My Miss California Teen USA Pageant Experience

Just a few weeks ago I participated in the Miss California Teen USA 2015 pageant in Long Beach, CA and I still think about my experience every day! I grew up watching the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA pageants and they’ve always been a big deal in my house. I’ve always been a huge fan of pageants and of our Miss CA USA titleholders so to actually compete in the pageant felt surreal and like a dream come true! I remember when we first stepped onto the stage for rehearsal and my heart was racing. I couldn’t believe that I was actually there and had the opportunity to reach for such a huge dream of mine. The pageant weekend began at noon of Friday January 9th and ended on Sunday night, January 11th; it was a weekend of little sleep, lots of rehearsals, sore feet, and many fun memories. It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Most people would expect it to be a time of anxiety and stress but for me it wasn’t—I felt very confident in knowing that I had trained and worked hard in the months leading up to that weekend. I arrived calm and ready to start. It might seem cliché, but for me, the most amazing part of the weekend was being around a group of more than 65 girls my age who shared the same goals and aspirations. All of the girls were respectful, charismatic, and so willing to help others. I’m so proud of my Top 20 placement and know it wouldn’t have been possible without the love and support I’ve had along the way. This experience has reminded me that no dream is too big and that life is about risk—we must go after the things we dream of, even if it means making ourselves vulnerable. Ultimately, I trust in God’s plan and am confident in my dreams and goals for the future. Dream Big!


Leona Koxha

Miss Teen San Diego Cities 2014

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