Marissa Modestowicz was crowned queen of this year’s Daffodil Festival on Friday night and immediately was launched into a yearlong schedule of parades, events and appearances.
Modestowicz is a senior at Puyallup’s Emerald Ridge High School, where she has a 3.5 grade-point average.
She’s already been accepted at three colleges – Whitworth University in Spokane, Saint Martin’s University in Lacey and Pacific Lutheran University.
PLU is her current favorite, she said, mostly because it’s closest to her family’s home in South Hill.
She plans to study business administration and hopes eventually to work in management.
Modestowicz made time in her busy schedule Saturday morning for a talk with The News Tribune.
Question: So you’ve been Daffodil Queen now for, what, 13 hours? Did you get any sleep last night?
Answer: Yes, I managed to get a few hours, but I was so excited I couldn’t get to sleep for a while.
Q: Did you celebrate?
A: No. I have a baby brother who was at my Gramma’s house. He’s 11 months old today. We just went and picked him up and just had pizza at home with all of us.
Q: What gave you the idea to enter the Daffodil pageant? Why did you want to do it?
A: I went to the parade in about fifth grade and I saw the princesses and I just thought, “Wow, that would be so awesome to be a princess.” And I got to help out with the selection last year at my school and saw that it was such a great experience to go through, regardless of the outcome. With all the personal growth that the other princess candidates had told me about, I just thought, “Why not go for it?” Whether or not I was selected as a princess, I would still gain a lot of the public speaking skills and interview skills that are needed to be successful in business.
Q: What else appealed to you about it?
A: The service that they all do. And just that it has been around for such a long time, and it’s a well-known organization within the community. And you’re role models for little girls. That’s what really made me want to do it, to serve as a role model.
Q: There are some people who would say that getting dressed up like a princess, with the crown and everything, is actually not that great a role model for little girls.
A: I’ve heard that, but I think the festival really tries hard to stress service over self. We read at the Boys & Girls Clubs; we go to the libraries and read to the little kids. Our interactions with them are so unforgettable. When we just walk in and see their faces light up, there’s just no greater feeling in the whole world.
Q: Were there other people in your life who were role models for you?
A: Yes. My dad. He overcame a lot of obstacles to get where he is now and made so many sacrifices to give me the life I have now. I wouldn’t be who I am without him. I owe it all to my dad.
Q: What kind of sacrifices are you talking about?
A: He had me when he was very young. At that point he did Running Start, so he got his associate degree in computers, and he still was able to take care of me and still create a great future for him. And give me the life I have today.
Q: So he was a single parent?
A: He was still with my mom at the time, and then they did split up. When I was 4 years old, he met my stepmom that I have now. She’s taken care of me since I was 4.
Q: Some of the other girls in the pageant were very impressive. Why do you think the judges picked you?
A: You know, I’m honestly not sure. I think all 25 of us are so wonderful, and I had no idea I was going to become queen and just … I have no idea. I think things just played out that way, but I think any other princess would have made such a great queen.
Q: Any particular service projects you’re looking forward to this year?
A: I’m most looking forward to the Boys & Girls Club. Just going in there and just interacting with the kids. It’s such a different environment than I’m usually in, but just going in and seeing them, and having them ask all these questions: “Are you a real princess?” “Do you have a prince?”
I know so many past princesses said that was the highlight of their princess experience, and it’s definitely going to be one of mine.
Q: So, do you have a prince?
A: No, no.
Q: No boyfriend?
A: No (laughs). No time.
Q: When you want to relax, just take the tiara off and be yourself, what do you do?
A: I play with my baby brother. Going off to college soon, I won’t necessarily be home a lot, so I just want to be there for him as much as I can and just hang out with family. I think family is so important, especially at this time, not only with princess but just with college coming up. Everything is just going by so fast that I think it’s important to just relax with your family and watch movies and stuff.
Q: Did the previous Daffodil Festival queen give you any advice?
A: Yes, she gave me a little box that’s like a queen’s survival kit. There was a little note in there and all these tips such as, “Always be on time.” “Be flexible.”
One of them was a reminder to always be thankful. She said, “There are going to be days where, you know, you’re just not feeling your best or something is not going the way you want. You know, your hair doesn’t look as you would like it to or something. But no matter what, there’s always something to be thankful for that day, so keep smiling.”
I think that was the biggest piece of advice that stuck with me.
Rob Carson: 253-597-8693; rob.carson@ thenewstribune.com