TALE AS OLD AS TIME – Review of Disney’s live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast”

Photo courtesy Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’

There’s been a lot of hype – and, let’s be real, a lot of controversy – surrounding Disney’s new “Beauty and the Beast” movie. The headlines are proclaiming that this could be the company’s first $1b movie of 2017, and I could totally see that happening. I wanted to share my review of what I thought of the movie, so this is my opinion! I went with my husband, and we paid for our ticket, so this is not a sponsored review or anything.

My quick review is simply this: IT’S AMAZING, GO WATCH IT! 🙂

  1. This needs to be said, but I won’t go too deep since this is a review blog post: I am a Christian (saved by the grace of God, y’all), and I had no problem whatsoever with any part of the movie. Just had to put this disclaimer here. For any parent who had concerns, all I can say is that you make your own decision, but for me, I have no problem recommending this film at all.
  2. I highly recommend that you watch this movie in 3D, if you can. So many times, it feels like a throwaway to watch something in 3D. But for this particular movie, I believe it justifies the higher cost – there are scenes that just pop out at you.
  3. When Emma Watson first came on screen, I’m like, “Hermione!” But she built a new character of Belle that was totally believable. Not a spoiler – however, I will let you know there is one scene when a white owl is on screen, and my husband turned to me and whispered, “Harry Potter!”
  4. As a bi-racial individual whose mother is Filipina and father is Caucasian, it really made me happy to FINALLY see representation of interracial relationships on screen. Thank you, Disney!
  5. Last, but not least, I had high expectations of the movie, and it 100% lived up to the hype! I was overwhelmed by positive feelings and memories as I watched it. The songs are still nostalgic enough to where you feel like you are watching something familiar – yet fresh. The actors are PHENOMENAL in their roles.

From Disney: “The story and characters audiences know and love come to spectacular life in the live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic “Beauty and the Beast,” a stunning, cinematic event celebrating one of the most beloved tales ever told. “Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart of the true Prince within.”

Are you planning to watch the movie? Comment below with your thoughts. Thanks for taking the time to read my review!

XO,

~Angela~

Review of OLAPLEX – and a promo code to try it for free!

Sure, my hair is naturally black (I’m half Filipina), but that doesn’t mean I haven’t dreamed of lighter locks. Back in the day, if you want to lift your hair color several shades, it used to take multiple appointments at a salon depending on how many levels lighter you wanted to go. What if now, you could lighten it dramatically in just ONE visit, with less damage to your hair than ever before? Now you can, thanks to a highly buzzed about product line, Olaplex.

My natural color – BEFORE

This legendary treatment promises to rebuild broken hair bonds. Just looking at the before and after photos on the Olaplex website is convincing. The fact that it protects your hair from the dangers of chemical processing makes this product a game-changer! It dramatically reduces breakage and makes color last longer.

I first heard about it a year ago when my hairstylist cousin, Anjo, insisted that if I go lighter, I HAD to use Olaplex. He said I would need it, because it would be harder to lift my color since I had been using boxed black dye to cover my grays. He even grabbed my iphone, created a new note, and wrote OLAPLEX in all caps so I wouldn’t forget. Since then, I’ve been dying to try it – and when PUREBEAUTY (Aruj Salon & Spa) at the  Dadeland Mall in Miami offered me a complimentary hair treatment in exchange for a review, I jumped at the chance.

The Olaplex system claims to permanently rebuild disulfide hair bonds, which give our hair elasticity and strength. The hair products are so unique, the company has secured 8 patents!

Christina at the salon took great care of me, and explained how the system worked. She also listened to my desires – I showed her a picture of the color that I hoped to achieve, and she said she could do it!

Olaplex No. 3 Hair PerfectorI’ve been using it once a week since then, and I’ve felt that my hair was not frizzy and flyaway like it used to be when I would get it lightened without Olaplex. So that’s already one benefit!

