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September 29, 2009
Jr. Miss California International enjoys giving back


FLYING HORSE PHOTOGRAPHY

Claire Wright (pictured) is only 13, but talking to her over the phone she sounds like she could be an an international ambassador, not just the recently crowned Jr. Miss California International.

Poise and personality always win out.

Wright, who lives in Auburn with her parents and older brother, Christian, 16, won the title on Sept. 12 at a pageant in Downey. The other "delegates" in her category included several good friends who ended up as first and second runners-up.

But Wright came out on top, impressing the judges in her interviews, evening gown, fun fashion and platform presentation.

The last component is what's most important to her.

"You hear about beauty pageants, and you think bratty girls," Wright says. "I competed because each contestant had to be an advocate for a charitable cause we believe in. For me, it's Acres of Hope."

Based in Applegate, Acres of Hope is a long-term housing program for homeless women with children. "I love working there and raising awareness," she says.

Wright, an eighth-grader at Forest Lake Christian School in Grass Valley, will compete next July in the national version of this pageant, representing the state of California. At her school, everyone's been real "cool" about her crowning glory.

"The students put up a banner, and I'm giving a speech. I love speaking in front of people," she says. Wright also has dance and theater experience.

As for her pageant wardrobe, she has one gown, which she says is "perfect."

"I couldn't find a better one. It's white with silver beads, and my Dad walked me during that part of the competition," she says. "For the fun fashion, I did a 'Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend' sparkly dress with a Kings necklace."

Looking ahead, Wright has school to keep her busy but she knows her reign will go by quickly. And don't think she's all about crowns and sashes, though she does have a crown case.

"I mountain bike, too," she says. "But I can also be a totally girly girl."

Long term, Wright says she would love to major in journalism and work for a newspaper or magazine - or maybe even write a screenplay!

"I'm just soaking it up right now!"

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