The millennium has entered its teens this year and the new teen queen is from the highest populated state, California. Cassidy Wolf captured California's long overdue 2nd Miss Teen USA crown succeeding Shauna Gambill's win for California in 1994.My friend Hernan likes to point out patterns and there's a 19 year chain here for California. Cassidy won Miss Teen USA in 2013, 19 years after Shauna won in 1994, just like Alyssa Campanella won Miss USA for California in 2011, 19 years after Shannon Marketic won in 1992. Mexico also won Miss Universe 19 years apart (1991 and 2010). Cassidy's story of having her computer hacked into after unintentionally downloading a virus was revealed during the final question round and this hacker was apparently taking pictures of her through her computer's webcam so there's a very newsworthy story here about the cyberdangers that are out there and Cassidy now has a platform while the investigation is ongoing. Since Cassidy is very newsworthy due to this incident, what a perfect platform and perhaps a means to generate interest in Miss Teen USA and perhaps get it back on television. The pageant has been off the air and only on webcasts and held in the Bahamas since 2008 so maybe things will turn around for Miss Teen USA.

Cassidy Wolf, Miss Teen USA 2013 hugs host Miss Teen USA 2003, Tami Farrell as host Karl Schmid watchesOn to this year's show, it was a very competitive year with some outstanding beauties and overall strong contestants. This year's hosts were newbies, Tami Farrell, Miss Teen USA 2003 took on hosting duties for this pageant alongside TV host Karl Schmid who hails from Australia. They did a fair job and were entertaining but you could tell they were new to this. There were a few slip-ups here and there like when New Jersey was announced as the Internet vote but it was after corrected since Missouri was actually the Internet vote but overall, they pulled it off and managed a few glitches along the way. Tami looked great wearing a similar gown to the one worn by Miss Georgia Universe 2012, Tamar Shedania and Miss Maine USA 2012, Rani Williamson. In terms of my predictions, I got 8 of the 16 semifinalists plus 2 alternates (Georgia and Alabama) and 1 honorable mention (Maryland). Five ladies escaped my list and they were: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Louisiana and the winner of the online vote, Missouri. Minnesota and Wisconsin were mentioned in the previous commentary but I totally wasn't expecting the other 3. I was very happy that my top 3 were the actual top 3 though... just in a different order. I adored my winner West Virginia's Haley Holloway who ended up having to settle for 2nd runner up but there are a lot of delegates from this year that have great potential to cross over to the Miss USA stage in a few years and I hope Haley will be one of them. Like many other years, Miss Teen USA can be hard to predict as there are normally a lot of seemingly random choices among the semifinalists and there were some really stunning and worthy delegates that unfortunately got left out. So what happened to my girls that didn't make it? There were some very lovely faces competing this year and Maine was one of them. She had the great teen look with a rich blue gown, strong interview and looked great in swimsuit so I was very surprised that she didn't make it. Michigan was also outstanding sporting a gown very similar to that worn earlier this year at Miss USA by Maryland's Kasey Staniszewski. Wyoming sent a very sincere delegate and I thought she would get recognized as Wyoming placed last year also with a very warmhearted delegate so I thought it would happen again for Wyoming but apparently, I was one of the few who thought that way. South Dakota sent a tall, modelesque girl but as mentioned in my prethoughts, South Dakota rarely gets noticed and I'm honestly beginning to think South Dakota shouldn't even bother. Arizona was another one who had great facial beauty and was just overall a very strong delegate so a lot of people were surprised that she didn't place. Nebraska also had a great face and she won the Congeniality award so I was happy to see her get something but some questioned her hairstyle in the preliminaries but she really had that teen look but the more petite frames weren't really favored this year. Pennsylvania had commanding stage presence and her online video was very entertaining so I thought she would get recognized. Even during the parade of all delegates in their gown, my eyes were drawn to Eboné as she really knows how to work the stage. Finally, North Carolina sent a fun-loving, spirited delegate and I thought she would charm her way into the semifinals but it wasn't meant to be.



