Meet Rose Queen Vanessa Manjarrez

The 17-year-old student of Mayfield Senior in Pasadena is practicing her wave


Congratulations! The Tournament of Roses is a 95-year old tradition. Did you grow up watching it on TV?
When I was really little I used to go with my grandma because she lived on Colorado. And then growing up I went to visit family in Mexico City and so we watched it on TV. My dad grew up watching it and it has been a part of the family.

Did you grow up wanting to be on the Rose Court then?
I wanted to have the experience of being a senior in the Pasadena area and to be able to tryout for such an awesome experience. So that was kind of my mentality going into it. I was completely content with whether I made it or not.

What was it like when they called your name?
I was so shocked. It was really nice because a lot of the Mayfield seniors came and were just screaming, and they were so happy. I thought, Oh my goodness what is going to happen now?

What is a typical day in the life of a Rose Queen like?
Everyday is different. Most days we get up and get ready, and we go to different events throughout the day. They can be social events, different charity events. Some days are really early. Some days are late nights.

How do you get ready, specifically?
In the morning we wake up and see what wardrobe we have for that day, for that specific event. Macy’s provides us with an incredible wardrobe, which we all love. The Queen Court Committee puts together a schedule and a list of what we get to wear at every event.

Have you started practicing your wave?
Yes. On the first day we were announced as princesses we immediately had etiquette training. They talked to us about how to sit at a table, meet people, eat—all that. They immediately said, this is how you do the wave. Learning how to walk and glide was really fun. The court and I like to make fun of the situations and we enjoy ourselves.

What are you most excited for on the day of the parade?
When we turn the corner on Colorado, the TV corner where all the people are, I think that is going to be the most amazing moment.

Are there misconceptions about being on the Rose Court?
I think a lot of people think it’s just a beauty contest and it’s really not. We are all focused on our academics, but we all have very diverse passions outside of school. I don’t think its just based on looks. I think people in general, including myself before I was on the court, don’t really know what it is to be the Rose Queen. We go to 150 events over three months and just have to try and be the best ambassadors that we can be for Pasadena and give to the community. I don’t think people know that, and I think it’s really important that they do.

Do you miss out on anything being the Rose Queen?
Definitely. Being on the Rose Court is like having a full time job. I do miss going to school and seeing my friends everyday.

Will your life go to back to normal on January 2?
Well, everything starts picking up now. We’re going to three or four events a day, and it will pick up even more as the parade gets closer. After the parade we get to go back to school and will have a few events here and there until February. I never thought I would be so exhausted, but it’s been a really wonderful experience and something I know I’ll treasure and I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

The 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade will take place on Tuesday, January 1.

ALSO: See Chris NIchols’ Insider’s Guide to the Rose Parade














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