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Lindsey Gooding
Staff Writer

For those women looking for an opportunity to earn scholarship money and represent the city of La Verne, the Miss La Verne Pageant 2006 may be something to look into.

The winner will receive a $1,200 scholarship, and will automatically win $1,000 for entering the Miss California Pageant.

Jennifer Barlow, Miss La Verne 2005, has already won $2,500 in scholarship money.

Unfortunately, Barlow did not win Miss California, but she did win the Miss California Community Service Award.

Barlow has gone far beyond her goals as Miss La Verne. This dedicated 18-year-old has done much for the community.

“You ask her to do something and she does it 10 times better then you expected her to do,” said pageant director and Miss La Verne 1999 Dana Hazen.

The pageant will be held on Feb. 11 at the University of La Verne’s Founders Hall. In preparation for the pageant, the women will be expected to attend seven rehearsals, which are held on Sundays and last around an hour.

The women must provide their own wardrobe and accessories required for the competition. The competition includes an interview and contestants must write about their “platform.” There is a talent competition and an on-stage interview. And contestants also are judged on their fitness (wearing one- or two-piece bathing suits).

As in any competition the judges have certain things they look for.

“I look for a lot of stage presence, eye contact, good answers – not allowing the question to go in a circle – plus their interaction with the judges,” said Shane Rodrigues, TV operations manager for the ULV communications department, one of this year’s judges.

To be eligible, women must be between the ages of 17 and 24, live or go to school full time in La Verne, and never have given birth to a baby and never been married.

The Miss La Verne pageant organization is an affiliate of the Miss California and Miss America Pageants.

“The difference between the Miss USA and Miss America and the Miss California Scholarship Organization, is that the Miss USA pageant is a beauty pageant,” Hazen said. “We are looking for a well rounded, talented as well as beautiful woman.”

The winner will represent and serve the city of La Verne in a variety of ways.

She has to have the ability to work with all types of people and keep her cool under pressure. Many people don’t realize the hard work and confidence it takes to do something like a pageant and then to represent a city. It teaches women self-confidence, helps them in speaking skills and teaches them to set and meet goals in life.

“It is such a great experience where you get to interact with so many different people,” Barlow said. “Your confidence level grows a lot in the process. I wish more girls could have the opportunity.”

The new Miss La Verne will be expected to attend city functions such as chamber of commerce meetings and the Fourth of July Parade.

Miss La Verne is also expected to have a platform, which is a passion or a stand that she feels should be brought to the public’s attention.

Barlow’s platform started as obesity awareness and expanded into a project called “Funding for Fitness.” This is a healthy alternative to selling chocolate bars to raise money. As a result she has organized two 5k runs during her reign.

“I have far surpassed my goals that I had set out for being Miss La Verne,” Barlow said. “One of my life goals in general was to win a beauty pageant. This experience far exceeded that wish of mine.”

But not all Miss La Verne winners have had such a satisfying reign. La Kia (Sims) Pearson, who won the pageant in 2003, had to wait more than a year to collect her scholarship money, thanks apparently to the abrupt departure of the pageant’s former director. And at one point the pageant was almost canceled.

Its current coordinators, however, say such kinks have been ironed out.

“Together as an organization we have regained the trust of the community that had been previously lost,” Barlow said. “An old executive director took the funds and the girls didn’t get their scholarship a few years back. That is why they almost canceled the program.”

Coordinators are looking for contestants for this years’ pageant. For more information, contact Hazen at

Lindsey Gooding can be reached at

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