Does Olaplex live up to the hype? I really think so – when I saw my “after” hair, I was impressed with the color. But even more, I was impressed with how my hair felt stronger and smoother, even the weeks after when I would wash it and style it at home.

Have you ever heard of Olaplex, and are you curious to try it? Use my promo code: ANGELAHAIR to receive a FREE Olaplaex treatment with your color service at the PUREBEAUTY Salon & Spa in Miami!

Many thanks to PUREBEAUTY for providing this experience to me, and especially to Christina for making me feel beautiful!

Opinions are always my own. I was provided this complimentary experience for review, but just because it was free doesn’t mean I will lie to you about what I think – y’all know I KEEP IT REAL.  

Magnetic lashes! 5 Tips for Applying”One Two Lash” – no glue required

Click here to watch a video of how I apply these!

Have you heard of magnetic lashes? One Two Lash is the world’s first, and they’re taking lash lovers by storm. These magnetic false eyelash extensions are super quick to apply – hence the name “One Two Lash” — and they don’t damage your natural eyelashes. I first heard about these when Allure Magazine named them one of 2016’s “Best of Beauty Breakthrough” products, so I was beyond thrilled when One Two Cosmetics offered to send me complimentary samples. I even talked about these in my WPTV “Beauty News” segment (click here to watch it), and the morning anchor was so happy to try these because she’s allergic to eyelash glue!

Information about the lashes from the One Two Cosmetics website: “Using our patent-pending micro-magnetic technology, One Two Lash sandwiches your natural lashes between two ultra-lightweight fiber strips to create a bold, dramatic lash line in seconds. And our unique, patent pending design makes lashes look long, thick, and luxurious — while looking undeniably natural. This breakthrough solution works for people of all ages, ethnicities, and fits any eye shape. Experience the One Two Lash revolution today!”

The website offers “how to,” but I’ll be honest — at first, I didn’t even read the instructions or watch the instructional video. I didn’t think that I needed to, because these were so self-explanatory — simple for me to figure out and apply. As a disclaimer, please watch the video and proceed gently and with caution, because eyes are a delicate part of your face and must be treated with care.

After I finally watched the instructional video for the “original” lash set, I learned what the microfiber cloth was actually for. I’m a photographer, so I thought, “Oh, that’s so sweet, One Two Cosmetics sent me a nice lens cleaning cloth.” 🙂 You have to go to the “how to” website for yourself to see what the cloth is REALLY supposed to be used for, LOL!

Magnetic false #eyelash extensions by @onetwolash - dramatic #lashes in seconds! Click To Tweet

I’m wearing the One Two Lash “original” on both eyes: two sets on each eye, side by side, overlapping

Here are my tips:

1. Practice first! Don’t wait until the day you want to wear them to give them a try. Seriously, watch the video. Now that I’ve watched it, I realize it really does help.

2. Curl your natural lashes, then apply mascara. Let the mascara dry before applying the lashes.

3. To apply the One Two Lash set, simply treat the two ultra-lightweight fiber strips like a sandwich — place the top lash first on your top lashes, then place the bottom lash (marked with a red dot) under your lashes.

4. Let the magnets do the work, and click together into place. BOOM! Easy false lashes in two seconds!

5. Remove them by gently and slowly shifting them apart, without pulling.

Bonus tips: For an easy and quick everyday look, apply one set of the “original” lashes on each eye. To up the drama, apply two sets of the “original” lashes on each eye, laying them out side by side. For the most dramatic impact, go for the “bold” lashes for the most voluminous eyelash look.

The best part is that I have found they don’t damage my natural lashes. It’s an easy way to create a dramatic lash line in just seconds. You can even skip mascara if you want, and forget about messy glue that takes ages to dry. This is saving me time, and also money – I used to spend a fortune in single-lash extensions — lliterally hundreds of dollars a month for several months in a row until I was fed up with the whole two-hours-long application process every 2-3 weeks. Then I tried to save money by doing lash extensions on myself at home, but I always ended up ripping out my eyelashes whenever I removed them. Lately I’ve been trying to grow my lashes with a serum, which is fine, but as a beauty blogger and a YouTuber, I want a more luscious lash look instantly for photos and videos — and the One Two Lash gives me that look.

