Last Sunday, 18-year-old Annemarie Branks came out on top as she was crowned the new Miss Diamond Bar 2013.
“Having my name called for top five was a complete shock and I could finally breathe a sigh of relief,” Branks said. “Later, when they were naming the finalists my name was announced last, so I was the only one left in line on the back of the stage. As they crowned the first runner up and I stood alone in the back thinking, ‘is this really happening?’ Then a wave of excitement overcame me and I was nothing, but smiles for the rest of the day.”
Prior to announcing the finalists, each contestant was asked a final question on stage -- “As a member of the Miss Diamond court, you have the opportunity to make a difference in your community, what is your platform and why?” -- which is where Branks felt she “really shined.”
“Interview is what I practiced most so I was able to give an honest, genuine answer,” Branks said.
The senior at Diamond Bar High School has competed in previous pageants including the Miss California Teen USA 2013 pageant as Miss Phillips Ranch Teen, but had never won a title.
“A year ago I watched the Miss Diamond Bar 2012 pageant and seeing all of my friends make the court really motivated and inspired me to enter the 2013 pageant,” Branks said. “This is my first time winning a title and I am so thankful I was chosen as Miss Diamond Bar 2013.”
Aside from pageantry, Branks is also the captain for the varsity cross-country team at her school. She also takes part in the UNICEF club as an officer for publicity and has been an active member of the St. Denis Parish where she has volunteered as an altar server for almost eight years.
In the following year, Branks anticipates to meet new people and develop relationships with the citizens, politicians, and her court of four princesses.
The rest of the court includes:
- Serena Avila-Mott: 25-year-old Quality Management Coordinator and Clinical Care Extender intern with Citrus Valley Health Partners
- Melina Di Palma: 16-year-old junior at Diamond Bar High School
- Chika Udengwu: 16-year-old junior at Diamond Ranch High School
- Danielle Ritchie: 18-year-old senior at Diamond Bar High School
Contestants who also participated in the pageant include:
- Taylor Kalinowski: 16-year-old junior at Diamond Bar High School
- Joann Liang: 20-year-old sophomore at Irvine Valley College
Some other awards won included:
- Bria Smith: 16-year-old junior at Diamond Bar High School won the "We Love to See You Smile" award
- Vivian Li: 17-year-old junior at Diamond Bar High School won the "Miss Congeniality" award
One of Branks' goals as Miss Diamond bar is to “bring light” to the organization she supports, the American Diabetic Association, so everyone can learn to live healthier lifestyles, Branks said.
“Being an ambassador to Diamond Bar for all these people will help teach me to become more of a mature young woman,” Branks said. “I also hope to be helpful and fulfill my Miss Diamond Bar duties at all of the city’s events.”