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BETWEEN THE LINES | HIGH SCHOOLS

Prendiz Enjoys the Pageantry

April 30, 1998|LAUREN PETERSON

The way Sylmar High's Melody Prendiz sees it, the best thing about the Miss San Fernando Pageant is that looks are, indeed, deceiving.

"I thought it was just a regular beauty pageant at first," she said. "But it's not like a lot of other beauty pageants. Nobody's judging you on how many curves you've got. It's really based mostly on your community activities, your personality and your poise."

A two-time participant in the pageant, Prendiz, a senior first baseman and captain on the Spartans' softball team, felt poised to win the 1998 contest as she headed into the final night of judging April 17.

Prendiz, 18, completed the community-activity requirement of the contest by spending two weekends working in the snack shack of the Sylmar Independent Baseball League complex and helping coach a youth softball team.

Those tasks completed, Prendiz, a math-sciences magnet student at Sylmar, also thought she had done well during the first of two days of judging, which included a series of three-minute interviews with each judge on a six-person panel of community officials.

"They basically want to get to know you, and I had someone come up afterward, and say I'd presented myself really well, and that they really enjoyed talking to me," she said. "So I felt good about how I did."

During the second night of judging, however, Prendiz had to create and perform a commercial about her sponsor. To her horror, she blanked out soon after stepping onto the runway to perform.

"I got up there, and I introduced myself and my sponsor, and then I forgot everything I was going to say," she said. "It was horrible. If that hadn't happened, I really think I might have won it."

Despite the episode of stage fright and lack of a victory either this year or in the 1997 event, the experience proved worthwhile and enjoyable to Prendiz, who has modeling and theater aspirations.

"I was disappointed not to win, of course," she said. "But it really helps you a lot because you get so much more confidence in yourself. And it was fun, too. I mean, I made friends out of it. You always get something out of it."

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