You can purchase the One Two Lash at onetwocosmetics.com. Comment below if you’ve ever tried these, or if you are curious! I’ll try to answer your questions. Thanks for reading my review!

Opinions are always my own. I was sent these complimentary lash sets for review, but just because they were free doesn’t mean I will lie to you about what I think – y’all know I KEEP IT REAL. 🙂 

 

Vegetables for your hair? Try the new “Broccoli blow out” crème!

 

I have frizzy hair. It shouldn’t be like this – the texture is straight, but it takes #werk to make it look somewhat smooth. That process usually takes a mixture of products, and a blowdrying method that involves a lot of hairbrush twirling around my head.

With this in mind, I felt a little hope when I was sent the Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture’s Brassica Seed & Shea Oils Silkening Blow Out Crème for review. This product was promised to give me a so-called “Broccoli blow out,” leaving me with shiny hair – but I only eat broccoli slathered in butter or cheese, so you can imagine my skepticism. I was reassured that the green vegetable ingredient in the product, better known as brassica seed oil, acts as a natural silicone alternative.

Here is the promise: “Acting as a rapid blowdry booster, this crème will reduce the drying process by prepping and detangling the hair for less breakage and tugging. This ingenious thermal styling aid aligns strands for a smooth, easy brush glide that shortens styling times with amplified shine and humidity resistance. Brassica seed provides this smoothness and luster without weighing hair down or creating product buildup. Shea oil further hydrates and deep conditions, never leaving styles looking or feeling greasy.”

Like a good beauty blogger, I followed the instructions:

  • Section damp hair and apply a dime-size dollop, distributing evenly from roots to ends.
  • Apply as needed for longer hair.
  • Blow dry with a flat brush section by section for straight finish.

I did use a bit more than the recommended dime-size amount, simply because my hair is indeed long. The first thing I noticed was that the product was surprisingly lightweight, almost runny – I was expecting a thick, gloppy cream. The good news is that once I started blowdrying my hair, the consistency of the product allowed it to spread evenly over my hair, instead of chunking up on my scalp like some thicker products do. But most importantly, I was quick to discover that it does deliver on a promise – it definitely sped up my drying time! SCORE!!

I am obsessed with short blowout times. Because my hair is so thin and I use a high-powered blowdryer, I can go from wet to finish in 6-8 minutes. Well, with this particular crème, I was able to shave off a couple of minutes from my blowout – so I was able to finish in 4-5 minutes. That’s a hefty percentage off my personal best time!

The end result of my hair was not perfectly smooth. That would take going to a salon and having a professional spend more than 5 minutes working on my strands, or at least a quick pass with a straightening iron to achieve a glass-like shine. However, given how flyaway my hair typically is, it was significantly better than my average – so I am pleased.

Another benefit is that this is one of those “one and done” products that I really enjoy. My favorite beauty multi-taskers are perfect for those quick routines I always seem to need while I get ready for work. For these reasons, this “Broccoli blow out” crème has now been added to my “must have” beauty list!

The Best Towels for your Bathroom

The home my husband Nathan and I live in is our first-ever purchased house. We did some moving around from Louisiana to Florida for our careers, before we settled down to become homeowners. Now, we live in West Palm Beach, Florida — where the warm weather lasts all year (to my snow-bound friends, #sorrynotsorry, I work in tourism so I love to promote this area, haha!).

You’ve probably realized that I tend to spend on makeup and beauty-related products, but maybe you don’t know that I skimp on home items, like décor and furniture. In the past, when friends and family have come to visit, I’ve been a little embarrassed that our towels were so shabby. The towels were hand-me-downs for the most part, so they were frayed, bleached and worn out so much, they just looked plain ol’ ratchet.

