FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — During the preliminary competition for Miss California, CBS47 had exclusive access to the contestants’ interviews with the judges discussing their social impact initiatives and follow-up questions.

The next three featured contestants were:

  • Mary Kohaut: Miss San Diego
  • Alexandria Steward: Miss Placentia
  • Ashley Nelson: Miss Orange Coast

Miss San Diego Mary Kohaut says when she first dipped her metaphorical toe in the world of Miss California, the reality made her reevaluate the “beauty pageant” cliché she had built in her mind.

“I was expecting ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’,” Kohaut said referencing a popular reality show centered around the families of contestants in child beauty pageants. “Complete opposite of that, every girl is absolutely outstanding. Intelligent, empowered, beautiful women, I have made friends for a lifetime here.”

There are two preliminary competitions where candidates compete in onstage interviews talking about their social impact initiative (15%), talent (35%), and red carpet evening wear (15%). Prior to these competitions, each candidate had a 10-minute press conference-style interview with the judges, weighted at 35%.

Scores from the preliminary competitions and the interviews were tallied. Based on this, the candidates were trimmed from 31 to the top ten semi-finalists plus one “people’s choice winner” from online voting, making for a top 11.