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. Continue reading “Royal Court hopefuls line up for an opportunity to be a princess in the 2018 Rose Parade”→
UPDATE: Pasadena Museum of History is pleased to extend the Blue Star Museums program offer of free admission to active duty personnel for the new exhibition Royals of Pasadena, which opened to the public Labor Day weekend. It is on view noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays through Feb. 11, 2018.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
On Jan. 1, 2018, the 100th Rose Queen will ride a spectacular new float along Colorado Blvd. in the 129th Tournament of Roses Parade. In anticipation of this historic happening, Pasadena Museum of History is presenting an exhibit featuring crowns and gowns of past Rose Queens, including the one Margaret Huntley Main wore in the 1940 parade. Queen Margaret is the most senior living Rose Queen, the author of A Rose Queen Is Forever, and co-founder of the Queens Club with Sally Stanton Rubsamen.
“Royals of Pasadena,” runs from Sept. 2, 2017 through Feb. 11, 2018, so folks in town for the Tournament of Roses can plan a visit to PMH. In addition to stunning gowns by William Cahill and Tadashi Shoji, jewel-encrusted crowns of the past century are on loan from the signature sponsor Tournament of Roses. Photos and ephemera documenting this Pasadena tradition will be displayed, as well as daywear, accessories, and jewelry from the Court wardrobes, on loan from former members of the Royal Court. The exhibit will explore the traditions and history of the Royal Court, from the selection process to riding on a float in the Rose Parade.
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.
The 129th Tournament of Roses in photos and stories
The Tournament of Roses in Pasadena is more than the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2018. It is the week-long “America’s New Year Celebration,” chock full of floats, bands, equestrians, and family-friendly activities. Visitors can attend Bandfest, Equestfest, Decorating Places, Showcase of Floats, and Live on Green.
The 129th Rose Parade features bands from all over the world, equestrian groups, and around 45 flower-covered floats presenting the theme “Making a Difference.” The 104th Rose Bowl Game pits the top teams in “The Granddaddy of Them All,” the oldest post-season collegiate bowl game.
Read all about it by clicking on the links below, which contain information about the events and people involved as well as tips on attending the events and getting around. The list will be updated as articles are posted. Be sure to bookmark this page and return to it frequently!
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”→
“Yes, I’m Queen Victoria!” When Tori Castellanos picked up the phone at the Visitor Hotline at the Pasadena Convention Center on Thursday, she had to assure the caller that indeed they were talking to the 99th Rose Queen. The hotline, +1 (877) 793-9911, is open from 10 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 30 and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It’s staffed by volunteers, and lucky callers might even talk to a princess.
The hotline room was packed with photographers eager to get shots of the 2017 Royal Court at the annual Visitor Hotline ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday. The girls were a bit late (ever try to get seven teenagers ready on time?), but happy to be there to open the phones. The Visitor Hotline, run by the Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau, is best way to get on-the-spot information on events, including the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game, places to eat, hotels, parking, and activities in the Crown City.
Every year, Dole Packaged Foods gathers its employees in the Fiesta Parade Floats barn right next to their float, and gives them a party that spans the holiday season. The event was held on Dec. 11, and was attended by both Santa Claus and the Tournament of Roses Royal Court. We dropped in for some photos, conversation, and a delicious luau, including haupia, a Hawaiian dessert. Check out the photo gallery below for snapshots of the fun.
The 2017 Dole float, “Spirit of Hawaii,” features three important and very different figures: King Kamehameha I, founder of the Kingdom of Hawaii; Pele, goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes; and Sebastian, the parrot who rode with the late Raul Rodriguez on floats he designed. In the six years Dole Packaged Foods has entered the Rose Parade, the floats have won five Sweepstakes and one Director’s Trophy. The 2017 entry is designed by Stanley Meyer. It has a working volcano and four real waterfalls flowing down the side of the mountain and cascading from a floral bridge. Dancers, including a fire dancer, and drummers will accompany the float as outwalkers and on the bridge.
We spoke about the float with Monica Spiro, Associate Manager of Events for Dole, and Dave Spare, Vice President, Marketing, about the community involvement of the company. It’s a tradition for some of the riders to be the children of Dole associates, and this year, Spiro’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna will be aboard. Spiro said the company tries to match the parade theme in the float design. The 128th Rose Parade theme is “Echoes of Success.”
“‘Spirit of Hawaii’ makes sense, since the company started in Hawaii,” she said. She brings the float theme into the party with elements that will be fun for the families, which can be seen in the photo gallery. It’s a way of sharing the Dole vision and heritage with the associates and their families. All associates are invited, and about 250 came to the luau.
“It’s really nice, because it’s a way for associates who can’t go to the parade to experience the float,” Spiro said. Another way is for associates to participate in decorating the float. Fiesta Parade Floats brings the giant plumeria, that will encircle the float like a lei, to the company headquarters in Westlake Village for associates to decorate with rice, and about 15-20 people will come to the Irwindale barn to decorate. Part of the entryway is dedicated to the float, with animal sculptures from previous floats and photos of the floats.
“It’s a way to touch, see, and feel the float,” she said. “We try to look at all the different ways people can experience this.”
Dole is also part of Live on Green, a pre-parade event with activities, displays, food, and entertainment. The company sponsors a food booth where Dole Whips can be purchased, the special treat usually available only at Disneyland. Dole has sponsored the Tiki Room for 40 years, and even reserved the room for a national meeting, where dessert was served.
“We want everyone to have a good time and have fun,” Spiro said. “There’s something for everyone.” And, she added, “Sebastian is still in front” on the float.
