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Christiana Monarez reflects on her pageant experience


Last updated 4/8/2021 at 1pm

Christiana Monarez

Miss Fallbrook Assistant Director Christiana Monarez is crowned Ms. United States of America in February of 2020.

The United States of America Pageants hosted the 2020 Ms. USOA Pageant in February of last year, and the winner was Christiana Monarez, a longtime member of the Fallbrook community. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck the US, Monarez realized that her year of service would be unlike any other.

Monarez first began competing in pageants as a baby, but "retired" at the age of 2 and began pursuing gymnastics and her many other passions. As she grew up, she lost interest in competing in pageants until a friend from high school pushed her to enter the Miss Fallbrook pageant in 2009.

"I told her that I would think about joining the Miss Fallbrook pageant with her," she said. "The next day, she called me and told me that she had already signed me up and I would be competing."

Monarez fell in love with the Miss Fallbrook competition, and she enjoyed the variety of classes and skills taught before competing. These classes include etiquette classes, makeup, poise, speech classes, and more.

Monarez won the title of Miss Fallbrook 2009, and at the time she was a senior in college. To this day, Monarez is the oldest person to win the title.

"After winning Miss Fallbrook, I was attached to the idea of improving myself," she said. "As a former gymnast and gymnastics teacher, I love competition. I needed that competitive outlet, and pageants were the perfect fit."

Monarez is now the Assistant Director of the Miss Fallbrook pageant, and she has continued to compete in pageants while attending college and working full time.

"Once I heard about the Ms. California pageant, I knew it was a perfect fit. It was close to home and my friends and family were there to support me," she said. "Then, when I won Ms. California, I was automatically entered into the USOA pageant."

"I knew that the girls I'd be going up against had years of experience, designer clothes, and personal coaching. I didn't have any of that, but my personality and my drive set me apart."

While competing in the USOA pageant, Monarez was pursuing her Master's degree in public health from California State University, San Marcos. During the competition, Monarez felt determined to be the best possible version of herself and to represent Fallbrook and the entire state of California well.

For Monarez, the turning point in the competition was when she was asked her impromptu question. The judges asked "Recently the USOA has faced a controversy where a sponsor said that responsible and educated women do not wear bathing suits on stage, what do you think about this?"

"The impromptu question was made for me," she said. "I was pursuing my Master's degree at the time, and I felt ambitious and ready to face the next level of my education. You can pursue a college education and wear a bathing suit on stage at the same time, you can do it all. I did."

Out of 50 other competitors, Monarez was one of three finalists at the end of the competition, and they were all nervous but so excited to hear the results.

"When my name was announced, I was in awe," she said. "Even now, I still consider myself an amatuer. I felt so blessed to win."

Not only that, Monarez was also named "Miss Congeniality" in both the United States of America Ms. California pageant and the Ms. United States of America pageant.

Immediately after Monarez was crowned, the U.S. shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and she was forced to find new ways to interact with others and help make an impact. She hosted virtual fundraisers, virtual runs, and traveled to other states where assistance was needed. At the same time, she also found a way to balance her heavy workload and earn her Master's degree.

"2020 was a year of overcoming adversity for me," she said. "I wanted to make a difference and help the country however I could, but as a public health major, I also wanted to be a role model for others and I wanted to help to keep those around me healthy."

"I became so proud to be able to do this for the country, my opinion was important and my voice was heard." she said.

Although her year as Ms. United States of America was not what she expected, Monarez said she feels grateful to have had this experience and she enjoyed being able to represent her community, help others, and connect with successful and talented women all over the country.

"I've won a few competitions, and I've lost a bunch too, but I learn something new from every competition," she said. "Competing in pageants has made me a more valuable member of society, I will never stop trying to improve myself, and pageants are just another tool for self improvement."

Monarez does not have plans to compete in other pageants at the moment; she is considering pursuing her Doctorate degree in public health before returning and competing in other pageants.

"I've always wanted to compete until the day I die. I don't see why I would ever stop," she said. "Competing and being a community leader has helped me to improve myself and my confidence in so many ways, and I encourage all young women to consider competing in pageants."

Recruitment for the 2021 Miss Fallbrook pageant has begun, and Monarez is excited to help train and get to know the next generation of women through this pageant.

"As Assistant Director for the Miss Fallbrook pageant, I'm paying it forward and using all the knowledge and skills I've learned from all the successful women over the years who helped to make me who I am today."

The next Miss Fallbrook orientation will take place virtually on April 10 at 11 a.m. For more information visit the Miss Fallbrook Facebook page.

Christiana Monarez

Christiana Monarez is excited to represent Fallbrook and the state of California at the national level.

"I'd like to thank my mom for being my biggest supporter during the Ms. USOA competition, and I'd also like to thank my friend Shannyn for signing me up for the Miss Fallbrook competition in 2009. Competing in these pageants has helped me make connections all over the U.S. and internationally, and I am so much more confident in who I am as a person."

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