As Bishop’s newest ambassadors, Kristina Blum and Indica Morgenstein will spend the next year representing the local community as Miss City of Bishop and Miss Teen Bishop, respectively.
Of the field of six contestants, judges said they selected Blum and Morgenstein as Bishop’s queens because they most embodied the qualities pageant organizers were looking for – good role-models and motivated young women with a drive to serve their community.
Both girls were crowned Friday, Nov. 30, at the first ever Miss City of Bishop and Miss Teen Bishop Beauty Pageant at Whiskey Creek in Bishop.
For the inaugural pageant, organizers focused on setting the stage for an annual event.
“Everything this year has definitely been kind of inventing the role and position of the queens,” said organizer Kristina Roberts. “We wanted to get the message across that this isn’t just a beauty pageant. I’m really excited about the role models we have.”
With just six contestants participating in the first annual event, Roberts said the ladies had an opportunity to help shape the program, ultimately deciding to do away with a swimsuit contest and move the focus away from physical beauty in favor of finding personalities with other qualities that embody Bishop.
“My hope and inspiration in doing this has been to create a program to help motivate, inspire and empower these young women setting out into the world to feel good about themselves and gain self-confidence from the inside and out,” Roberts said at the event. “I believe traditional beauty pageants are a thing of the past and what we need to truly applaud is the inward beauty of a person and particularly, a true leader.”
Leading is something both Blum and Morgenstein are enthusiastic about.
“As the first (Miss City of Bishop), I’m excited about the opportunity to put forth a precedence of service,” Blum said. “I want to lead by serving.”
Morgenstein said she is planning to participate in City Council meetings whenever appropriate and has made arrangements to participate in the Second Annual Shop with a Cop event next week. “I just want to be involved in the community as much as I can,” she said.
Blum, 21, enjoys reading classical literature, writing, fashion re-purposing, vintage jewelry, browsing old books in the library and studying the Romania Language.
She is legally blind and Roberts said “her perception of beauty is based entirely upon character, morality and love for other people.”
At the pageant, Roberts said Blum has “had to rise above many challenges in life and wants to show others that they do not have to let their challenges in life define who they are or what they become.”
Blum says the three words that best describe her are “faith, modesty and character.”
As Miss City of Bishop, Blum has already participated in a Mothers of Military Servicemen and Servicewomen pack for local soldiers and the Pioneer Home Health Care Open House.
Looking ahead, she said she is most excited about representing Bishop as its queen at Mule Days, where she hopes to be able to ride a mule in the parade, which she said would be a life-long dream come true.
Morgenstein, a 16-year-old junior at Bishop Union High School who enjoys playing volleyball on the school team, said she is always willing to go out of her way to help others.
Morgenstein “believes she would make a good role model because she is a natural-born leader, friendly, caring, compassionate and has overcome a lot to get where she is today,” Roberts said at the pageant. “Indy has had to go through four hip surgeries, yet has still remained committed to playing competitive sports.”
Morgenstein hopes to continue her education after high school and receive her doctorate degree in veterinary medicine.
Morgenstein said she is hoping to create a Big Brothers and Big Sisters program in Bishop with a focus on raising awareness and stopping bullying in the community.
Both Blum and Morgenstein said that a highlight of the pageant was meeting and getting to know the other contestants, who have all become friends.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls,” Roberts said. “I’m glad I wasn’t a judge.”
Overall, pageant organizers said they were impressed with the turn-out and are excited to see how the queens fall into their role as local ambassadors in the coming year and how future Miss City of Bishop Pageants shape up.
“I was pleasantly surprised by the turn-out,” City Administrator Keith Caldwell said. “I thought the event was fantastic and a great beginning for many more to come.”
Roberts said she is already hearing from young ladies who are interested in participating in next year’s pageant.