What a long, long way from Religious Right Miss California runner-up Carrie Prejean! This year, the Miss California USA pageant featured TWO openly gay contestants seeking that coveted crown – West Hollywood’s Mollie Thomas and Long Beach hairstylist Jenelle Hutcherson.
“My first big coming out on stage was in my swimsuit,” Thomas told KNBC TV. “I did a lot of prep for that, a lot of working out.”
Neither contestant winded up winning the pageant. That honor went to Natalie Pack, 22, a University of California Irvine junior who has already made her mark as a model.
But in truth, Thomas and Hutcherson had different goals.
This was, after all, the same competition where Carrie Prejean made headlines two years ago by speaking out against same-sex marriage. Thomas and Hutcherson wanted to send the opposite message.
“I got up there to make me happy,” says Hutcherson. “I got up there to influence these kids that I work with as a mentor, to be themselves, to be who they are and see how the world reacts.”
“Being who you are and being true to yourself and being a strong woman rather than being your stereotypical beauty pageant girl,” is how Thomas saw her role.
Thomas says she had such a good time, she’s planning to compete again next year. And in true Hollywood fashion, she already has an entourage. They call themselves, “Team Mollie.”
Video after the break.