First Openly Gay Miss California Pageant Contestants


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.


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Photo credit:  Mollieformissca


Samantha Richardson

I am really glad both a femme and butch lesbian were entered and the pagent allowed them to be seen for who they are - wonderful people wanting to help others, with a beautiful heart to match :)

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G6 years ago

Good on her, GAY and PROUD of it!
You go girl!

Sarah M.
Sarah M6 years ago

It's good things are changing.

Maggie O.
Maggie Obrien6 years ago

why should it matter???

Lena T.
Lena T6 years ago

For now, we can be happy for them, but, indeed, let's hope that some day this will be a perceived as a matter of fact.

Vicky Locke
Vicky Locke6 years ago

To Joan M.; Exactly! Sexual orientation has nothing to do with beauty, so these young women should be able to participate openly, as they did.

To Ryder W.; I agree! I'll be glad when the time comes that one's orientation isn't "news".

To the contestants; Congratulations!

Robert O.
Robert O6 years ago

Nice to meet her. She is beautiful and a breath of fresh air on so many levels. I wish her (and Jenelle as well) happiness and success in their endeavors.

Mandi A., I don't think the writer so much has a problem with blondes but is pointing out their dominanace in beauty contestants and anyplace where beauty counts very highly. Let's face it Mandi A., it's still widely believed that young, pencil thin, blonde haired blue-eyed women are the standard by which all other women are judged. The same way blonde haired, blue eyed men are often considered the benchmark of the virile, masculine capable, all American male. It's time (and has been for decades) to change that and stop buying into that.

Bill C.
Bill C6 years ago

Wonder if they need any juidges....

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson6 years ago


Andrea A.
Andrea A6 years ago