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95th Rose Queen, princesses crowned in Pasadena

October 25, 2012 |  3:19 pm

Standing outside the white doors of the Pasadena Convention Center on Thursday, moments before accepting her pearl- and diamond-encrusted crown, Vanessa Manjarrez, the 95th Rose Queen, finally caught up with her new reality.

"It really hit me when I was standing outside those white doors: It's all real now."

Vanessa, the 17-year-old student at Mayfield Senior School who beat out more than 900 Pasadena-area young women for the title, joined her Royal Court on stage Thursday to accept her crown, which according to organizers, features more than 600 cultured pearls and six carats of diamonds.

With friends, family and community leaders standing by, it was all pageantry in the convention center's ballroom, with Vanessa in a white, over-the-shoulder gown, her princesses in red designs by the Los Angeles fashion house Tadashi — all of them with their crowns and bouquets of roses.

The coronation marks the beginning of what will be a packed schedule of events for the 2013 Royal Court, whose members serve as ambassadors for the Tournament of Roses. The queen and her princesses are slated to participate in more than 150 community and media functions over the coming year.

"We have so many places to be and it can be difficult at times, but it's so much fun and I think we all love it," Vanessa said.

And she'll have to fit it all in around the typically busy life schedules of the Royal Court, which consists of top achievers with charitable, scholastic and other commitments.

Vanessa, a Pasadena resident, is involved with the National Charity League, the Pasadena Humane Society and Villa Esperanza, in addition to sitting on the Diversity Committee and Advising Council at Mayfield Senior School. She plans to pursue business and science, particularly stem cell research and genetics, in college, according to the Tournament of Roses website.

Her Royal Court of princesses include Kate Benuska, 17, Maranatha High School; Tracy Cresta, 17, La Salle High School; Victoria McGregor, 17, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy; Nicole Nelam, 17, Pasadena High School; Sonia Shenoi, 17, San Marino High School; and Madison Teodo, 17, La Cañada High School.


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-- Jason Wells and Anthony Carpio, Times Community News