For this reason, I was excited when MicroCotton offered to send me some towels for review. Out of all the home items I felt that I needed, towels were honestly at the top of my list! I am not kidding you when I say that I told Nathan at the beginning of this year, “We need to invest in better towels, ours are ridiculous!”

So it was with much enthusiasm that I opened the box, to see what kind I received.

I ended up getting this kind: Hotel Collection Premier Bath Towel Collection

“Rendered in soft, super-absorbent Annur cotton finished with a clean woven pattern at the hem, the Premier bath towel collection from Hotel Collection provides the ultimate in luxury bathroom appointments. The Hotel Collection Premier Bath Towel Collection is available exclusively at Macy’s retailers and http://www.Macys.com.”

The towels retail for $16 to $67 per towel, depending on the sizes. I received the full range, and I am beyond thrilled! They feel SO LUXURIOUS, just like you are using a hotel towel – the products really do live up to the name. The biggest thing I noticed about these towels is that they are SUPER SOFT. It was surprising, I guess because I was so accustomed to rough-feeling towels that kind of pulled against my skin, if that makes sense.

Nathan said he felt that they could be more absorbent, but I haven’t had an issue with absorbency. They’ve worked just fine, in my opinion, for drying myself off — especially for when I wrap my long hair in a towel turban after I shower.
The best thing about these towels to me, though, is the size – especially for the largest towel. I’ve never had one this large, and it swathes your entire body in super-softness when you step out of the shower. Definitely indulgent, and you feel like you’re at a spa!

Mogwai shows how big the largest towel really is

For my review, I can honestly say these are by far the best towels I’ve ever had. I give the Hotel Collection Premier Bath Towels my two thumbs up!

5 things you will love about Maxus Nails! Review and giveaway

Have you heard of Maxus Nails? It’s a nail care brand that’s beloved by celebrities for the nail strengthening, long-lasting power of its products. The company sent me products to review for myself, and also to give away to you — so I am excited to share the love! Click here to watch my giveaway video to see how to enter — the total value is more than $100!

Here are the three things I believe you will love about Maxus Nails products:

  1. The length of time that the polish stays on your nails without chipping. I am really hard on my nails, because I am a pianist, plus I wash my hands frequently throughout the day. Typical polishes really frustrate me, because I put in all the effort to give myself a nice home manicure — and then within 2-3 days, my nails look all chipped and raggedy. These polishes definitely give me extended wear time, so my mani looks fab longer! If you pick just one polish to get, make the TOP COAT the one — other beauty YouTubers have raved about it, for good reason. I feel like this is the magic product that doubles the length of your manicure — and it dries quickly! That is so important to me. It has ceramic powder and nylon, which helps form that hard layer to protect your nails.
  2. The color selections of the Empowered collection. Very CHIC! I especially love the nude color, called Adored. That’s my jam, y’all — it’s the perfect mix of classic and modern for your hands. I tend to favor the bright red color, Inspired, on my toes.
  3. The products are “5 Free formulation” –  they do not contain formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, toluene, dbp (dibutyl phthlate), or camphor.
  4. The final manicure looks like you had a gel manicure. I love the way my nails look when I finish the process — I do either the Strengthener as a base, or the actual Base Coat as a base coat. Then I do one or two coats of a color, finished off with a top coat. It looks so professional — but I did it on my own at home!
  5. I saved the best for last — they IMPROVE THE CONDITION OF YOUR NAILS. That’s right, these polishes all are meant to strengthen your nails! I have definitely seen an improvement — I wish I had taken a before photo of my nails, because they were constantly peeling. I figured I was doomed to peeling nails for the rest of my life, but I can testify that using these polishes over a few months has stopped the peeling completely. The Empowered Collection polishes tout themselves as a “strengthening color hybrid.”

So there you have it! If you’re looking to improve your nails and look polished and pretty along the way, Maxus Nails can be the choice for you.

