Malibu names its new beauty queens

Bianca Peters, 19, is crowned the new Miss Malibu USA by formal title holder and current Miss California USA Tami Farrell, on Sunday at a private Point Dume residence. Photo by Teresa Koehler

The newly-crowned Miss Malibu USA and Miss Malibu Teen USA celebrate their pageant wins.

By Kim Devore / Staff Writer

Miss California USA Tami Farrell joined a celebrity panel of judges in crowning the new Miss Malibu USA and Miss Malibu Teen USA on Sunday at a private estate on Point Dume.

Nineteen-year-old Bianca Peters, a broadcast journalism major at California State University, Long Beach was named the new Miss Malibu USA, while 14-year-old Farah Griffin was crowned Miss Malibu Teen USA. Griffin, whose grandfather was Malibu's legendary entertainment mogul Merv Griffin, is a student at Oaks Christian School.

Her parents, Tricia and Tony, could not be prouder and said their daughter is perfect for the job.

“My jaws hurt from a perma-grin,” Tricia Griffin said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “I haven't stopped smiling.

“She's such a great speaker,” Tricia continued. “I am just blown away by how poised she is. She's very caring and down to earth. She can make anyone feel special.”

The two-day event got underway on Saturday afternoon with a benefit party hosted by rapper and actor Ludacris Bridges at the Point Dume estate. The private pre-party featured 43 bikini-clad pageant contestants, and raised funds for Bridges' LudaCares children's charity.

The main event took place Sunday, during which contestants gathered poolside for the pageant's swimsuit and gown competitions. Celebrity judges included Bridges, along with “Law and Order” actress Elisabeth Rohm, fashion designer Jeff Garner, reality television star Khloe Kardashian and trainer-to-the-stars Eric Viskovicz. Farrell and KTLA entertainment reporter Ross King emceed the event, which also featured performances by Ryan Cabrera and American Idol's Michael Johns.

Contestants for Miss Malibu ranged in age from 19 to 26. Those vying for the Miss Malibu Teen title were aged 14 to 18.

According to event organizer Kristen Bradford, there's more to the contest than just beauty.

“We are looking for the whole package,” Bradford said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “We want community role models. We look for girls who are top achievers both academically and philanthropically.”

As the new Miss Malibu Teen, Griffin takes the reigns from another celebrated local, Greer Grammer, who is the daughter of actor Kelsey Grammer.

Although both Miss Malibu Teen winners were locals, living in Malibu is not a requirement. “The state pageant does not mandate that the contestants live in the area,” Bradford explained. “When a pageant is open it increases participation and gives a lot of girls the chance to get started before going on to the state level.”

Griffin and Peters will go on to compete in the Miss California USA and Miss California Teen USA contests in November.

In the meantime, they will be busy representing the city at charity events like the Malibu Chili Cook Off and fundraisers for organizations like Women in Film.

Prizes for the winners include television and modeling assignments, L.I.F.E. fitness programs and spa services.

Farrell had been doing double duty as both Miss Malibu and Miss California, and will continue her duties as Miss California until the end of the year.

Looking back, she said her time in the spotlight has opened many doors.

“I am shooting a movie and shopping my screenplay around,” Farrell said. “It's been a crazy year. I never expected all this, but the whole experience has been wonderful.”

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