What Makes A Beauty Queen?

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last year when she had just become Miss Long Beach.  Now, this intrepid gal is going for the gold.  Miss California, watch out!  You may have met your match in this happy-go-lucky, big-hearted, lovely girl nerd (no really, she gets excited about new versions of excel and does accounting as a hobby!). Good luck Monique, you make KCRW proud!

My name is Monique Villa. I am a KCRW Volunteer and, more recently, a beauty queen. I was crowned Miss Long Beach 2011 and on January 6-8, 2012 I will be the first KCRW volunteer in the history of KCRW volunteerism to compete for the Miss California USA title.

How did this happen? Like most success stories, it all started with being a broke college student. The Miss Long Beach 2011 pageant held on November 7th, 2010 promised $1,500 in prize money, enticing me to enter just a week before. I didn’t spend a penny to prepare and opted to wear my old prom dress for the evening gown segment (not to mention, I was the only contestant in a one-piece bathing suit).

The night before the pageant I watched Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality to take notes on how the ‘contestants’ in the movie walked, answered questions, etc. etc.

I didn’t tell a soul about my entry to the Miss Long Beach pageant and while many contestants had entire cheering sections, my boyfriend Andrew and my dad stood lovingly in the back of the room as my support team.
Long story short, a celebrity panel of judges (Susie Castillo, Shandi Finnessey, Andrea Preuss, Ryan Choura) crowned me Miss Long Beach 2011.

The cliché thing would have been to cry while getting crowned. Me? The pictures in the Press Telegram and every other publication show me mid-laugh as I’m getting bombarded with a sash, crown and bouquet of roses. I didn’t have the pageant coaching nor experience my competitors had; I showed up, answered questions honestly, and stayed true to myself.

I started volunteering for KCRW through the January Pledge Drive in 2009. Pledge drives turned into a weekly shift in the KCRW office, along with various events ranging from the SunSets at Santa Monica Place to the KCRW Masquerade Ball. I moved up through the ranks and was invited to serve as Production Assistant for nighttime DJs Garth Trinidad and Raul Campos, while continuing volunteer work for events. Due to a demanding course load at UC Irvine and juggling three part-time jobs in Long Beach, I switched to morning shifts as a Production Assistant on Morning Becomes Eclectic with Jason Bentley.

I’ve always been the girl in blue jeans wearing no makeup, especially when heading into the KCRW studio. Yet, somehow, an impromptu entry to a local pageant has evolved into an entire year as Miss Long Beach 2011 representing Greater Long Beach in the upcoming Miss California USA 2012 pageant.

To follow my updates leading up to the big weekend, become a fan of my Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/monique4missca