Winner=California-Cassidy Wolf

Winner=West Virginia-Haley Holloway*

1st Runner Up=South Carolina-Tori Sizemore

1st Runner Up=California-Cassidy Wolf*

2nd Runner Up=West Virginia-Haley Holloway

2nd Runner Up=South Carolina-Tori Sizemore*

3rd Runner Up=Georgia-Julia Martin

3rd Runner Up=Maine-Delaney Seavey

4th Runner Up=Minnesota-Maggie McGill

4th Runner Up=Michigan-Ruby King



Alabama-Lorin Holcombe

Wyoming-Autumn Olson

Arkansas-Abby Floyd

New York-Nikki Orlando*

Hawaii-Samantha Neyland

Kansas-Alyssa Klinzing*

Kansas-Alyssa Klinzing

South Dakota-Alexis Rupp

Louisiana-Bailey Hidalgo

New Jersey-Christina Thompson*

Maryland-Hannah Brewer

Arizona-Olivia Argue

Missouri-Brenda Smith-Lezama

Tennessee-Emily Suttle*

New Jersey-Christina Thompson

Hawaii-Samantha Neyland*

New York-Nikki Orlando

Nebraska-Jasmine Fuelberth

Tennessee-Emily Suttle

Pennsylvania-Eboné Jimerson

Wisconsin-Kate Redeker

North Carolina-Kelsey Barberio


ALTERNATES:Illinois, Virginia, Alabama*, Georgia*, Nevada


HONORABLE MENTIONS:Iowa, Idaho, Maryland*, Florida, Alaska


* = made actual top 16

After the semifinalists were announced, it was on to the swimsuit competition. First up was California who looked great in swimsuit. She has that long, lean body and long blonde hair so naturally she was a standout. Minnesota followed and she looked decent in swimsuit. Her face looks a bit older to me and that was the main reason for me leaving her off my list. Tennessee normally sends strong delegates and Emily was no exception. She carried on Tennessee's tradition. New York was a favorite throughout as she just has that spark about her complimented by a great figure. Georgia was in my list initially but at the last minute, I dropped her down to the alternates category because after seeing a still of her in swimsuit, she looked thicker and perhaps more full-figured than the others so I took her out but since she ended up making top 5, I now regret that but a lot of people thought her head movements were a bit much. Wisconsin was another one that I thought could have been in better shape. Her online video showed that she had potential but I didn't think she quite had the body of a semifinalist. Maryland followed and she had a bit of a paunch going on so I didn't think she was going to place but she was just one of the delegates that others saw something in but I didn't. Arkansas was a major surprise to me as I didn't expect her to place but in Teen pageants, anything can happen. West Virginia was my winner and it's no secret that I absolutely adore Haley and I thought she had a great body and phenomenal presentation. South Carolina was also on practically everyone's radar and with good reason as she carried on the tradition of South Carolina sending outstanding, well-prepared delegates. Hawaii had a very unique look and many people also expected her to place. She was quite thin though but still worked the stage well as she should since she has worked as a model alongside the likes of Paris Hilton. Louisiana was another surprise for me. She was tall and had a decent body but just wasn't a standout in my eyes. Maybe her placement was a tribute to Candice Stewart (a contestant on this year's edition of Big Brother who was also Miss Louisiana Teen USA 2002 and Miss Louisiana USA 2005). Alabama also looked decent but looked unsure of herself on occasion. She had a delayed reaction to walking on stage when the hosts were talking about her just after the semifinalists were announced and she had a loud introduction when she spoke into the microphone but I'm sure they told her to be loud as there were previous years when the microphone wasn't on for Alabama so going first can usually be a challenge. Kansas followed and this girl showed so much poise and maturity for someone who is only 15 years old. She was also very impressive by using sign language in her online video so it was great to see her get recognized. New Jersey also had a great figure and an appealing presentation and finally, as for the winner of the Internet vote, Missouri... she presented with a lot of confidence and I'll leave it at that.

