On Jan. 10, audience members at the Mission City Center for Performing Arts waited on the edge of their seats as the emcee announced the winners of the Miss Silicon Valley & Outstanding Teen scholarship competitions. Miss Silicon Valley 2015 is Santa Clara’s Melissa Bowling, 23, also a former Miss Santa Clara and Miss Santa Clara County. Emily Sanchez, 14, is Miss Silicon Valley’s Outstanding Teen 2015.
The two ladies will be busy preparing for the Miss California & Outstanding Teen competitions held during the summer.
“I will be studying current events, maintaining a physically healthy body and thinking about wardrobe selection,” says Bowling, glowing with enthusiasm.
For her talent, Bowling showed her dramatic range and hit the high notes when she sang “No Good Deed” from Wicked.
“In the past, I’ve sung happy and light songs on stage, and this one gave me the chance to act a little more,” Bowling says.
Bowling’s platform involves helping caregivers in the multiple sclerosis community.
“I’m an intern at the Multiple Sclerosis Quality of Life Project where we do case management,” Bowling shares. “I’m creating a workshop in Monterey that will offer resources to caregivers for improving their health and wellness. My goal is to bring this workshop to Silicon Valley.”
In May, Bowling will graduate from California State University, Monterey Bay. Interested in social work, she plans to work for a year, and then apply to graduate school.
Sanchez attends Gilroy High School. For her talent, she performed a lyrical shadow dance to the song, “Human.” During the dance, a screen behind Sanchez showed her shadow.
“I saw this on America’s Got Talent,” Sanchez cheerfully explains, minutes after her crowning. “I love challenges, and I wanted to incorporate dance and gymnastics together with a shadow in the background.”
Sanchez’s family inspired her platform, type 2 diabetes awareness.
“Three out of four of my grandparents have had diabetes,” Sanchez says. “Two of them passed away from complications.”
In the Teen competition, Natalia Lopez shone in a black and white gown during the eveningwear segment. During the talent segment, Ilena Peng gracefully danced ballet en pointe and Janet Flesh performed an upbeat cheer. During the on-stage question segment, Alexandria Perez shared that she wishes she could go back in time to see her grandfather, who passed away from cancer; and Joanna Fung revealed that her dream superpower would be the ability to walk through walls so she could avoid stairs.
In the Miss competition, Elaine Fung strutted confidently across the stage in a black halter dress with rhinestones, as did Christina Truong, whose dress comprised of a fitted silver bodice and bright red skirt. Richelle Gali flashed a smile throughout her energetic ballroom dance number and Simone Stewart released her expressive singing voice while performing “I Will Always Love You.”
Miss Silicon Valley
Miss Silicon Valley- Melissa Bowling, $2,000
First Runner Up- Richelle Gali, $500
Non-Finalists- Elaine Fung, Christina Truong, and Simone Stewart, (3 @ $350) $1,050
Interview- Melissa Bowling and Simone Stewart (tie), $100 each
Talent- Simone Stewart, $100
Miss Congeniality- Elaine Fung, $50
Miss Silicon Valley’s Outstanding Teen
Miss Silicon Valley’s Outstanding Teen- Emily Sanchez, $1,000
First Runner Up- Natalia Lopez, $400
Non-Finalists- Ilena Peng, Janet Flesh, Alexandria Perez, Joanna Fung, (4 @ $150) $600
Interview- Ilena Peng, Emily Sanchez, and Joanna Fung (tie), $100 each
Talent- Natalia Lopez, $100
Miss Congeniality- Janet Flesh, $50