Growing up in Connecticut, where she was born, Heather Marie Pol was never interested in being part of a beauty pageant. After graduating from high school, she cultivated an interest in the outdoors and attended the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in Boston. Now an Alameda resident and licensed pharmacist, Pol will compete in a nationwide pageant for the first time at the age of 24.
“Why not?” she asks. “I’m going to go for it."
After submitting photos, doing multiple phone interviews and showing up for an in-person interview, Pol won the title of Miss Alameda in late June. She will compete for the title of Miss California USA 2013.
"I believe that pageants try to select young women who are very well-rounded and can make a contribution to society," she says. "I think the whole point of a pageant is to prove that beautiful women are not just empty shells and are successful and motivated members of society.”
As Miss Alameda, Pol’s personal goals include advancing her career as a pharmacist, campaigning against animal cruelty and being a role model for young women.
“Within the next five years I plan on being the pharmacy manager at my pharmacy,” she says. “Doing this will enable me to set up local flu shot clinics to help patients have accessibility to vaccinations.”
Pol also hopes to teach budding technicians at pharmacy tech schools and to volunteer at local animal shelters, holding a community fundraiser in support of the Alameda Animal Shelter.
Keylee Sanders of K2 Productions, which organizes the Miss California and Miss California Teen USA pageants, says thousands of women from across the state are interested in competing.
“We have an application process and a team of recruiters that work with each girl,” Sanders says. “In order to win Miss California USA, a woman must be her best self. Poised, confident, in good physical condition, able to think on her feet, and willing to work very hard during her reign! She will need to shop for her wardrobe and prepare herself mentally and physically for competition.”
The pageant, which is set to take place in January of 2013, will consist of Swimsuit, Interview, and Evening Gown competitions. Even with a mindset to have fun and appreciate the opportunity, Pol can’t help but worry about the swimsuit portion of the event.
“I think I’ve only worn a bathing suit in front of three people at a time,” she says. “I will have to wear one on stage in front of thousands.”
No stranger to physical fitness, Pol has a passion for shooting, snowboarding and running marathons year-round. (She trains for her marathons by running the path along Crown Beach.) In addition to sponsoring Pol, personal trainer Ron Callo of has tailored Heather’s workout in preparation for the Miss California pageant.
Also sponsoring heather is Kay’s Bridal in Castro Valley, which is providing her evening gown. “The gown itself will be top secret until the pageant,” Pol says.
Miss California contestants have the option of arranging their own photo shoots, which Pol is all over, mostly to gain experience being professionally photographed. She is making appearances throughout town, the most recent having been at the Fourth of July parade. Various future appearances are scheduled, including Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter events and her first fundraiser at the on Aug. 8.
“I will continue to campaign to prevent animal cruelty and promote the adoption of shelter animals,” Pol says. “I will raise awareness for our shelter and hold fundraisers to help the Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter. I will also continue my work as a pharmacist and try to set up flu shot clinics in Alameda. This way I can ensure that more residents have accessibility to vaccinations.”
No matter where the pageant takes her, Pol plans to continue being a pharmacist. “I love my job and want to always be a pharmacist. I love helping people and talking to them,” she says.
Should she be named Miss California, Pol will win a $35,000 crown provided by INTA Gems, her competition wardrobe and the opportunity to compete at the Miss USA pageant.
“Our panel of judges, which consist of entertainment industry professionals, casting directors, celebrities, and beauty experts, are told to look for women who will represent the title, the state and the brand in the best way possible,” K2 Productions’ Keylee Sanders says.
Those interested in sponsoring Miss Alameda may visit her campaign Facebook page at www.facebook.com/heathermariepol2013