Since the mock beauty pageant Mr. Kingsmen took off in 2012, it’s been restricted to only male nominees. This year will be the first time the contest is open to all genders under a new name: Competing for the Crown.
Event lead Victoria Lahney, a senior at California Lutheran University, said that the Associated Students of California Lutheran University Programs Board thought about including all genders in the event during last year’s Mr. Kingsmen. The male contestants often brought women on stage for skits and other parts of the show. After seeing the light they brought to the stage, Lahney knew that she wanted to make the event accessible to all genders.
This year, Lahney is proud to report that five out of ten student nominations are female.
“The change is happening and we’re really excited for it and they’re [the nominees] really excited for it too,” Lahney said.
The ASCLU Programs Board brainstormed a female version of Mr. Kingsmen called Mrs. Regal, but Lahney decided it was ultimately better to have one event that included all people, regardless of gender. Lahney said that a few colleges have begun opening up similar gender-exclusive events, and she wanted Cal Lutheran to be a leader down that path.
“There’s a lot of universities that are slowly doing this with their male beauty pageants…we wanted to be at the front of that,” Lahney said.
At first, Lahney was intimidated when she decided to make the event available for all genders. She said that since the event is well known and appreciated throughout the school, there was a risk of backlash.
“I was really nervous at first to see what people would think, but after hearing the responses, they’re really positive,” Lahney said.
Competing for the Crown will include talents, skits, costumes and all the elements of previous Mr. Kingsmen events. The structure will also remain the same.
ASCLU Programs Board Director and marketing communication senior Samantha Schindler said the event is still about having fun. The only difference is that it is now more inclusive.
Ruth Smitherman, a junior studying theatre and a Competing for the Crown nominee, said she always wanted to participate in the event but was unable to because of her gender. After being nominated, she was eager to be one of the first female competitors in Competing for the Crown.
As her talent, she is considering either lip-syncing or an aerial hammock performance.
“I’m excited that I can be a part of it and it doesn’t matter what my gender is,” Smitherman said.
Garrett Mueller, a nominee and first-year political science major, had a similar event at his high school that was restricted to only male competitors. Mueller believes that opening the event to all genders is a great improvement.
“The name change is making it more inclusive…I think that’s a fine change,” Mueller said.
Matt Waxman, another nominee and senior communication major, competed in last year’s Mr. Kingsman and is eager to be a part of Cal Lutheran’s first Competing for the Crown Event. Waxman has high hopes for the future of Competing for the Crown.
“It will probably bring a much bigger audience…it’s not just a bunch of slobs just trying to do goofy stuff…now the women can join in,” Waxman said.
The programs board have already begun working on the event and the nominees will begin rehearsals soon. Schindler said that Programs Board aims to continue to improve Competing for the Crown every year.
While they want to keep most of the event a surprise, this year’s theme is Pixar and Schindler hopes that it will be the best one yet.
“We always push ourselves to go further than the year before,” Schindler said.