This is the biggest thing to ever happen to 17-year-old La Cañada High School senior Evanne Elizabeth Friedmann, and she’s having a ball, even participating in an Eileen Fisher holiday fashion show at Macy’s on South Lake Avenue and posing in a magazine fashion shoot along with her fellow members of the Royal Court, something a little off the beaten path of traditional Rose Queen activities.
Although the fashion show and the photo shoot were a little off the beaten path of typical Rose Queen activities, Friedmann is no stranger to modeling. In fact, it was her stint as a child model and her involvement in an improvisational comedy group called Comedy Sportz that helped transform her from the timid girl she once was to the bright, articulate and ambitious young woman she is today.
“I’ve always been pretty shy to get up onstage and perform,” said Friedmann. “And now being the queen, I have to be up on stage and give speeches. I’d never given a speech before and I really do give credit to Comedy Sportz for helping me open up. My mentality for trying out for the Rose Court was kind of the same as trying out for Comedy Sportz — I wanted to do it because I wanted the adventure, and I didn’t think I could do it because I was terrified of it.”
While Friedmann has stepped up to the plate in terms of being the face and voice of the Tournament of Roses, she feels more comfortable behind the scenes. Filmmaking, editing and creative writing have been her passions for many years. She just submitted her college applications to several top-notch film schools.
“I love storytelling,” she said. “My characters now have become so much more dynamic because I’ve been able to meet people and hear their stories and see their attitudes toward life, and in the future I’ll be able to use everything I’ve experienced in my films and stories.”
As for nontraditional activities such as the fashion show and photo shoot, Friedmann sees it as an opportunity to do the job she was selected to perform.
“We’re supposed to be ambassadors,” said Friedmann. “So getting publicity is great because we’re supposed to spread the word about the parade and the Tournament of Roses.”
There’s certainly no shortage of publicity or events for the court. They attend more than 150 events during their reigns — from singing the National Anthem at the Anaheim Ducks game to visiting hospitals and senior centers to attending a show at Medieval Times to meeting Nancy Reagan at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley to helping out at Princess Kathryn Thomson’s foundation “Crossroads,” which mentors middle school girls during those tough adolescent years. Friedmann even got to pilot the Good Year Blimp, proving that being the Rose Queen is a mixture of fun and responsibility.
“I feel a great responsibility to be the best queen and have the best court as can be because it’s so important to everyone in the community,” she said. “But it’s just as fun as I thought it would be, if not more. The thing I didn’t realize was how important it really is to the entire Pasadena community. It’s touching to see the community coming together to celebrate a tradition that we’ve had for 122 years.”
Events slow down significantly after New Year’s Day, so Friedmann plans to enjoy her friends and the rest of her senior year, and she looks forward to studying filmmaking next year. She certainly has a smorgasbord of great stories to tell.