LBCC cheerleader competes for Miss Teen Long Beach

Story and Photos by Iman Palm

LBCC biological science major, cheerleader, and Miss teen California competitor Blanca Castaneda.

After leaving the pageant world for some time, an LBCC biological science major is here to take back her crown.

At the age of four, Blanca Castaneda participated in her first pageant and continued doing so for the next two to three years.

Deciding to focus on other activities, Castaneda took a long break from the glitz and glamour.

During her 8th grade year, she discovered her love for cheerleading which is something she continues to do.

“I started cheerleading in the 8th grade and continued on until 11th grade. I danced my 11th and 12th grade year and resumed cheerleading as a college freshman,” said Castaneda.

She’s currently a member of the LBCC Viking Cheer team with this being her second year on the team.

Now, 18-year-old Castaneda chose this year to resume competing in pageants. Just recently she competed in the Miss Teen California pageant. She advanced to the top ten but did not win. She is set to compete in Miss Teen Long Beach on Nov. 18.

The actual competing process might be harder than most people initially assume. Unlike pageants broadcast on TV, the teen pageants do not have a talent portion. Instead, contestants are asked about their hobbies.

During the competition, the contestants compete in a casual and formal wear event. Following a question and answer event.

Competitors also participate in a series of interviews and training periods before the actual competition.

“The first interview is to determine if you are able to compete and the other is a getting to know you type interview,” Castaneda said. “It’s a lot of driving back and forth.”

According to Castaneda, the best part about being in pageants is being up on the stage. “On stage, it’s my time to shine,” Castaneda said. “All of the attention is on me.”

Castaneda’s teammates from the cheer squad all share similar attitudes about her.

“You won’t be sad around her,” said LBCC cheerleader Marriah Linares.

Linares met Castaneda five months ago when she joined the cheer team.

LBCC cheerleader Mauricio Cerecer has known Castaneda for two years and described her as being “a try hard, she gets serious when she tries.”