At last Friday’s reception for “Royals of Pasadena” at Pasadena Museum of History, 20 former and three current Royal Court members gave the classic Rose Parade wave.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
The invitation said “Royal attire encouraged.” The Rose Examiner did not have royal attire, but we were in the courtly spirit at the reception for members of the Rose Parade Royal Court, past and present, at Pasadena Museum of History’s exhibit “Royals of Pasadena” on Sept. 8. More than 20 Rose Queens and Princesses attended. Each one received a special tiara from Laura Verlaque, Director of Collections as she entered. We were able to talk with several of the Royals, as well as one of the curators of the exhibit.
Be sure to check out the photo gallery in this article, and the stories of the Rose Queen crowns in the article below.
Gowns and wardrobe items were solicited from members of Royal Courts across the decades. Verlaque said that originally, PMH was going to send letters to the entire list of prior Court members that the Tournament of Roses had provided. Then, right before the letters were to go out, she realized that was a tremendous number of women, so the requests were limited to those who still lived in California. Even with that, 75 gowns were offered.
Elissa De Angelo is one of a group of volunteers who preserve the textiles in the PMH collection, and prepare them for display. As the dresses came in, she altered the mannequins to fit the dresses. “Boobs, shoulder pads, clothes from each decade were worn differently,” she said. Some of the dresses had to be cleaned or steamed, with care to the kind of fabric. She said a hair dryer was used to blow the dust off silk garments, because silk could not be cleaned.
“The French Hand Laundry was very helpful with offering expertise,” De Angelo said. (The business, a Pasadena fixture, has operated since 1912.) For more about PMH textile exhibits, read “Fabulous Fashions” (pdf).
She called our attention to the most recent dress, a sapphire gown worn by 2017 Rose Princess Shannon Larsuel. Asked if any of the queens had worn their dresses in their weddings, she directed us to the 1949 white gown worn by Queen Virginia Bower. Both are pictured in the photo gallery.
Beverlie Anderson MacDuff was a Rose Princess in Queen Virginia’s court. “I had a wonderful time,” she said. “I’ve always been happy that I was a princess.” Born in Pasadena, Princess Beverlie said she went to the Rose Parade “a babe in arms.” She never missed a parade after that.
All photos copyright 2017 by Laura Berthold Monteros
2017 Princesses Natalie Rose Petrosian, Lauren “Emi” Emiko Powers, and Maya Kawaguchi Khan performed one of the final Royal Court duties of orienting the hundreds of girls who were trying out for 2018.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
For many teenage girls living in the Pasadena area, trying out for the Tournament of Roses Royal Court is a family or school tradition. They come with their friends and each has a story about why she wants to represent the Tournament and the community in the 129th Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2018 and throughout the year. Seven young women will be chosen to promote the 2018 theme “Making a Difference” by serving for a year on the 2018 Royal Court. One of those seven will become the 100th Rose Queen, an event so monumental that Pasadena Museum of History has an exhibit dedicated to the Royal Court.
We spoke with some of the teens who came on a beautiful Saturday morning with a cool high for the day of 90 degrees—much nicer than the 100+ temperatures of past tryouts. We caught them before their turn in front of the panel of judges to say, in a few seconds, why they wanted to be on the Court. They had a bit more time with The Rose Examiner! Here, with their photos, are their comments. Be sure to check out the gallery, too, which has lots of photos of the event. All the articles on the Royal Court are linked on this dedicated page as they are posted.
Olivia and Reagan attend La Cañada Flintridge High School. Olivia is a recipient of the Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouts. She “loves volunteering,” and said serving on the Royal Court “would be the perfect icing on the cake.” She added that it would be a great experience to have. Reagan said she was very excited about the tryouts. “I’m a little nervous, actually,” she admitted. She thought about what she would say to the judges, “but I don’t want to sound too scripted.”
Savannah and Celine attend AGBU Vatche & Tamar Manoukian High School in Pasadena (hereafter referred to as AGBU) and Kasen, Jennifer, Delia, and Bridgitte attend Arcadia High School. All of the girls understood the effect they could in the community. Savannah wants to promote equality for all, and Kasen, Jennifer, and Bridgette would like to inspire other youth. “I want to set a good example for them to live out their dreams,” Jennifer said. Delia would like to be a role model by “projecting self-confidence to young girls.” Celine took a different tack: She lives in the moment, she said, and relishes the experience of trying out for the Royal Court.
Kristen and Danielle are students at Marshall Fundamental High School in Pasadena. They talked about how they might make a difference on the Royal Court. “I’m part of the National Charity League,” Kristen said, “so I contribute a lot of time. With this, I can help even more.” Danielle said she has made a difference in her work with teaching swim classes and water safety to children.
Lara, a student at AGBU, said, “I feel like being an Armenian on the Court would bring awareness to the Armenian community.” She noted that there is a large Armenian population in Pasadena, and we discussed that it goes back to the early years of the 20th century. She was proud that the American Armenian Rose Float Association would have a fourth float in the 2018 parade.Danielle attends Arcadia High School. “I really would enjoy this opportunity to inspire young girls,” she said, and to “really make a difference” in the community.