Dave Spare shared Dole Packaged Foods’ commitment to aiding non-profits that help people in need. The president and CEO of one of those organizations will ride on the float on Jan. 2. Food Share, the largest food bank in Ventura County, receives millions of pounds of healthy food from Dole every year, Spare said. The food is still within its expiration date and includes frozen, canned, and prepared items and 99 percent of Dole products are non-GMO.
“We were way ahead of the GMO movement,” Spare said. “On the float, all the fruit is non-GMO. It’s more expensive, but [consumers] are getting purer fruit.”
In addition to products and cash, Dole employees volunteer thousands of hours each year to charity work, including Food Share, Spare said. He volunteers at Ventura County Rescue Mission. Employees can take time off work for volunteering, so they don’t have to use vacation days.
If the company works to create community spirit among its US employees, it helps to create a community overseas. Spare said the Dole Packaged Foods operation in the Philippines is the largest in the world, but there’s a lot of poverty in that country. Dole has built roads, schools and hospitals, and offers free medical care and free schooling. With an increase in hiring, there is a shortage of housing, so the company built 74 homes this year and plans to build 72 next year.
“The employees help to build them,” he said. “It’s like Habitat for Humanity.” Spare has worked for Dole Packaged Foods for 20 years, and he said the other vice presidents have worked 15 to 30 years. “It’s just a great company,” he said.
Rose Queen Victoria sings with the girls from Temple City High School Brighter Side Singers. When she has time, director Matt Byers told us, Tori performs with the group. She has a lovely voice! All photos copyright 2016 Laura B Monteros
by Laura Berthold Monteros
In fashions from casual winter wear to evening dresses, the seven members of the 2017 Tournament of Roses Royal Court dazzled the crowd at Macy’s Pasadena on Dec. 7. Each outfit was chosen to complement the girl’s style and personality, as well as to push the latest line from the department store. Celebrity stylist Daniel Musto was the emcee.
The members of the Royal Court are Rose Queen Victoria Castellanos and Rose Princesses Audrey Cameron, Maya Kawaguchi Khan, Shannon Larsuel, Autumn Lundy, Natalie Petrosian, and Emi Powers. For profiles of each young woman, “Meet the 7 young women on the 2017 Rose Parade Royal Court.” Each girl modeled three outfits. Read the captions in the album below to see which ones were their favorites! We got the opportunity to talk to parents Fred Powers (Princess Emi) and Dori Larsuel (Princess Shannon) after the show. They both were impressed with the personal growth of their daughters in the past two months.
“I’m amazed at how she’s handling this,” Powers said, noting the time commitment of school college applications (Emi would like to go to Syracuse for broadcasting), and the duties of the Court.
“Shannon has wanted to be on the Court since she was 5,” Larsuel said. She shared the suspense of Shannon’s being the last girl to be called at the announcement of the Royal Court. The girls are announced according to height so the balance will be right for photos, and Shannon is tall. Since then, she said, “it’s been an exciting, joyful experience.” Larsuel added that Shannon is trying to balance school, Court activities, and college apps.
“The Tournament is so wonderful,” she said. “They truly treat them like princesses. The training they receive is over and above what the average person would get.” Later, Princess Natalie affirmed Princess Maya’s opinion that the Queen & Court Committee members “are our aunts and uncles.”
Photo: Queen & Court chair Richard De Jesu with Q&C member Carole Swemline. Swemline said there are annual reunions for the Royal Courts.
There could hardly be a Rose Queen with a more expressive face than Tori Castellanos. The shock and tears when her name was read as 99th Tournament of Roses Queen on Thursday evening, the huge smile when the she received the crown and roses, the seriousness displayed as she repeated the Queen’s Oath were spontaneous and heartfelt. That ability to quickly switch between joy and seriousness, to show her emotions on her face, is quite charming. With family, friends, schoolmates and teachers on hand to cheer, the celebration was truly a joyous event. Here’s how it happened.
Back to the beginning
An air of excitement and anticipation rippled over the patio on Oct. 20 as people waited for the doors of the historic Pasadena Playhouse to open for the announcement and coronation of the young woman who will reign over the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 2, 2017. The seven members of the Royal Court were escorted down the red carpet into the auditorium by white-suited members of the Queen & Court Committee. And then, the doors swung open. Let’s enter that door as if we didn’t know yet that Victoria “Tori” Cecilia Castellanos received the Mikimoto pearl crown.
Be sure to check out the photo gallery at the end of this article. It tells a lot of the story, and at the end, just for fun, there are a few shots of Tori in performances with Temple City High School.
This is a moment that Tournament of Roses fans anticipate from the first Tournament of Roses Royal Court tryouts in September to the evening in October when the Rose Queen is announced and crowned in the splendor of Mikimoto pearls. Victoria “Tori” Cecilia Castellanos was chosen by the Queen and Court committee for an honor that only 98 women have held before. Possessing the poise of a Rose Queen, when her name was announced, she almost cried, but not quite.
Tonight’s coronation was a celebration of the 2017 theme “Echoes of Success” as well as the 2017 Royal Court, who will ride down Colorado Blvd. on Jan. 2, 2017. Queen Victoria is one of 771 people who tried out for the 2017 Royal Court, and one of seven young ladies who made it. She attends Temple City High School and is active in Brighterside Singers and musical theater. It was an exciting evening, and we will write more details tomorrow, along with my brief interview with Tori and a photo gallery of the people and event, For tonight, though, we’ll put it to be with a hearty congratulations to the 99th Rose Queen.