Be a princess—or a queen! Rose Parade Royal Court applications are open for 2019

The 2018 Royal Court: center, 100th Rose Queen Isabella Marez; clockwise from top right, Rose Princesses Georgia Cervenka, Savannah Bradley, Lauren Buehner, Alexandra Artura, Sydney Pickering, and Julianne Lauenstein

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Each year, the Tournament of Roses takes seven regular, yet extraordinary, young women and turns them into a Royal Court with six princesses and one Rose Queen. Applications opened today for the 130th Rose Parade, to be held on Jan. 1, 2019. The women will represent the Tournament and City of Pasadena in the parade and at the 105th Rose Bowl Game, and perform duties from the time of selection through the selection of the next court in 2019. More information is available on the Royal Court webpage and the online application here.

The first round of tryouts is held over two days, Saturday, Sept. 8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Monday, Sept. 10 from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.at Tournament House, 391 S. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena. Schools are assigned specific time slots, but if an applicant cannot be there at that time, she may come during any of the tryout hours. In the first round, each applicant has 15 seconds in front of the Queen & Court Committee to state her badge number and why she wants to be on the Royal Court. The 11-member selection committee will not ask any questions nor ask the applicant to begin speaking.

Advice from previous Court members is to be confident, be genuine, and be yourself. The Tournament suggests wearing something that feels comfortable, reflects the girl’s personality, and will make a good first impression. This columnist has noticed that almost all the girls wear dresses, and many wear the same dress for the entire round of interviews. Participants are selected based upon a combination of qualities, including public speaking ability, poise, academic achievement, and community and school involvement.

To participate, an applicant must

  • Be a female, at least 17 years of age by December 31, 2018, and not more than 21 years of age before January 5, 2019
  • Be a resident of the Pasadena Area Community College District and able to provide verification of residence
  • Be a senior in high school or enrolled as a full-time student (minimum 12 units) in any accredited school or college in the Pasadena Area Community College District
  • Possess at least a 2.0 grade point average in both the current and previous years’ course work and able to provide verification of same
  • Be available to participate in person in all scheduled interview sessions
  • Register and complete the official Royal Court online application

At the tryouts, former Royal Court members brief applicants on what to expect and are available to answer questions. Tours of the historic Wrigley Mansion are offered and all the applicants are gifted with a rose, photo, official Rose Parade poster, and a ticket for two to the Royal Ball, a semi-formal dance hosted by the Tournament of Roses at the Pasadena Convention Center on Sept. 14.

Most of the 100 or so appearances occur from mid-October to the first week in January. For the many hours they serve, the young women on the Royal Court receive both tangible and intangible benefits. They serve in a world-renowned volunteer community, develop public speaking and etiquette skills, and receive a small educational scholarship, full wardrobe for appearances, and professional hairstyling, make-up application and instruction. Former Royal Court members also say they make lifelong friends.

The Royal Court is chosen from a field of around 900 applicants. Approximately 250 participants will be invited back for a second round of interviews; from that group, about 75 young women will be asked to participate in the third round of interviews. In late September, approximately 25 to 35 candidates will be announced as finalists. The seven-member Royal Court will be announced on Oct. 1 at Tournament House. The announcement and coronation of the Rose Queen is scheduled for the evening of Oct. 23.