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Heather Marie Pol Representing Alameda for Miss California USA 2013

The word “serendipity” comes to mind when speaking with 25 year-old Heather Marie Pol, who is representing Alameda for Miss California USA 2013. On a whim, she applied to represent Alameda in the Miss California USA 2013 pageant, and was accepted. This, after arriving in Alameda about a year ago, almost by accident.

Born and raised in Connecticut, Ms. Pol graduated last year with a Doctorate of Pharmacy from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in Boston. She had been an intern with CVS pharmacy for five years and on graduation CVS offered her a full-time position in Alameda. So, she and her boyfriend packed up and started driving west.

“About a year before I graduated, I had to give CVS some indication of where I’d like to be placed. On a whim, I wrote down ‘California.’ I asked them to get me as close to San Francisco as possible,” she told Action Alameda News.

Heather Marie Pol Representing Alameda for Miss California USA 2013 (Courtesy Photo)

She had never been to Alameda before and had only seen pictures of the city online before making the move.

“I was looking for a change of scenery. It looked like a cute town.”

After she arrived, she was browsing the internet for a job for her boyfriend, and an ad for the Miss California USA 2013 pageant popped up.

“So I applied, not expecting to be selected at all. It was all completely random.”

She has never competed in a pageant before and has never modeled before, although, in April, in ninety-degree heat, she ran her third Boston marathon.

“Basically, they’re going to have to hold my hand through this whole process. I’m being introduced to a world I’ve never been in before and it’s strange – for the past six years I’ve been at pharmacy school. I always like trying new things and I’m willing to try something different. The pageant kind of fell into my lap, and I like taking advantage of any opportunity I have.”

On her Facebook page, she explains that she loves animals, and her pageant campaign is all about preventing animal cruelty and adopting shelter animals. She has two adopted rescue hounds herself from the Homeward Bound Golden Retriever rescue sanctuary. She’s meeting this week with Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter to see how she might be able to work with the group.

Heather Marie Pol’s Rescued Golden Retrievers (Courtesy Photo)

Local Sponsors

Like those who have gone before her, she is also reaching out to local businesses for sponsorship; an Alameda bridal shop is working on her gown for the pageant. She anticipates that her alma mater might put up some money too to offset expenses.

“I’m not comfortable asking for hard cash,” she said. “I’m offering to promote their business if they are willing to help with the pageant. It’s going pretty awesome. A lot of the face-to-face connections I’ve been making are easier than just shooting out e-mails. Even people who can’t support me are positive and wishing me luck.”

The bathing suit competition, however, has posed a couple of challenges. First, she wasn’t able to identify a local Alameda sponsor for her suit. And second, it raises the inevitable question: don’t these pageants objectify women?

“I believe that pageants try to select young contestants that are very well rounded and can make a contribution to society. I think the whole point of a pageant is to prove that beautiful women are not just empty shells, but rather are successful and motivated members of society.”

She has settled comfortably into Alameda life, joining the wine club at Rosenblum Cellars and training for marathons along the beach front trail; she snowboards and makes regular visits to the shooting range for target practice. She’s also targeting a pharmacy manager position within the next five years, so she can set up local flue shot clinics to ensure everyone has access to vaccinations.

“I do really love being a pharmacist, and regardless of where all this takes me, I still want to be a pharmacist. If for some crazy reason, I win the pageant, I want to work out something where I can keep working as a pharmacist. I love working with people, and I love my job.”

Jessica Jane Robinson, an Alameda actress and environmentalist who represented Alameda in the 2010 and 2011 Miss California USA pageants, and in the Ms. and Mrs. Orange County Regional Pageant last year, had this advice for Ms. Pol, “Representing the beautiful town of Alameda is truly an honor, so savor every day of it. It’s truly about the journey and not so much the destinaton, before you know it the day of the pageant will come and it will be over in a blink of an eye. Be in the moment, get plenty of sleep, shine like a star and good luck!”

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