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Malibu resident looks for state title in Miss Preteen pageant

Rachel DeAngelis, 12, poses in an upcycled dress she created for the Miss Preteen Pageant. Ashleigh Fryer/22nd Century Media
Ashleigh Fryer, Senior Editor
4:03 pm PDT April 23, 2015

The first-ever Miss Preteen Malibu — 12-year-old Rachel DeAngelis — is setting out to make a name for Malibu girls on a State level, with her upcoming showing in the Miss Preteen California Pageant May 22-24 in San Luis Obispo.
“I’ve always idolized the [Miss Teen] Malibu girls, but I never really thought about being in that circuit,” DeAngelis said. “It started because I got a casting call to be Junior Miss North Hollywood. When I was going through the auditioning process I was like, ‘Wait a second. Maybe I should do my own city.’”
Shortly after DeAngelis decided to pursue becoming Miss Preteen Malibu, she found out that there was no precedent for the title in the community and was handed over the crown and the sash on the spot. Since then, she’s been preparing for the statewide competition. Although she has no prior knowledge of the pageant world, DeAngelis said she’s excited for the challenge.
“It’s definitely a lot of fun, but it is stressful,” DeAngelis said. “I decided to make my own dress for the formal wear portion and my mom is helping me get sponsors since she’s the entrepreneur of the family.”
Making her own dress is, perhaps, the easiest part for DeAngelis, who has been designing and creating her own fashions for several years and even attends design classes at Los Angeles’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in her spare time. For the formal wear portion of the pageant, DeAngelis decided to upcycle a dress she created for her Halloween costume this year, decking the vibrant blue ball gown out in crystals and a bodice.
“Originally I thought I might buy my dress, so I went to a lot different stores and looked around,” DeAngelis said. “I ended up taking an idea from one dress I liked and another idea from another dress and I just put it all together. Now it’s exactly what I wanted.”
But, making the dress isn’t all DeAngelis is concerned with. As Miss Preteen Malibu, she is also making appearances around town at public events like story time at the Malibu Library and Easter Hoppening at Bluffs Park. Behind the scenes, DeAngelis has been brushing up on her public speaking skills for the interview portion of the pageant, and has been learning all the skills of adult pageant contestants.
“I’ve turned into a complete pageant girl,” DeAngelis said. “I’ve been coached on how to walk, how to talk, how to wear a dress, how to walk in heels. It’s a lot of work.”
Despite all the work, DeAngelis thinks she’ll continue with pageantry after this competition is over. With the support of her mother and her friends, she thinks she’ll be able to bring her message across to preteen in Malibu and across the state.
“Of course I get a sparkly crown and all of that, but it’s not about that,” DeAngelis said. “It’s about being able to inspire different people to be as pretty or as smart or as kind as they want to be.”