After the gown parade, it was on to the evening gown competition. California came out in the gorgeous, bold, blue gown with frills below the waist. It was simple and elegant yet very teen at the same time. Minnesota's gown somehow I felt was a bit inappropriate for Teen with the sheer, see-through material but the confetti sparkles all over it balanced it out I suppose. Tennessee's purple gown was phenomenal with the big train and she really did shine on stage. New York had a simple light blue turtleneck gown and it was a decent gown but I think she needed something stronger to put her in the top 5. Georgia's gown and overall look reminded me of Miss California Teen USA 2010, Emma Baker who also placed in the top 5 so I guess this is a top 5 look and it showed. Julia was very prepared for this pageant and she presents well. I wish Wisconsin's gown had been made from a different material because it just looked too table-cloth-like to me. The train floated better in the preliminaries than in the finals too. Maryland followed her hair in a bun and a simple white gown similar to that worn by Miss New Jersey USA 2012, Michelle Leonardo. Arkansas wore a two-piece gown that I also felt wasn't really teen appropriate but it had a design that was suited for a younger person. During the intermission, she said it was a last-minute pick right before she left and she felt it was very her and they often say to wear a gown that brings out the best in you and I guess it worked in this case. Next was heavenly West Virginia sporting a gown that indeed proves that black is beautiful. I loved the pleats at the sides of the train and this gown just was a great pick on every level. South Carolina also had a great white gown with silver designs on the bodice and this gown was also just right in every aspect especially for Teen. Hawaii's green ball gown was also spectacular and I loved her twirls as well. Samantha, you betta WERK! Louisiana's gown was an interesting light blue number but she just seemed very forgettable and just didn't have enough impact in her presentation. Alabama also sported a light blue gown which was quite the popular color this year and she looked decent. Kansas had a unique gown that some loved and some loathed. It had a black bodice with a red skirt and a large flower on it. I didn't think it was enough to get her into the top 5 but she was a delegate that truly wanted to be on that stage as she admitted to watching every year since age 6 and competed as soon as she got the opportunity to kudos to this goal-oriented young woman who is bound to go far in life. New Jersey had a nicely designed gown that popped on stage and her presentation was elegant. Something about her reminded me a lot of Natasha Allas, Miss California Teen USA 1992. Finally, Missouri finished off the gown competition in a wild pink number that suited her style.

