve talked, but a lot has happened already! I am continuing my preparation for Miss America, which consists of lots of Pilates, eating healthy, designing my wardrobe with Gregory Ellenburg, and lots of interview prep! It has been very busy, but I am loving life.

Last month, I had my official homecoming party in my hometown of Garden Grove. Over 150 guests attended including Garden Grove Mayor Dalton and the city council, Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen, over 20 fellow Miss CA contestants, my wonderful committee, and my family and friends. There was some amazing entertainment from the All-American Boys’ Chorus and from seven of my “pageant” sisters. My former director, Kati Enea, is the one I have to thank the most! She planned the whole party with the help from volunteers Stacy Margolin and Connie Lema. I have to mention that I put several bags of pistachios on each table, and everybody was happy! There is so much support in the Miss California Organization!

I also got to visit the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, which is something that I always love to do! Normally when I visit the hospital, I bring my harp to play in the hallways and private rooms. This time, I was able to simply visit with the sweet kids. One girl even made me a beautiful bracelet with red beads, which I wore at the Angel’s Game I wrote about below. CHOC Children’s is only one of the many phenomenal children’s hospitals in California! It is always memorable at CHOC!

A couple days after CHOC, I was asked to throw the first pitch at the Angel’s Baseball game! I was supposed to sing the national anthem, but they brought in a sweet girl to sing instead. I’m glad she had the opportunity to sing! I was still able to participate in a very fashionable way! Normally, public figures or big-time fans throw the first pitch, so luckily for the Angels I am both! I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous once I got on the mound, but I kept my eye on the catcher’s mitt and I just went for it! I threw like the pros do, with my leg lifted to help me wind up and my right arm throwing over-hand with all my might! The pitch I threw would have been a “ball” if a batter were at plate, but the whole stadium was impressed! As I walked back to the field entrance, the Angels players were at the front of their dugout cheering me on. That was pretty cool! I feel so lucky and blessed to have these opportunities, especially when they are near my hometown!

Last month, I also took a trip to San Diego, where I had a lot more fun events! First, I had the privilege of attending a Marine Corps graduation ceremony at the San Diego Recruitment Base. That was so fantastic to watch. There were 598 young Marines graduating from boot camp, and it was very emotional. When you realize the hardships and challenges they faced at camp, it is so rewarding to see how they achieved their goals and earned a new milestone in their life. I was invited to sit in the General’s VIP box and watch it from the front row! General Yoo was so nice to invite me there! While in San Diego, I stayed with Vangie Regan, who housed Miss California for 20 years! She is one of the nicest people I have ever met! She was an amazing tour guide! I traveled with my favorite business manager, Chelle Hyde. We had the best time together! After the graduation, we headed over to Sea World. I had not been to Sea World since I was 12 years old so I was especially excited to see the dolphins again! While I was at Sea World, I got to take official photos with the dolphins, pilot whales, and the most adorable of all- the penguins! It was such a thrill to visit the marine animals! The next day was fully dedicated to the USS Midway. I had never been to the Midway before so this was going to be a whole new adventure! We had a VIP tour and we were taken through all the exhibits. It was so amazing to see what the sailors lived through and how hard they worked to keep the ship in tact! My trip to San Diego will forever be one of my Miss CA highlights!

Well that is all for now, but the adventures have not ended! In the meantime, I have more prep to do for Miss America and the 3-month countdown has officially started! In the next few weeks, keep an eye out for my “People’s Choice” video where you can vote to make me win the 15th slot in the top 15 at Miss America! I am going to need all the help I can get! Stay in touch with me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube!

Until next time,
Leah Cecil
Miss California 2012