5 Questions with Miss California, Jillian Smith


Your cousins have all participated in the Miss America Organization- what specifically made you want to do it?

When I was five years old, I was at Miss California watching my oldest cousin compete. This was in 2000. During the competition, I fell in love with one of the contestants when she played the piano for her talent. Right then and there I decided I wanted to play piano and be just like her. Later that night, she was crowned Miss California 2000. So naturally, I decided I wanted to be Miss California someday. 


Best part of your competition years?

I don't think I have one specific part of competition that has happened to me in my nine years of competing. In all honesty, I would say the best thing that I could have ever gotten through competing (besides winning Miss California, of course), is all the times I lost. I've always said you learn a lot more by losing than you so by winning. I think by being able to recognize that as I've grown up competing in this organization is one of the best things I have gained. I've learned to take every loss and frustration that comes with it as motivation to don better the next time, and I think that's something that will benefit me for the rest of my life. 

Catch us up on a day in the life of Miss California

Everyday is different. Today, I spent the entire day at a middle school talking to the girls about the organization and about dude. be nice. I was there from 9-2:30 and spoke to every single female student, which was awesome. However, tomorrow I don't have anything scheduled, so I am making myself busy pursuing other possible appearances. Some days my schedule is packed, some days it's packed with me reaching out to different schools. But I always make sure that I'm doing my best to be as busy as I can, and be the best Miss California that I can. 

What are you most looking forward to in the next nine months of your reign?

One of the things that I said before I won is that if I ever did win, I wanted to go to as many local competitions as I possibly could. While I obviously want to meet the girls who are winning and will be competing at Miss California this summer, I also want to meet the girls who are trying over and over again just to get to the Miss California stage. I know more than anyone how hard the process can be, and I want to be there to remind the girls that if I can do it, literally anyone can. 

What would you say to someone on the fence about competing?


I would tell them to take the leap. It's always scary the first time you decide to do something you've never done before, but I can honestly say that I wouldn't be the person I am today without this organization. I have made some of my best friends in this organization, and I've gained skills that will help me for the rest of my life. There's a reason girls come back year after year. It is such a positive experience and I think anyone who is on the fence just needs to give it a try.