When one thinks of beauty pageant contestants from California, the stereotypical blonde surfer babe with a million boyfriends comes to mind. Indeed, a majority of the Miss California contestants are from Southern California, the stereotypically blonder, tanner half of the state.
19-year-old Mollie Thomas (pictured) blows that stereotype away. Not only is she not blond, she also isn’t straight. Neither is Jenelle Hutcherson of Long Beach.
Mollie and Jennelle were the first two openly gay pageant contestants running for the title of Miss California.
Mollie, who represented West Hollywood, was raised in Pennsylvania and Manhattan by an American Mother and a French father, and was persuaded to enter the pageant when a recruiter for the Miss USA pageant presented her with the opportunity to run openly.
Her reasons for running are to become more visible as a positive role model in the community and as a vehicle for new opportunities. Jenn Kennedy reports that both the organizers and other contestants have accepted her and she has had no problems due to her sexuality within the pageant arena.
Mollie takes classes part-time at UCLA, and hasn’t decided between political science or gender studies as a major. Working with young people has always been a large part of her volunteer work, so she hopes to be able to combine this as well. She has more than 13 years of dancing and showcased this skill as her talent in the pageant.
Jenelle, who dresses more in a masculine fashion, is also not blond. She sports a mohawk, ear plugs and piercings. She is 26 from Long Beach and self describes as a drag king. She has a Facebook page and comments that as a contestant, she wants to send the message:
“I got up there to make me happy,” says Hutcherson. “I got up there to influence these kids that I work with as a mentor, to be themselves, to be who they are and see how the world reacts.”
Unfortunately, neither Jenelle nor Mollie won the crown, instead being beaten out by Natalie Pack, a (blonde) 22-year-old who plans to attend medical school. Miss Malibu, Brie Gabrielle, was the runner-up. Details can be found here.
Photo credit: Mollieformissca