Crystal Lee of San Francisco was crowned Miss California last year. The 22-year-old grew up in the city and then got her undergrad and graduate degree in communications from Stanford.
On Sunday her friends and former competitors for Miss Silicon Valley were cheering her on. They sold strawberry shortcake at the Santa Clara Art and Wine Festival as part of a fundraiser.
They say Crystal has a shot to win because she's not just a pretty face.
"She's so positive," said Molly Crawford, Miss Santa Clara. "I've never met anybody more positive or happy than Crystal Lee. I've never seen her upset, never, and I've known her for, like, four years now. I've never seen her sad or anything."
The pageant has returned to the boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J. - the place where it all began in 1921.
The winner will succeed the current title-holder Mallory Hagan. Her reign is being cut short because the pageant left Las Vegas, where it had been held the past six years and where a winner was selected each January.
The pageant pits 53 contestants - one from each state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands - in swimsuit, evening gown, talent and interview competitions.
You can catch the Miss America pageant on ABC7 at 9 p.m.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)