Maxus Nails Empowered Collection

 

Disclaimer: although these products were sent to me for review, the company did not compensate me in any way for sharing my opinion. They didn’t even ask me to blog about it — I just wanted to share how much I have appreciated my nails improving with you readers! XO ~Angela

Free holiday activity: Hoffman’s Chocolates Winter Wonderland

Do you love holiday light displays? Do you love chocolate? Do you love free things to do? Then Hoffman’s Chocolates Winter Wonderland in Greenacres, Florida in The Palm Beaches is the perfect spot for you. It’s open nightly from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. now through December 30, 2016. It’s a child-friendly activity, because I saw several families and strollers.

My husband and I went through the light display first, and enjoyed the dazzling show of more than 75,000 LED lights. You can also cast your vote in a wreath competition which benefits a local charity – the wreath with the most votes wins $1,000 for a non-profit. We voted for the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society, since I used to work there and I 💗 it.

After the light display, we went inside the chocolate factory. So many delicious-looking chocolate indulgences! You could do all of your holiday shopping there, since everyone enjoys chocolate. It’s like a no-brainer, right?!

Hoffman’s Chocolates Winter Wonderland

I voted for the Palm Beach Zoo’s wreath

Nathan and me pretending we’re royal

A chocolate football!

Comment below with what looks like the most fun to you! 🙂

7 Holiday Gift Ideas for Beauty Lovers

Confession: when I’m shopping for beauty gifts for Christmas, I’ve been known to pick up a little something (or two or three) for myself. It’s hard to resist the holiday glitz and glam of festive packaging! To help you in your quest for the perfect present for your loved ones, I’ve narrowed down my top beauty gift suggestions – so spoil them with a gift you know they’ll enjoy.

Affordable Stocking Stuffers

Moroccanoil® Treatment Ornament and Flutterby Mascara Shields

Moroccanoil® Treatment Ornament and Flutterby Mascara Shields

The limited-edition Moroccanoil® Treatment Ornament is a beauty bauble that will add a sparkle to your tree and shine to your hair. You can even hang the little box on your Christmas tree, since it actually is an ornament! The special 25 ml bottle of treatment nourishes and conditions hair for silky, smooth tresses for just $15.

Does mascara get all over your eyelids after you curl your lashes? Use Flutterby Mascara Shields between your lids and lashes to prevent smudging. I even use mine to apply a cut-crease eyeshadow. At only $14.99, this gift is practical, and it won’t break the bank.

Love your Lips

Kissy Missy Lip Set and Tiny Temptations

Kissy Missy Lip Set and Tiny Temptations

Looking to pucker up this holiday season? Two value-priced gift sets, both packaged in attractive metal tins, will see you through any mistletoe-induced challenges. Benefit Cosmetics’ Kissy Missy Lip Set includes the new they’re real double the lip products, plus the company’s famous tints. All of them promise you a fuller-looking pout and lip color that will last eight hours, and the entire set is $26.

Clinique’s Tiny Temptations is a pretty pink smorgasbord of super-nourishing minis of the popular Chubby Stick for lips. The $49.50 set features 20 shades, and the lip balms are beautifully sheer.

Treat Yo’ Self

Since this is the time of year to splurge on luxury items, you won’t feel any guilt over the price tags. Normally I’m an advocate for affordable beauty… but these products are so high quality, I just had to share them as gift ideas.

For runway-worthy hair, just look at the Victoria Secret models who showed off their tresses in the recent Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show – their hair was styled with The Beachwaver Co. Limited Edition BEACHWAVER Pro 1.25, which is a limited edition that is adorned with Swarovski crystals.

BEACHWAVER Pro 1.25 with Swavorski Crystals (limited edition)

BEACHWAVER Pro 1.25 with Swavorski Crystals (limited edition)

I love shiny things! This professional curling iron does the work for you, with a heat range of 290° – 490°, a lighter 5.5” ceramic barrel length, 1.25 barrel width, arrow button for rotation control, 8 foot swivel cord, ergonomic handle, beveled no-kink clamp, fast/slow speed switch and a home button.