We always like to talk to at least one boy in the line. Ashley, James, and Samantha all attend La Salle High School in Pasadena. Sometimes the guys come just to get the pair of tickets to the Royal Ball that all applicants receive, but Jamesassured us that he had more on his mind. Speaking with a polite tone, he said, “I’m here to make a difference. I’m here because this is a Tournament that seems to be sexist.” He isn’t the first young man to express that thought! Ashley (L.) said that the diversity and service she found speaks to her heart. Samantha wants to represent student athletes. “I want bring something new,” she said. “I want to represent those who excel in their sports.”
Simone, from Marshall, came with her mom Cathy. Born and raised in this city, Simone said. “I’m here today because I love Pasadena,” adding that she will “bring a positive energy to the Royal Court. I hope to get to the next round. I’m happy to be here!”
Mariajosé attends John Muir High School in Pasadena and Kimberley goes to Marshall. Mariajosé said, “I just want to try out. Everyone’s been talking about it in school.” She inspired The Rose Examiner with her candor when she added, “This is the first time doing something out of my comfort zone.” As we walk down the line, we can only speak with a few girls. Kimberley, with her rose-bedecked dress, stood out. “I wanted to show who I am,” she said. My culture shows who I am, and this dress shows my culture, because of the flowers.”
Filling out an application, standing in a long line in the sun, crowding onto the Tournament House porch for orientation, walking—usually nervously—up to a panel of 10 or 11 judges, and leaving Tournament House with a poster after a tour is a rite of passage for hundreds of girls who live within the boundaries of Pasadena City College. Some come to be with friends or for the experience, some come with grander ideas in mind. Some, like Lara and Kimberley, are proud of their culture and how it contributes to who they are as individuals. Some, like James, want to make a point. For some, like Mariajosé, it is a personal challenge. For writers like The Rose Examiner, it is inspirational.
There’s a special honor in store for the young woman who will be chosen as the Rose Queen for the 129th Rose Parade. She will be the 100th woman to grace the Queen’s float as it glides along Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. She will be joined by six Princesses who share in experience of representing the Tournament of Roses and the City of Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2018 and throughout the year. Applications are now available on the Royal Court webpage.
The first round of tryouts is held over two days, Saturday, Sept. 9 from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Monday, Sept. 11 from 3 p.m. to 5 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 can 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 column 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.
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 (a list is on the webpage);
Possess at least a 2.0 (C) non-weighted grade point average in both the current and previous years’ course work and able to provide verification of same;
Be at least 17 years of age by Dec. 31, 2017, and not more than 21 years of age before Jan. 5, 2018, with no children;
Register and complete the official Royal Court online application;
Be available to participate in all scheduled interview sessions.
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. 22.
The court will serve from October, 2017 to October, 2018, but most of the activity happens from mid-October to the first week in January, with around 100 appearances during that time. For all 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 make lifelong friendships, as well as receive a small educational scholarship, full wardrobe for appearances, professional hairstyling, make-up application and instruction, and 50-yard-line seats at the 104th Rose Bowl Game.
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. On Sept. 27, approximately 25 to 35 candidates will be announced as finalists. The seven-member Royal Court will be announced on Oct. 2 at Tournament House. The announcement and coronation of the Rose Queen is scheduled for the evening of Oct. 18.
Rose Queen Victoria Castellanos presides over her Royal Court, clockwise from Victoria’s left, Princesses Autumn Lundy, Audrey Cameron, Emi Powers, Shannon Larsuel, Natalie Petrosian, Maya Kawaguchi Khan at the 128th Rose Parade on Jan. 2, 2017. c2017 RLM
by Laura Berthold Monteros
Seven 17-year-old girls were chosen for the Tournament of Roses Royal Court on Oct. 4, 2016. Three months later, they glided along the Rose Parade route on seven black chairs that are better than thrones. They represented the Tournament, the City of Pasadena, and in a sense all the girls who dream of riding on the Queen and Court float one day. While the Rose Parade is the crowning event for the young women, that’s not all there is to being a princess.
The young women made some 100 appearances in that brief quarter of a year, and they gave up some of the things that make the senior year of high school so memorable. They learned to get along with each other—indeed, part of the selection process is choosing seven girls whose individual personalities will mesh—and they learned how to walk and speak and eat with the correct utensils. One young woman was Continue reading “Queen Victoria and her Royal Court in the 2017 Rose Parade: Photos”→
It’s always a treat to talk to young women who try out for the Tournament of Roses Royal Court. It’s even sweeter to catch up with those who made it and have returned to Tournament House to explain the process to the hopefuls lined up on a warm Saturday morning in September. At the tryouts on Sept. 10, Rose Princesses Natalie Hernandez-Barber and Donaly Marquez from the 2016 Court found a few minutes between the groups of girls they were orienting to speak with us.
We spoke with a dozen young ladies after they had passed through the first round of judging and taken a tour of Tournament House. The photos and a little bit about each one are in the gallery below.