Last month, the Miss Fountain Valley pageant returned after more than 20 years, and 18-year-old Andrea Licata came away with the crown. She sat down with Fountain Valley Patch to talk about what made inspired her to compete for the title, and what she hopes to do with it.
What made you decide to compete in the Miss Fountain Valley pageant?
Two years ago, I was watching the Miss America pageant, and I thought I could totally do that. I thought it was really cool. So I looked into it, and I was too busy, so I put it off. Then I saw it come on again, and I thought, "OK, I really should do this." So I Googled and searched, and I found that Fountain Valley had one, and I met with [pageant director] Keeli [Ann Lisack] and another girl, and the more she told me about it, the more I liked it. I liked that it was a scholarship pageant. I've been able to pay for a quarter of my tuition already, and I liked that they emphasized young woman and what they can do and how they really influence society, while still being beautiful and maintaining a nice appearance.
What was it like to win the crown?
I can definitely say that I was not expecting it at all. It was definitely a huge surprise, in a good way of course. At first, I didn't really know what it all meant. As the following days came about, I realized what a job it is. It's exciting, and it's fun, and it's been a good learning experience. I've learned that you really have to be proactive. You could make the year be nothing, or you can make it what you want it to be. I could attend all these events and make sure that I'm known and make myself available to the city, or I could just lay back and take a pretty picture on a magazine.
Tell us about your platform and talent.
My talent is playing the piano. I've been taking lessons since I was six...I really wanted to put on a good show. It's only 90 seconds, so you have to pick a song or a portion of a song that you can so. I picked a whole song, but I added some fancy trills and runs and things. I wanted to perform it like I was on stage at Carnegie Hall. My platform is creating awareness of breast cancer and early detection and risk factors, which is a really lengthy way of saying just letting woman and men know how they can prevent breast cancer and what they can do now to reduce their risk factors for getting breast cancer.
What are you hopes and expectations for the Miss California pageant?
We just had orientation, so I learned a lot. I realized the competition is really fierce. Most of the girls have had titles before. A lot of them know the system, but they've been really nice and they've been helping me a lot. I've definitely been able to make myself known. I would love to tell them why I want to be Miss California, how I can use my platform to further the Miss America organization, and just be the lady to represent the state.
What are you career aspirations and goals?
I'm a first-year at UC Irvine majoring in economics. I'm trying to graduate in three years, and I most likely will, and then I want to go and get an MBA. Then I'd love to work in the finance world.
What about hobbies?
I did gymnastics for a long time, and then I was a cheerleader in high school. Even though I don't cheer anymore, I still do a lot of tumbling classes. I'm taking a dance class a school. I really enjoy acrobatic stuff. I really enjoy cooking, so I have a lot of cookbooks, and I really enjoy experimenting and creating new recipes.
What's something most people don't know about you?
I'm left-handed, so I think in reverse on a lot of things. I alphabetize backward, and I don't even realize I'm doing it. I cut the wrong way because my parents didn't teach me how to cut like a left-hander. All these things I notice I invert, but I don't notice it until people point it out.