If you ask me what is my top makeup tip, I would tell you without hesitation that you need to invest in good quality makeup brushes. Sure, I’ve been known to do videos on affordable makeup brushes, but if I had to pick, I would tell you not to go cheap. Artis is a company that’s been called the “Rolls Royce of makeup brushes,” and after trying their products, I’m inclined to agree.

artis-gold-palm-wide

Gold Palm brush

The revolutionary CosmeFibers were engineered to glide over your skin, and they blend like a dream. Try the limited edition $75 Gold Palm brush, which is a powerful multi-tasker that fits perfectly in the palm of your hand (and it looks holiday-worthy, too).

For the ultimate indulgence, ask for the Digit Collection 10 Set brushes, which are ergonomically shaped like fingers so you can be your own makeup artist when you’re applying cosmetics on yourself. Brilliant! This ultra-luxury set will run Santa $375 – just make sure you’re on the NICE list!

10 Digit Collection brush set

10 Digit Collection brush set

artis-digit-open-top

10 Digit Collection brush set

What’s on your beauty wish list this year? Comment below with what you’re hoping to get—or what you plan to purchase for your loved ones.

XO ~Angela~

Think you’re too busy for beauty? Think again!

Now that school is back in session, you may think they’re too busy to do a full face of makeup. It’s one thing to get your kids ready by the time the school day starts at 8 a.m., but what about yourself?

With a smart beauty routine, you can look like you spent an hour on your appearance—after less than ten minutes. The trick is to use products that cut down on the time it takes you to get ready.

These products help you look polished in a flash

The right products help you look polished in a flash

 

For your face, you can create a full face makeup look in just a few minutes. Check out my YouTube video that shows how I do a four-minute makeup routine.

If you have six minutes, you can use even more products, like how I showed NBC 6 In The Mix’s Roxanne Vargas.

fullsizerender-1 fullsizerender-2

Photo by @mediamavenandmore

Photos by @mediamavenandmore

For hair, try using a humidity-defying styling spritzer that helps lock in your style, like White Sands’ Liquid Texture Firm Hold. This product is all you need, because it helps your style last longer. It creates shine, and also gives you hold like a hairspray.

Stash a cordless hair tool in your car, like CHI’s Escape 1″ Professional Cordless Styling Iron, for quick touch-ups. I keep mine in my glovebox in its heat-protective casing. It’s the most convenient way to straighten and curl your hair, with professional-looking results.

Prime with an oil-control product with SPF, like the Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Mineral Primer, which features SPF 15. A primer will help your makeup last, and protect your skin from sun damage. Follow the primer with the Hourglass Cosmetics Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick for quick coverage that’s both a foundation and concealer in one.

Eyes are important to define, and it’s simple to make them look flawless in a flash. Be sure to fill in your eyebrows, since they frame your face. I recommend Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Brow Pencil, which lives up to its name and is waterproof for up to twelve hours.

A shadow stick is the easiest way to apply eyeshadow. The new Mally Beauty Evercolor Shadow Stick Extra is a primer and shadow all in one, and is smudge-proof, transfer-proof and crease-proof. Apply the shadow stick to your lids, then gently blend with your clean fingertips. When in a rush, use the darker shade on your lower lash line, and smudge it out for a smoky eyeliner effect.

Skip the eyelash curler, and use a curling mascara to save time. The Rimmel 24HR SuperCurler Mascara is buildable, and creates instant curl.

A one-stop-shop for the rest of your face is the NYX Cosmetics Whipped Cheek & Lip Souffle, which can double as both a lipstick and a blush. You can throw this product in your purse for on-the-go touchups on your cheeks and lips throughout the day.

For more beauty tips as well as product reviews, be sure you’re subscribed to my YouTube channel, “Beauty News with Angela Cruz,” at http://www.youtube.com/AngelaCruzTube.

