SCW: Name, hometown, currently reside?
Jessica Vo. Originally from Fremont, but moved to Santa Cruz six years ago for school and decided to make this town my home.
SCW: Okay first things first! Are you a Giants or A’s fan?
JV: Definitely a die hard A’s fan. Since I’m from Fremont, I grew up an A’s fan and will forever stay an A’s fan even though there are a lot of Giants fans in Santa Cruz!
SCW: Okay How about 49ers or Raiders?
JV: Well, my dad is from Denver – so I’m a Broncos fan. I was on the big screen at Mile High Stadium when I was 10, so that sold me. If I had to choose, I would say the 49ers, only because they’re not in my division!
SCW: Cool, what was your major up at UCSC?
JV: Community Studies – it’s a combination of anthropology, sociology, and psychology. Basically, community mechanics and how people conduct themselves around others are subtle yet evident everywhere; I studied a variety of communities around the world. It was an amazing subject!
SCW: So you are currently Miss Santa Cruz; congratulations! Your also competing in the Miss California pageant January 12-13th Please tell us about that?
JV: This is my first pageant! I actually don’t consider myself a beauty queen, so this experience has been new to me, yet very exciting at the same time! So far it’s been an honor representing Santa Cruz. I love being a part of the community and I’m constantly trying to do whatever I can to give back. My goal is also become the first Vietnamese-American Miss California.
SCW: Tell us what that would mean to you?
JV: It would truly be an honor! When I was younger, I used to watch the Miss Universe pageant on TV and didn’t understand why there wasn’t a Miss Vietnam. I thought our country was not good enough or pretty enough to compete. Vietnam was finally added in 2004, but while growing up I didn’t have many Asian-American role models in this type of industry. Being crowned Miss California would mean the world to me. I would love to serve as a role model for other girls, and of course, make my family proud. I’m the first generation, and I know what a struggle it was for my family to come here.
SCW: So what projects and charities would be one your agenda if you were to win Miss California?
JV: I have been volunteering at Community TV of Santa Cruz County for the past three years now and would love to continue giving back. They are a great organization and are used as a liaison to foster community dialogue through media. We work with other non-profits in Santa Cruz County as well as promoting community events. My favorite aspect of volunteering is hosting all of the amazing community events we have in Santa Cruz. It showcases how wonderful our town is by providing a positive space in a positive way.
SCW: You’ve been living in Santa Cruz for a while now, have you picked up surfing or stand up paddling?
JV: I really want to try surfing but I’m not a good swimmer! I know the surf is really good here so I’m also pretty intimidated by all the locals. I’ve tried stand up paddling, and I really enjoy it! Even though the last time I went I dropped my iPhone in the ocean!
SCW: We heard a rumor that you’re a snowboarder and enjoy riding the park…is this accurate?
JV: Yes! I just got back from some intense snowboarding in Colorado. I absolutely LOVE being outdoors! I’m always hiking, mountain biking, running on the beach, and snowboarding (when there’s snow!). Luckily, we are having an early dump so this year’s ski season should be solid! I’ve been snowboarding since 8th grade and find it not only thrilling, but heavenly.
SCW: We know that your 9-5 job is as a television producer. Please tell us about that?
JV: I love working in news. It’s a great way to be aware of everything going on in the community. One of my favorite stories is how one elementary school partnered up with Dress A Girl Around the World. They spent the entire day making dresses out of pillowcases for girls in need in Africa. It was a touching story and positive news for our viewers.
SCW: Well Jessica, it has been a pleasure chatting with you! We will be rooting you on in the Miss California pageant! Do you have any parting words of wisdom for our readers?
JV: My favorite quote to live by is from hockey god, Wayne Gretzy: “You miss 100% of shots you don’t take”. I believe an individual’s journey in life is what one makes of it. I wouldn’t be Miss Santa Cruz if I didn’t try, and my endeavor for Miss California won’t be fulfilled until I take the best shot of my life!
Photos: T.Fox / Santa Cruz Waves