In a ceremony in mid-October at the Pasadena Playhouse, Altadena’s Isabella Marez became the 100th young woman to experience the exhilaration of being named Rose Queen.
The youngster, a senior at Pasadena’s La Salle High School, was rendered speechless as Tournament of Roses President Lance Tibbet bestowed upon her a diamond- and pearl-encrusted crown designed by Mikimoto as family, friends, former queens and members of the Royal Court cheered and applauded.
“Queen Isabella’s life changed the moment I announced her name. She has now become part of the tradition and legacy of the 99 Rose Queens before her,” said Tibbet after the coronation.
“Not only will Queen Isabella and the Royal Court be wonderful ambassadors, these young women will be making a positive impact by contributing kindness to others within our community. They have committed to make a difference by supporting Elizabeth House, a nonprofit that provides shelter, hope and support to homeless, pregnant women and their children. We all have the ability, power and responsibility to help one another. I encourage us all to practice kindness and make a difference,” Tibbet said.
The theme of this year’s Tournament of Roses is “Making a Difference.”
In October, Marez was among seven young ladies chosen for the Royal Court, which includes: Savannah Bradley from Pasadena High School; Lauren Buehner of Arcadia High School; Sydney Pickering, also from Arcadia High School; Georgia Cervenka and Julianne Lauenstein, both of La Cañada High School; and Alexandra Artura, a student at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy.
The gala affair at the Pasadena Playhouse on Oct. 18 was hosted by Ellen K of KOST 103.5 FM. To further mark the special occasion, 19 former Rose Queens were led to the stage to signify past winners stretching back to 1940.
The first Rose Queen, Hallie Woods, was crowned in 1905, and things couldn’t have been more different than they are now. Early incarnations of the tradition had women making their own floats, and while the modern Rose Court includes only six women as princesses, the 1906 court, led by Queen Elsie Armitage, had 24 princesses — the most in tournament history.
Like many Rose Queens who preceded her, Marez keeps a rigorous schedule that would exhaust most career-driven professionals. She takes deserved pride in her commitment to the National Arts Society and the Hispanic National Honors Society, yet still finds time to juggle duties as a junior ambassador for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She also enjoys membership in several school clubs, including the Unbreakable Club, the Support our Troops Club and the Key Club. In addition to her role as a youth-minister, Marez also makes time for sports on the varsity softball and golf teams.
In college, Marez plans to study social justice and human anatomy.
In September, the seven young women were among more than 1,000 contestants, all of whom underwent an arduous and time-consuming process, but one that consistently produces contestants well-prepared for life.
Judges use time-tested standards that include points for youth-achievement, speaking ability, school and community involvement, poise and other critical factors.
In addition to the 17-21 age requirement, Rose Queen hopefuls must be childless, have at least a 2.0 grade point average, be a senior in high school or enrolled as a full-time student in the Pasadena Area Community College District, and be willing and available for the multitude of interviews and public appearances. After the initial elimination rounds, seven young women are selected as finalists and enjoy a fun-filled day in Newport Beach with a select committee of pageant officials. There they are able to take their time interacting with the young women, watching carefully for signs of natural poise and leadership in each applicant.
The Queen and her Royal Court will have the honor of riding on a specially-designed float in the Rose Parade, as well as making various appearances where they’ll serve as “ambassadors” of the Tournament of Roses and the city of Pasadena, according to pageant guidelines. The whirlwind experience will culminate with their appearance at the 129th Rose Parade on New Year’s Day.
To commemorate the auspicious occasion, the Pasadena Museum of History (pasadenahistory.org) is hosting a unique exhibition to honor the inauguration of the 100th Rose Queen.
“The 2018 Royal Court consists of seven extraordinary young women who are now ambassadors for the Tournament of Roses,” Dave Link, chair of the Tournament’s Queen and Court Committee, said in a prepared statement.
“By attending events throughout Southern California, the members of the Royal Court will make a difference though contributing acts of kindness by helping others,” Link said.
The Museum of History exhibit, “Royals of Pasadena: Rose Queen and Royal Court,” offers a fascinating look at the evolution of the pageant, including fashions, selection rules and information on the stunning jewelry the pageant is so famous for.
The exhibit runs until Feb. 11. The Pasadena Museum of History is located at 470 W. Walnut St., Pasadena. Call (626) 577-1660 or visit pasadenahistory.org for more information.
For more information on the Tournament of Roses, visit tournamentofroses.com.