By Blair Brice
Kristin Cleavinger may be a stranger to La Jolla, but she is no stranger to Donald Trump’s Miss California Teen pageant. While the newly crowned Miss La Jolla may reside in Scripps Ranch, Cleavinger considers herself to be greatly immersed in the 92037 community — she is a native La Jollan, is employed by the local Sprinkles Cupcake branch, and is an active member of the Student Board at La Jolla Playhouse.
Locale aside, Cleavinger said she is thrilled to be representing “such a beautiful area of San Diego.” Hoping to clinch the title of Miss California Teen, the 17-year-old Scripps Ranch High School senior and daughter of Lhen and Jeff Cleavinger, has begun her race toward the big win at the statewide pageant set for Palm Springs in November. Winning this coveted title would grant exposure and opportunities including "appearances and work at charity events, scholarships, prize money, celebrity events, exposure among show business professionals, building self confidence, communication skills, and gifts from sponsors (of the organization/pageant)," Cleavinger said.
In the upcoming months, Cleavinger will be busy networking with companies, organizations, stylists, photographers and artists to sharpen her Miss California Teen image. Cleavinger’s campaign and event information is fueled primarily through her Twitter and Facebook accounts, each relaying dates of fund-raisers, benefits and happenings, and extending promotional discount codes to followers for her sponsor’s clothing lines.
Cleavinger’s fervor for stage appearances began in youth theater. Her first taste of pageantry came a few years ago after a meeting with an agent from Abrams Artists Agency in Los Angeles. Shortly thereafter, she was signed with
, where she learned of the Miss California Teen program.
“I submitted my profile for the role of a contestant pretty pessimistic about receiving a call or response,” she said. “A few days later I received a call from a recruiter for Miss California and Miss California Teen contestants. She conducted a phone interview and based off her impressions, she invited me and my mom to meet her at her Beverly Hills office. After my in-person interview, I had to do some fundraising (selling cupcakes by the dozen) to pay for my entrance fee of $850. All of my friends and family were so supportive, and because of them I am a current contestant.”
Cleavinger’s outlet for community service comes from working with children. The organization closest to her heart is Isabella’s Giraffe Club, a non-profit that offers emotional and educational support to parents of stillbirths and SIDS. Founder Angela Amoroso and her husband Drew have donated countless hours to the cause since losing their daughter to SIDS. The Amorosos happen to own Scripps Performing Arts Academy where Cleavinger performed in musical theater as a child and currently volunteers as an instructor.
Cleavinger has also recently worked as an event coordinator for the American Girl Fashion Show, and Art with HeArt.
“I believe that part of my responsibility as a human being and a member of society is to help in any way I can to positively influence the younger generations and to be a good role model,” she said.