Local teen Rachel DeAngelis was crowned Miss Teen West Coast and will be competing for the national title in October.
Competing in beauty pageants since the age of 12, DeAngelis, now 19, has earned about seven titles so far. She has pursuing modeling and acting and became an international model by the time she was 15.
“I honestly think that it’s a sport,” DeAngelis said. “There’s a lot that goes into it — the interview prep, then there is preparing for sportswear and evening down walks.”
In addition to onstage questions or even a platform presentation, DeAngelis said one of the hardest areas of competition is being interviewed, because one of the things that people fear the most is public speaking. DeAngelis has been able to gain skills in that area of competition.
“I ended up graduating high school within two and a half years and then made it to the school where I go to now, which is Washington State University, and I’ll be graduating barely being 20 years old,” DeAngelis said. “I started on my broadcast news journalism degree and started admiring sports management, so ESPN is definitely the dream one day.”
DeAngelis said she wasn’t very outgoing as a kid, but being in pageants helped build her self-confidence.
“I was actually a very shy kid growing up. I hardly ever spoke,” she said. “I started getting bullied a lot in school and pageants have definitely built my confidence and now I’m in a career where I will have to talk for a living so it hasn’t always been like this, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
As for inspiration, DeAngelis said one of her role models is Peta Jane Murgatroyd from “Dancing with the Stars.”
“It’s always been a dream of mine to go on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ being a state title holder and even a national title holder as well,” DeAngelis said. “I’ve seen Miss USAs go on the show and just many different members of that crew really inspired me to not only live a hard healthy lifestyle, but also to be a very down-to-earth person and relate to them.”
In honor of her late uncle, Kevin DeAngelis, she will be promoting “Healthy Heart Healthy Life” through the American Heart Association.
“I started working with the American Heart Association because my uncle had passed away from the young age of 37 due to a heart attack,” DeAngelis said. “So I inspire people over social media to live a heart-healthy lifestyle every single day; that’s part of the reason also why I wanna go on ‘Dancing With The Stars’ too one day.”
DeAngelis was involved with passing Bill AB 1719 in 2016 and donated over $5,000 to the American Heart Association to make CPR a California high school environment requirement.
“The United States is the number-one country of obesity, and I just really think we need more education about this cause,” DeAngelis said. “So I’m glad to be working with AHA and create my own platform inspired by them.”
DeAngelis won the Junior West Coast pageant back in 2015, and she expressed how that’s been a seven-year process.
“My pageant journey has come full circle now, especially since I’ll be going to Miss United States,” DeAngelis said. “I was actually Miss Junior United States too, back in 2018. So I just keep going to the same pageants because I love the project organization. I love the people that are surrounded by it, and I think that makes the experience a lot more fun.”
DeAngelis said she was able to accomplish so much being a part of pageants and now sees the impact and inspiration she has become to others.
“Being part of a pageant is so rewarding, I’ve been able to do so much now, even without the crown,” DeAngelis said. “I graduated high school when I was 16 and won a national title when I was 15 and helped pass the bill in the state, so I’ve just been able to do so much with pageants.”
“I’ve been able to inspire so many people every single time that I compete,” DeAngelis said. “I don’t win every single pageant, but when I was standing on the stage with the girls who ended up winning first, we’re all equally qualified to be Miss Teen West Coast and right before they announced me as the winner, the girl had told me that I’ve been inspiring her ever since she has been 12 and 13 years old and she congratulated me and she gave me a really big hug.
“I’m sure I would’ve been able to accomplish a lot without a crown, but just knowing that I have that kind of impact on people and statements and being a teen inspiration in this society, I think is not only what we need but the change that we need.”