So-called “modesty” at the Miss America 2017 pageant

My focus should have been on the dozens of intelligent, talented women who had the courage to walk across the stage in swimsuits and the spirit to contribute a year of their lives to community service. Instead, I found my attention captured by an oxymoron: a top 15 Miss America contestant proclaimed modesty, while she simultaneously walked across stage in a plunging, not-so-modest evening gown.

Miss South Carolina Rachel Wyatt, moments after she proclaimed modesty is lacking these days

During the evening gown competition, Miss South Carolina Rachel Wyatt’s pre-recorded sound bite said this as she walked across the stage: “Something we’ve lost sight of as a culture is how important it is to be modest, and I think Miss America is a role model for so many young girls, and they need to know that you don’t have to wear revealing clothing or be sexy to be beautiful. You just need to be you.” All this, as she modeled a daring, albeit stunning, evening gown that was recklessly revealing of her *ahem* assets.

I 100% agree with her message, but I couldn’t believe she chose to wear that dress. If she knew she was going to talk about being demure (and I assume she meant modesty in clothing), didn’t she realize it could backfire?

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who noticed this inconsistency, because the Twitterverse had a lot to say about it:

Twitter Miss South Carolina 1  Twitter Miss South Carolina 2  Twitter Miss South Carolina 3

Who am I to judge, you ask? Well, I’m actually a bona fide Miss America preliminary pageant judge. Not only did I compete in a pageant or two (or forty) back in the day — I judged for several years in the Miss America local circuits in Louisiana and Arkansas. I blogged previously about how much I learned from competition, and why I think it’s valuable to compete. I was the first Asian-American to compete in Miss Louisiana, and I was proud to see this year’s Miss Louisiana Justine Ker make the top 15 in the Miss America 2017 pageant. I can claim a teeny, tiny bit of credit in her success — I coached her in interview once! But just once. 😉

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I competed in Miss Louisiana with a couple of different titles. I was also my high school’s beauty queen! #pageantdays

Even though I never took home the Miss Louisiana crown, I’m still to this day grateful for the life skills I gained from competition — and how two full years of undergrad and one year of grad school college tuition were completely funded because of beauty pageants.

I also use my title of “former beauty queen” to gain extra credibility on my “Beauty News with Angela Cruz” YouTube channel, in which I focus upon the beauty industry. I truly believe the public speaking skills I gained through pageant competition gave me a boost to eventually become a news anchor, and then ultimately to launch this channel. Inadvertently, the channel helped me achieve a dream-come-true, when I won the Today Show’s Social Star contest for YouTube! Just think — none of that would have happened if I didn’t have the confidence that came from competing in beauty pageants.

Speaking of public speaking, South Carolina as a pageant state had already risen to national attention when Miss Teen USA South Carolina fumbled her on-stage question, bless her heart. Thankfully, there was nothing like that in this year’s Miss America 2017 pageant — and there were moments in the competition when I was very impressed with what I saw (Miss Mississippi Laura Lee Lewis can SING, y’all!). If you’re a former Miss America local competitor like I am, the Miss America pageant is your Super Bowl. Each year, I watch it with great interest. But I was shocked, and more than a little distracted, by the walking contradiction that was Rachel Wyatt’s evening gown choice. I was reminded that it’s not what you SAY– it’s what you DO that counts.

However, Wyatt’s gamble paid off. She can laugh all the way to the bank, since she won first runner-up. All I can say to that is: you go, girl!

Wyatt after she is named first runner-up to Miss America 2017 -- cleavage is still there, but maybe the flowers will help to conceal any potential wardrobe malfunctions

Wyatt after she is named first runner-up to Miss America 2017 — cleavage is still there, but maybe the flowers will help to conceal any potential wardrobe malfunctions

I have to wrap this up with a congratulations to the newly-crowned Miss America 2017, Savvy Shields, who represented the state of Arkansas.

miss-america-2017

“There she is… Miss Americaaaaaa!”

What are your thoughts? Comment below on whether or not you agree with the judges’ decision to reward Rachel’s risky reveal by voting her first runner-up!

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