A Sneak Peek Inside the Life on the Tournament of Roses Royal Court Ahead of Tonight’s Coronation

Published : Wednesday, October 18, 2017 | 5:46 AM

It’s that time of year again when seven hopeful young women from the Pasadena area embark on a glamorous journey as part of the Tournament of Roses Royal Court with one crowned Queen at tonight’s 100th Rose Queen coronation ceremony, to be held at the venerable Pasadena Playhouse.

The annual event gives the public the chance to meet the Royal Court up close and personal leading up to the famed Rose Parade on New Year’s Day, where the young women will find themselves immersed in over two months of civic engagement, volunteering, and public appearances fit for royalty — all while juggling high school life.

“The 2018 Royal Court consists of seven extraordinary young women who are now ambassadors for the Tournament of Roses,” said Dave Link, chair of the Tournament of Roses Queen and Court Committee. “The ceremony is an annual event in which the tournament of roses introduces the public to the royal court and identifies which of the royal court members will be designated as the queen,” added Link.

Nearly 1000 people applied to participate in the interview process. The Tournament of Roses Queen and Court Committee made its selections based on a number of criteria including poise, speaking ability, academic achievement, youth leadership, and community and school involvement.

The seven members of the 2018 Royal Court are (in alphabetical order): Alexandra Marie Artura, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy; Savannah Rose Bradley, Pasadena High School; Lauren Elizabeth Buehner, Arcadia High School; Georgia Jane Cervenka, La Cañada High School; Julianne Elise Lauenstein, La Cañada High School; Isabella Marie Marez, La Salle High School; and Sydney Grace Pickering, Arcadia High School.

The court has a demanding schedule that is designed to transform their lives from young women to young adults.

“The overwhelming connector and common denominator with these young ladies that will separate them from others are their commitment to community and making a difference. They are all activists in their own way. They’ve bonded together and now they’re going to move forward and try to make a difference together,” said Link.

Throughout next couple of months leading up to the famed Rose Parade, the court members will attend a variety of classes and make over 100 public appearances.

Some of the classes include four sessions with a speech coach, three etiquette classes, and media training courtesy of the broadcast professionals at KTLA.

The young women are also styled by the hairdressers at the Spa Sante and Salon, wardrobe fittings are provided by Macy’s, formal gowns are provided by Tadashi, and the queen’s crown and princess’ tiaras are provided by Mikimoto.

“The thing that we noticed immediately about this court is that they immediately bonded as a team. It’s an incredibly close group of young ladies,” said Link.

Several of the royal court members have a history with one another through sports, civic clubs, and other extracurricular activities, according to Link.

“Those common experiences increase their sense of togetherness because they have traveled through an experience together,”

“Right from the beginning of the process, each one of these girls are out in the community volunteering. They’re out in our community already making a difference,” said Link.

For 2017 Royal Court Princess Maya Kawaguchi Khan, her experience allowed her to gain six lifelong friends.

“It was a really great experience in the beginning just meeting the rest of the girls. It was like our own little sorority,” explained Khan. “The whole tournament is like a whole other family. Everyone treats everyone like sisters–like an extended family,” Khan added.

According to Khan, this isn’t always the case.

“I’ve heard of courts that were competitive towards eachother. Girls are typically hard to get along with, but we actually all got along so well. My queen and I are best friends now,” said Khan.

Khan admitted that the pressures of balancing a personal life with school and was her biggest challenge while on the court.

“It definitely made me learn how to manage time better than I used to,” said Khan.

“High school is stressful enough as it is and it was ten times harder to apply to colleges and those sorts of things because we were so busy,” added Khan.

Khan’s royal commitments also tested her personal relationships.

“I barely even saw my family and my friends were off my list of priorities entirely,” said Khan.

“Almost all of my friends didn’t understand the time commitment that was required of me,” Khan added.

According to Khan, most people outside of the organization do not have an accurate idea of what the Royal Court does on a daily basis.

“Not a lot of people actually know what the royal court does so going back to school after it was over and trying to reconnect with people was the most challenging,” Khan said.

Khan’s personal experience as a princess made her feel equal to the queen.

“It’s not like the queen really does anything that’s too different. She’s really like the mom of the group. She would make sure we had our food before she ate. She would make sure we had our needs taken care of,” explained Khan.

“The titles of princess and queen really throw off some people. But all in all it’s an ambassadorship. You’re really making an impact in the community with all of the volunteer work.

The 2018 Royal Court has selected Pasadena’s Elizabeth House as the charity they want to focus on as a group together this year.

“We all just wanted a platform to talk about what was important to us and this was an opportunity to do that,” Khan said. “I would of course do it all over again.”

The grand finale for the 2018 Royal Court will be riding on a float in the 129th Rose Parade presented by Honda and attending the College Football Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual, both on Monday, January 1, 2018.

“The 2018 Royal Court consists of seven extraordinary young women who are now ambassadors for the Tournament of Roses,” said Link. “By attending events throughout southern California, the members of the Royal Court will Make A Difference through contributing acts of kindness by helping others.”

The 100th Rose Queen Coronation Presentation of the 2017 Royal Court Presented by Citizens Business Bank kicks off tonight at the Pasadena Playhouse located at 39 South El Molino Ave.

Tickets are range between $15.00 and $30.00 and can be purchased online at https://www.tournamentofroses.com/events/coronation.

Visit www.tournamentofroses.com for complete biographies of the 2018 Royal Court.

The grand finale for the 2018 Royal Court will be riding on a float in the 129th Rose Parade presented by Honda and attending the College Football Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual, both on Monday, January 1, 2018.