By MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS
Rafu Staff Writer
(Published Oct. 22, 2016)
PASADENA — Maya Kawaguchi Khan had a great many things on her plate Thursday – breakfast, however, wasn’t necessarily one of them.
“I think she ate two bites of a waffle and ran out the door in her pajamas,” reported her mother, Yoko.
Khan’s day began filled with the anticipation of that evening, when she and six other young ladies would take the stage at the Pasadena Playhouse for the announcement of the 99th Rose Queen.
The event, emceed by KNBC News anchor Chuck Henry and 1988 Rose Queen Julie Myers King, culminated with the announcement of Victoria Castellanos as the Rose Queen for 2017. The Temple City High School senior appeared stunned at her selection and well after the crown had been gently placed atop her head.
Princess Lauren Emiko Powers said the entire experience has unfolded so quickly that it hardly seems like reality.
“Honestly, it’s been unbelievable,” said Powers, who is a senior at Arcadia High and has been studying drumming with TaikoProject since she was in fourth grade.
“I think when they put the tiara on my head, my heart skipped a beat,” she explained.
Nearly 1,000 young women from the greater Pasadena area participated in the month-long selection process, with seven chosen to represent the Tournament of Roses in the Rose Parade and at the Rose Bowl game on Jan. 2.
The other royal court members are Audrey Cameron, Shannon Larsuel, Autumn Lundy and Natalie Petrosian.
Powers’ mother, Candice Doi, beamed that the entire experience has brought out the best in her daughter.
“She’s really blossomed in the last 14 days,” Doi said. “She’s always been a good person, but now, everything about her is refined and polished. I didn’t know she had it in her.”
Khan said she was looking forward to relaxing for a couple of weeks, after the flurry of activity that had led to Thursday’s announcement.
“It’s been such an emotional experience, but putting on this tiara has truly made it real,” she said.
Photos by MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo