A Merced County teen recently competed for the title of Miss California Teen USA.
Julianna O’Banion-Borboa, an 18-year-old Dos Palos High School graduate and Miss Merced County Teen USA 2018, was one of more than 50 young women who competed for the top prize of Miss California Teen USA in a competition held in Arcadia, Calif., from Jan. 24 to 27.
O’Banion-Borboa, who also holds the title of Miss May Day 2017 and Miss Dos Palos 2016, said it was her first experience competing in a state pageant or any pageant of this scale.
“I definitely did not anticipate the level of preparation that needed to be done,” said O’Banion-Borboa. She said although some of her competitors were veterans of the pageant world she went into the competition level-headed and confident.
During the competition, O’Banion-Borboa said she answered on-stage questions and spoke about mental illness awareness. She also competed in the athletic wear for teens portion of the competition, formal wear and also explained to the judges how to show sheep.
O’Banion-Borboa said she advanced as far as the top 15 finalists and that of the 15 names called, her name was the last one.
“When they called my name I was like ‘oh my goodness, I can’t believe I actually did it,’” she said.
O’Banion-Borboa did not advance to the top-five finalists but said she learned a lot of valuable skills and gained some good experience in a challenging contest.
“I think one thing that I took away from it that I wasn’t expecting, was that I came away with life long friends,” she said.
The pageant was produced by Chrisley Productions of “Chrisley Knows Best,” starring Todd Chrisley. The event included red carpet dinners, a “Think Pink” fundraiser for breast cancer research and a “Chinese New Year” celebration.
Miss South Bay Teen, Alina Rae Carranza, was named Miss California Teen USA 2019 and will go on to represent California at the Miss Teen USA Pageant later this year. Erica Dann of San Francisco was crowned Miss California USA 2019 and will represent California at the Miss USA Pageant.
As a freshman majoring in technology and emerging media at Vanguard University of Southern California, O’Banion-Borboa said she does not plan on participating in other competitions any time soon.
“Right now I am just focusing on school and getting through my second semester of college,” she said.
O’Banion-Borboa plans to continue her reign as Miss Merced County Teen USA 2018 speaking out about mental illness awareness.