Top 5 of Miss Teen USA 2013 - Georgia, Minnesota, West Virginia, California, South CarolinaFollowing the intermission, it was time to announce the top 5: Georgia, Minnesota, West Virginia, California and South Carolina. For the warmup round, Karl asked each of the top 5 a question. Georgia was asked to talk about her program 'Girl Talk'. She said Girl Talk is a mentoring program between high school girls and middle school girls. She started her own program at her school and met every Tuesday morning and shared breakfast. Sometimes, they had a lesson plan and sometimes they just hung out or maybe colored and did crafts and girl things and it was just so fun to get to spend time with these girls and invest in these girls lives like people invested in hers. Julia handled this well. As previously mentioned, she was very well prepared for this pageant and it showed. Minnesota was asked about ziplining in Costa Rica. She said we went ziplining through a rainforest canyoning down waterfalls and horseback riding through rivers all in one day. It was exhausting but it was amazing. Minnesota's answers were pretty short and sweet whereas the others were definitely talkers. the others were talkers. West Virginia was asked to about the time she was mistaken for Rihanna. She was on a family vacation down in Atlanta, Georgia and they were walking through a mall and all of a sudden you hear, 'Is that Rihanna? Is that... Is that Rihanna?" because at the time she was rocking a short bob like Rihanna had and all of a sudden, she turns around and there were cameras and paparazzi, like a legitimate paparazzi chasing her and she flees to the nearest bathroom to seek shelter. Karl then asked her, "You fled? You didn't own it?" She said she was nervous because what if she gets on the cover of a tabloid and Rihanna looks at it and is like, 'That's not me. That's some imposter!' and she wasn't going to have that so she would take her moment of fame some other time. I loved how captivating this story was and how she delivered it in a very real way. As mentioned earlier, West Virginia was my winner from the first moment I saw her and the fact that she was mistaken for Rihanna proves that she definitely has star quality. A lot of people have also compared Haley to Miss Universe 2011, Leila Lopes and I actually Haley looks a bit more like one of my favorite artists, Azealia Banks who has amazing songs like "212" and "1991" and Azealia also has a very sweet look but somewhat fowl lyrics. So it looks like Haley has had multiple hairstyles like Rihanna's short bob but earlier this year she had dyed her hair blonde and I was a little worried that she might keep it that way because it was just no. But she had the perfect hairstyle just in time for Miss Teen USA so I was thrilled to see her do so well. Next up was California who was asked what it is she loves about dancing. She loves performing. She love, loves being on stage. For the past two summers, she has gone to Joffrey's ballet which is a three week intensive. She got to work with Mia Michaels and take multiple technique classes all day long and she has been taking it since she was two years old. It's her passion and she loves it so much. It's her happiness. Finally, South Carolina was asked about why she is passionate about foster care and adoption awareness. She said she is the oldest of 7 children and 3 of those are little adopted girls (2 of which were from foster care) and she got to basically help raise them and they were the little sisters she prayed for when she got three brothers instead so they made up for the fact that she didn't get biological sisters and they have made such an impact on her life and she has realized what the need is and people understanding the foster care system and she wants to bring that to them from a very fresh perspective of a 17-year-old who isn't adopted or from the foster care system but has seen the benefits that it has. Karl added, 'And meanwhile your brothers are damaged.' She said, 'Yes. Exactly!' South Carolina's answer was also well prepared and was also quite strong.

