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Kimberly Vernon of Santa Clara Is Miss California 2024

On June 15, Kimberly Vernon, 27, of Santa Clara, was crowned Miss California 2024 at Miss California’s week-long Centennial Celebration held at the Visalia Convention Center. On Tuesday night, June 11, Vernon received awards in the categories for Health and Fitness and the Preliminary Evening Gown.

Vernon won a total of $21,000 from the Miss California competition. This graduate of CSU Fullerton plans to use this scholarship money to further her higher education by setting professional goals for herself.

Not only will Vernon advance to the Miss America pageant, but what makes Vernon’s victory extra sweet is that she is the “100th anniversary Miss California.”

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“The Miss California competition began in 1924,” Vernon said. “My crown looks different than any other Miss California crown. It has topaz stones to mark the 100th anniversary.”

Speaking of the crown, a funny incident regarding this highly coveted head accessory occurred during the competition.

“For the evening gown segment, I wore a white evening gown I bought from Queenly,” Vernon said. “It was one shoulder and it had a very long train. During the finals night, when you get to the top five, there’s one last question you answer.  I answered it, I turned around and lifted up my skirt.

“As I was turning the corner, the skirt swooshed,” Vernon continued. “The corner of it hit the acrylic stand the centennial crown was on. The stand fell. The audience gasped. I made eye contact with the judges. I was in shock. I told the judges, ‘I just watched Miss Congeniality and this feels like a Sandra Bullock moment.’”

Before becoming Miss California 2024, Vernon also held the titles of Miss Santa Clara 2023, Miss Yosemite Valley 2022, Miss Santa Clara County 2020, Miss Santa Clara County 2021 and Miss Santa Clara County 2024. This was Vernon’s fourth year competing for the Miss California title.

“Some things that really helped me this year was having mentors who gave me advice and constructive feedback,” Vernon said. “My pageant coach, Beevie Chapman, worked with me on posing, walking, interviewing and styling. Cate Carlin, Executive Director of the Miss Mission City Organization, and her mother, Elizabeth Trevey, have been part of my support system since I was Miss Santa Clara County back in 2020. Tony Moises, who passed away two years ago, was a long-time mentor of mine.”

Vernon gave a special shout out to Linnea Sheehy, a former Miss Mission City and Miss Santa Clara, for being especially helpful. Sheehy is the Director of the Santa Clara Elite Dance Team and a Contractor teaching dance classes through the City of Santa Clara’s Parks & Recreation Department.

“Linnea Sheehy did so much,” Vernon said. “She choreographed my talent, which was a jazz dance routine to the song ‘Proud Mary’ by Tina Turner. She helped me with my walk. The night before, she got me jewelry to wear during the week. She helped me get my dress hemmed at a day’s notice. She has been my dance teacher since I was four years old so I’ve known her for 24 years. Linnea and her sister, Brea Paillet (also a former Miss Santa Clara), have an eye for style and they let me borrow the majority of my wardrobe that I wore all week.”

As Miss Santa Clara 2023, Vernon spoke to the Santa Clara City Council and attended the Santa Clara Art & Wine Festival to talk about “Arts for All,” still her platform.

“One thing I’d like to do as Miss California is work with our State’s Department of Education and do a school tour in all 58 counties here in California and talk about the importance of arts education,” Vernon said. “I would also like to work with California non-profits that focus on serving Title 1 schools and work with students who come from lower socioeconomic communities.”

Many Santa Clara families know Vernon through her past work as a coach.

“I was the Head Coach of the Color Guard Team at Santa Clara High School since 2018,” Vernon said. “This past season was my last season working as the Head Coach. I’m mentoring the new coach … Santa Clara is always my home and my heart, but I’ll be everywhere this coming year.”

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1 Comment
  1. Ana Vargas-Smith 4 weeks ago
    Reply

    Since the return of our SC Parade of Champions after a 24 year hiatus in 2019, Kimberly Vernon has participated as a Miss Santa Clara, Miss Yosemite, Miss Santa Clara County ‘21 and ‘24. She is so talented —her years in Vanguard and her love of teaching at SCHS—all have prepared her for her role as 100th Miss California! A dream come true. There hasn’t been a year of the parade without her. We would love to celebrate our local champion of Art in the 2024 SC Parade of Champions—we are so proud of her accomplishments! ♥️

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