Teen kept her pageant interests quiet

Friends amazed at Claire Wright’s achievements
By: Shanley Knox Journal Correspondent
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Thirteen-year-old Claire Wright was never the beauty pageant type. “She grew up on a ranch with horses, cows, sheep and dirt,” said Claire’s mom Karen Wright. “She grew up going to mountain bike races in the dirt, camping on a ranch, and then she said, ‘Mom, I want to do this pageant.’ We showed up in our old pick-up truck, and she walked into that place and rocked it!” Currently an eighth-grade student at Forest Lake Christian School, Claire Wright was crowned Jr. Miss California International 2010 on Sept 12. Claire had entered an Auburn pageant in January, where she won Miss Congeniality, along with a scholastic award and Miss Photogenic. But it was in April, at Folsom’s open competition, that Claire was first crowned, thus landing herself a spot in the Miss California International Pageant where she won Jr. Miss California. “I never imagined that as a 13-year-old girl I could be Jr. Miss California International, and that I could be making a difference in so many people’s lives,” Claire said. According to those close to her, Claire’s accomplishments have only made her more passionate about helping others. “When we got back from the state competition I went in to her school and her teachers asked if Claire had been home sick. I said, ‘No, she didn’t tell you where we were?’” Wright said. “They said no, and I found out she hadn’t told anyone about her beauty pageants except for one friend. She told me it’s not about that.” For this big-hearted junior-high student, winning a spot in the California International Pageant was all about Applegate-based renewal center Acres of Hope, where she has volunteered for the past three years. The spiritually-focused center serves homeless women with children by supplying emotional, spiritual and mental healing through providing them with a home and an environment with structured programming. Claire’s time at the center has been spent working with children, donating blankets for needy families and mentoring a 10-year-old resident Executive Director Christine Ourada said Claire has taken under her wing. “(Claire) is very genuine and authentic and down to earth,” said Ourada. “The neat thing about Claire is that it’s not just about bringing blankets. It’s investing in these kids’ lives and being an encouragement and an influence. That’s part of who we are and something I think Claire will help people understand.” Since arriving home from the state competition two weeks ago, Claire has promoted Acres of Hope at a golf tournament at The Ridge golf course in Auburn, and has booked engagements with both the Rotary club in Roseville and a local elementary school. “She’s really quiet. She doesn’t talk about the pageants,” Wright said. “The focus has always been on her brother and I think she thought, ‘It’s my turn,’ and she stepped out of her box. Actually, everyone is sitting around going ‘Where did this come from?’”