Top 5 of Miss Teen USA 2013 - Georgia, Minnesota, West Virginia, California, South CarolinaThen, it was on to the judge's questions, Georgia chose Butch Beard who asked 'If you had a chance to change places with anyone in history, who would you choose and why?' Georgia answered, 'I would choose Jackie Kennedy. I admire her because of her style, because of her motherly influence, because of her poise and especially the way that she handled the assassination of her husband and I think that she carried herself so well through the ups and downs of life and I would like to be able to do that in my life.' Julia demonstrated once again that she was well prepared and I liked that she chose someone who wasn't alive since it does show that she has studied history. Minnesota was up next and chose Chuck Labella who asked, 'Which world leader the most and why?' She responded, 'I definitely admire our president. He works so hard to just keep our country safe and under control. Us Americans, you know! So... I just admire his leadership and responsiblity.' You could hear some audience members kind of groan at the dig at Americans. So it wasn't the most diplomatic of answers and it was a safe answer too choosing the president so it wasn't a surprise that she finished 4th runner up. Next West Virginia chose Fred Nelson's question and he humorously called her Rihanna saying, 'Your buddy Justin Bieber has made some questionable choices lately but a lot of teens look up to him. Do you think that being famous also brings the responsiblity of having to be a role model?' She replied, 'Of course. My little sister is one of those fanatics of Justin Bieber. If you could see her room... you would die! Anyway, but, I think he has had his ups and downs but I think it's because he's a young adult and he's kinda growing and still learning about what's going on in life and he's following, kind of, his leaders I guess he looks up to which is I guess his music people he follows so but he's kinda going down a wrong train right now but I think he'll bounce back and make a great comeback. I like Justin Bieber myself so hopefully, he can bring it all back together to his youthful self.' It was another great answer delivered in a very natural way. I think maybe the judge's might have been looking for an example of Justin Bieber's bad behaviors and I don't know that it helped that she added she was a fan of his at the end of her answer and perhaps that's why they ranked her as 2nd runner up. Miss Teen USA 2012, Logan West and Miss Teen USA 2013, Cassidy WolfMiss USA 2013, Erin Brady and Miss Teen USA 2013, Cassidy WolfNext up was California who chose Lisa Carvalho's question, 'If you could change one decision that you've made in your life so far, what would it be and why?' Cassidy replied, 'One decision that I made in my life wasn't really my decision but when I was a freshman in high school, I got a new computer and I was using it, not irresponsibly but I wasn't being very aware of what I was doing on it and I downloaded a virus onto my computer and when I downloaded that virus, it allowed a hacker into my computer and through that, the person was able to trace my keystrokes on my computer and he was able to tap into my webcam and took pictures of me in my bedroom through my webcam and that's... it was... it was really tough and it was something that I definitely had to go through. It just happened 3 months ago. The FBI still has it under control and it was a mistake that I made being irresponsible on my computer but through that I want to, like I said earlier, I want to go to high schools and I want to tell kids about the dangers of being online and social media and since it's a growing thing, I just want to spread the word and let everyone know about the dangers of social media.' So this answer right here was what likely won Cassidy the crown. What a perfect question to bring up this incident that happened to her and I'm sure it captivated the audience and the judges since everyone has computers and should be made aware of things like this. With this answer, Miss Teen USA suddenly became a more educational experience and that was one thing that was probably more emphasized in the past but it's rare in more recent pageants. In the 90s, for example, Miss Universe was a geography lesson in itself and you could learn about all these countries but also, you could listen during the parade of nations of Miss Universe 1995 how fjords are in Norway or that the Nobel Prize originated from sweden or the USA was celebrating 75 years of the woman's right to vote that year and so forth and knowing little things like that actually helped me during my high school years. Cassidy is already starting to make media rounds as Miss Teen USA bringing awareness to the dangers of social media so she is well on her way to becoming a prominent and highly recognized Miss Teen USA. Finally, South Carolina chose Denise Garrido's question, 'What do you think is the biggest mistake that teenagers make?' Unfortunately, my webcast cut out a bit of her answer but what I got was, 'I think the biggest mistake that we face constantly is allowing ourselves to meet the low standards that we have set for us. People expect teenagers to be children and to make their childish mistakes (webcast cuts out)...become who you want to be.' So I didn't get all of South Carolina's answer but obviously it was quite good as we all know Tori is a good speaker and the fact that she was 1st runner up reflects that.

Miss Teen USA 2013, Cassidy Wolf reacts to her winMiss Teen USA 2013, Cassidy Wolf is crowned and sashedAfter Oklahoma won Miss Photogenic and Nebraska won Miss Congeniality, they showed the montage of all the Miss Teen USAs' winning moments from 1983 to 2012 and the audience loved Logan West's reaction which is easily the best in history. Logan was an outstanding Miss Teen USA and did a great job speaking on her platform which was bullying prevention. After Logan did her final walk. It was time to reveal the results. Minnesota was 4th runner up, then Georgia was 3rd runner up and then the nerves kicked in. We were down to the top 3 which were also my top 3 so I was very happy with that but unfortunately my winner, West virginia had to settle for 2nd runner up then at the last moment, they reverted back to the old method of announcing the 1st runner up and then the winner. The 1st runner up was South Carolina and for a second, her facial expression made people think she thought she won but she quickly realized that it was California who won for the 2nd time in Miss Teen USA history. Cassidy was in complete shock but she will hold the title well and should have a great reign. So our next stop is at Miss Universe on November 9 in Russia which is a country that is generating a lot of controversy lately so we shall see how Miss Universe turns out since Russia is also hosting the Winter Olympics a few months after Miss Universe so it's going to be interesting.





Some photos courtesy Miss Universe L.P., LLLP