Page 43

“And the winner is…” This ‘edge of your seat’ phrase is what every pageant goer and contestant long for right before their name is hopefully announced. But, no one wants to hear these four words more than entrepreneur, ex-pageant queen, and coach herself – Kristen Bradford, owner of CROWN DIVA Boutique & Pageant Academy. Although Bradford might be new to the evening gown and apparel side of the business, she is a seasoned professional when it comes to pageantry and what it takes to be the winner. She describes her mother as an entrepreneur and watched her maintain and grow as a business owner since she was a little girl hailing from Portland, Oregon. Because of Mum, Bradford knew success was only achieved through hard work, dedication and a total love for your career path. Bradford’s journey in California started at Pepperdine University where she earned a BA in International Management in the year 2000 and an MA in Public Policy in 2003. Talk about a multi-tasker; while she was busy with getting her degrees in Malibu, she competed twice in the Miss Oregon USA pageant, and placed 2nd runner-up in 1998 and 2001. But it was behind the velvet curtain where she found her true calling. With over twenty years of pageant experience, she became the Founder and Executive Director of Miss Malibu USA, Miss Beverly Hills USA and Miss Santa Monica USA, preliminary pageants to Miss California USA and Miss California Teen USA. Bradford boasts, “I work with amazing young women. It’s exciting to see these young girls turn into confident women.” She can literally put the prize money where her mouth is since she has a history of grooming winners like the current 2015 Miss USA, Olivia Jordan along with many others crowned under her governance. Young women from around the country have come to California to train with Kristen. Her impressive resume of past winners include: Olivia Jordan – Miss USA 2015, Miss Beverly Hills USA 2013 Nadia Mejia – Miss California USA 2016, Miss Malibu USA 2015, Miss Beverly Hills Teen USA 2013 Athenna Crosby – Miss California Teen USA 2016, Miss Santa Monica Teen USA 2016 Brie Gabrielle - Miss Florida USA 2016, Miss Malibu USA 2012, Miss Malibu Teen USA 2007 Brittany McGowan – Miss Nevada USA 2015, Miss Malibu USA 2013 Natasha Martinez - Miss California USA 2015, Miss Malibu USA 2014 Cassandra Kunze – Miss California USA 2014, Miss Beverly Hills USA 2014 Chloe Hatfield – Miss California Teen USA 2013, Miss Malibu Teen USA 2013 Nana Meriwether – Miss USA 2012, Miss Malibu USA 2008 Tami Farrell – Miss California USA 2009, Miss Malibu USA 2009 Empowerment, positive change and resilience are the backbone of Crown Diva’s mission. Bradford explains, “Going for your goals and not being afraid to fail I think…the biggest thing that’s ever held me back was the fear of failure and not wanting to disappoint anyone

or let people down. I realized the benefits just from trying are so much more than what would happen if I did fail.” Parents ask her frequently, “Why should I put my daughter in pageant? Is it good for them?” Of course all the aesthetics, glitz and glamour could seem to put the emphasis on looks entirely. But her answer is resounding, “It’s not just about the stage and the crown. These girls take these skills and apply them to other areas of their lives. It’s for job interviews, college interviews, public speaking and self confidence.” Bradford advises young entrepreneurial spirited women to, “Think about what really drives you and what you’re passionate about…and make a career out of it.” Ms. Bradford is very excited about all of the upcoming pageants and is opening her doors to enthusiastic new applicants between the ages of 14 and 26 years old. The next pageant will be a double crowning for Miss Malibu and Miss Beverly Hills in mid-August. For those wanting to compete, you do not have to be a resident of either city in order to compete (simply register online at www.crowndiva.com/ apply). Bradford is also excited about promoting her new passion project Pageant Passport, an exclusive community and social group for women from around the world. She offers, “You don’t have to compete to become a member, as long as you’ve competed in a pageant in the past you can participate.” Once they sign up online, (www.pageantpassport.com), members receive access to special events, discounts on products and services, and the ability to network with like minded pageant aficionados. The launch event for Pageant Passport will be in Las Vegas in June in conjunction with the Miss USA pageant which is airing on FOX June 5th. Pageant Passport will provide the sisterhood of pageantry year-round. Okay, full disclosure…I admit I have been in a few pageants in New York in my mid teens and did place in a few areas and categories. One of the pageants was Miss New York and it was one of the best adventures of my life. The atmosphere was competitive I recall, but also a fantastic learning experience of how to be feminine and proud of my body and face. I never learned these things in my wolf den of three bothersome older brothers and a mommy who couldn’t bother with a stitch of make-up and wore modest beige clothes. Writing this article brought up many memories of how my perspective changed during those pageants and how I would continue to present myself to others and crucially still, to who I wanted to become. Crown Diva not only provides a safe haven for exploration of oneself, but it’s also a place to learn important life lessons. It’s obvious Ms. Bradford’s passion for pageantry and mentorship is why she’s on this Earth not for its gain, but for its grace. So, this is for you: And the winner is… Ms. Kristen Bradford. crowndiva.com pageantpassport.com @crowndivaboutique

focusmag.us 43

Focus LA July 2016  
Focus LA July 2016  
Advertisement