Rose Queen Camille Kennedy’s father Tim grew up in Hawaii and was heavily influenced by Japanese culture. That influence was passed down to Camille after she spent several months in Japan when she was 15.

The experience stayed with the 102nd Rose Queen, who now hopes to attend either Waseda University in Tokyo or Asia Pacific University in Kyushu where she plans to pursue a liberal arts degree in Japanese linguistics, social sciences, or culture and media studies.

Queen Kennedy and the Royal Court will ride on the Tournament of Roses float during the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day and preside over the Rose Bowl Football Game. They will mark 102 years in 2020 as ambassadors of the Tournament of Roses and the Pasadena community. Each court member also receives a $7,500 scholarship.

Kennedy said she remembers watching the parade on a computer while she was in Japan.

“One of the experiences that I remember well is I sat on New Year’s Day and watched the Rose Parade on the computer with my host family,” she said. “I said, ‘Do you know what this is?’ And they were like, ‘No, what is it?’ And now they’re excited to see it this year and I get to say, ‘Look, that’ll be me.’”

The Royal Court was selected from more than 600 applicants. Following the initial interview sessions, the Queen and Court Committee met and determined who to invite for the second round of interviews. About 250 young women were asked to return.

Third round interviews narrowed the field down to about 75 applicants and additional interviews winnowed the Royal Court finalists to approximately 25, from whom the seven Royal Court members were selected.

The committee evaluated the finalists on their public speaking skills, academic achievements, leadership experience and community and school involvement.

Along with Kennedy, South Pasadena High School Senior Cole Fox,

Emilie Risha, a senior at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy,  Rukan Saif, a senior at Arcadia High School, Michael Wilkins, a senior at Maranatha High School and two seniors at Marshall Fundamental School, Reese Rosental Saporito and Mia Thorsen, were chosen as finalists.

Kennedy was coronated on Oct. 22 at the Pasadena Playhouse by Tournament of Roses President Laura Farber.

During the coronation ceremony, Farber presented Rose Queen Camille with a Mikimoto crown featuring more than 600 cultured pearls and six carats of diamonds.

“I’m so incredibly honored to be stepping up into this role,” Camille said. “I hope I can do my best to represent Pasadena as a community.”

The LaSalle College Preparatory senior lives in Pasadena with her parents and her younger sisters Ava and Esme

She is a member of LaSalle’s theater troupe. Kennedy has appeared in three productions, including a lead role “City of Angels.”

Camille is also a member of the after school choral group and the Support Our Troops Club. She enjoys listening to music, cooking and working out.

When asked if she expected the win, Kennedy said it didn’t even cross her mind.

“As a Pasadena girl, I thought that the Tournament of Roses was — as my Royal Court members have said — a rite of passage,” she said. “It’s just something that you do; you don’t think too much about it.”