Sac State student crowned Miss CA


Image: ‘UNHITCHED’ a bad hook::Courtesy of Fox

Amanda Pollard

Her family and friends would agree that the reigning Miss California, 23-year-old Jackie Geist, is still the same girl she has always been.

Despite working, making appearances every weekend, attending college, and preparing for the biggest moment of her life, the future Miss America pageant contestant remains the small town girl everyone knows and loves.

This past June, Geist competed for the second time in the Miss California pageant. The only difference this time was instead of failing to place in any category, Geist won each of her preliminary rounds and walked away with the title of Miss California.

Geist is a junior at Sacramento State majoring in business finance. She is originally from Vacaville and attended Solano Community College before attending Sac State.

Upon receiving her title, Geist was required to participate in the TLC television reality show that follows all Miss America contestants around for the three weeks before the Miss America pageant.

“I was skeptical at first,” said Geist. “They had a meeting for the contestants though and assured us this won’t be a typical reality show. They won’t be trying to start fights and cause drama – they want to portray us in the light of who we are?the point of the show is to relate Miss America to people our age.”

The upcoming reality show is not the only thing on Geist’s plate right now. This summer she is attending Sac State for summer school, working at Washington Mutual, and traveled across the country promoting her title of Miss California.

Geist replied with a laugh when she is asked how her life has changed since being crowned Miss California.

“I don’t sleep! I basically live out of a suitcase, or actually a couple.”

In addition to her traveling, Geist receives opportunities unique to that of a pageant queen. Recently she was flown to Arkansas for a photo shoot with an evening gown designer.

“He only picked three of the contestants to do it; it was a huge honor. This is still something I get excited about on a daily basis,” said Geist.

Throughout the conversation it was impossible to find a negative tone in her voice. Those closest to her know that this is something she has exuded since she was a child.

Heidi LuMaye, Geist’s dance instructor, said she is captivating and unique, but still relatable to many people.

“People idolize her goals and skill level and ways of balancing life, but she can still sit down and talk to a 5-year-old,” LuMaye said. “She doesn’t have to work at being that person, that’s just who Jackie is.”

Who she is is precisely what Geist is trying to show the world. Her mother, Suzanne Geist, said from a very young age Geist was passionate about all the same things she is now.

“Jackie used to get excited when the mailman came with her bank statement. She wanted to see her interest. She caught on early that the bank was paying her to put more money in. She would collect cans and other things, anything to put money in the bank,” Suzanne said.

Geist’s childhood passion for saving has carried over into her current pageant platform, “Saving for the Future.”

“I work at Washington Mutual and the program in conjunction with WAMU money lessons. Depending on their age level we teach them what money is, why it’s important to save and about credit and investments,” Geist said.

Geist believes her title allows her message to reach a greater number of people, and regardless of the outcome of the Miss America pageant she said she plans on partnering with a nationwide organization in order to reach more young people with this message.

Her mother believes regardless of her title, Geist would still be continuing on the path she is currently traveling.

“She knows where she is going with her education and career, she is majoring in finance and I think regardless of her title she would carry this message,” said her mother.

Other than her title, and the amount of time she spends at home, those closest to her don’t believe she has changed very much at all.

Childhood friend Cassandra Eifert, who has danced with Geist from a very young age, said she has always been “a very mature and sweet girl.”

“Everyone has a stereotype of the pageant girl – Jackie completely breaks that. You watch shows and think ‘God these people must be missing a screw,’ but Jackie has been doing pageants a long time and it has never changed her,” Eifert said.

Eifert has been dancing with Geist at the Vacaville Ballet Academy since 1995 and knows better than anyone about her talent.

From a very young age Geist recognized her passion for ballet.

“I remember going to pick up my sister from dance class,” Geist said. “I saw a girl on Pointe and I said ‘Mom I want those!’ she told me I couldn’t just have them, I had to earn them.”

And earn them she did.

This past March Geist broke her foot, only three months before she was set to compete in the Miss California pageant, with her talent being ballet dancing on Pointe. After being off her broken foot for weeks Geist was allowed to begin walking on the treadmill in late May. She was able to begin dancing again on June first, which left her only 19 days until she would perform in the Miss California pageant.

“After I broke my foot my dad brought over a huge mirror and hung it on my wall so even though I couldn’t dance I could work on all my upper body movement. My piece is a lot of upper body movements, which I wouldn’t have focused so much on otherwise, so it was a blessing in disguise,” she said.

Geist is still unsure of her chances in the Miss America pageant, but feels that all she can do is prepare and do the best she can.

Geist is eager to show the world how relatable the contestants in the Miss America pageant are.

“The huge goal right now is becoming more relatable to our generation. I would love so much for everyone to tune in and see what this is about. We are down to earth, everyday girls just trying to do something positive with our lives.”

Amanda Pollard can be reached at [email protected]