Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Michael Wilkins rose to the occasion
By Betti Halsell
Published January 3, 2020

Representing women of color on the royal court of Pasadena Rose Tournament.

Princess Michael Yvonne Wilkins (Pasadena Tournament of Roses)


Michael Wilkins at seventeen years old has already displayed tremendous determination and an extraordinary gift for leadership. She is steadfast on her mission to inspire others and grow the community spirit. Showing promise in a successful political career, she has been involved in debate programs and a number of ambassador events. Wilkins is anticipating positive growth within her historic city; she is reigning Princess of the Pasadena Rose Royal Court. Over 1,000 women between the ages of 17-21 applied; she merely had 15 seconds to explain why she should be apart of the royal court. Michael blossomed vividly in front of the royal committee. She discloses how this experience shaped her motivation to make a difference within her community.

Michael is a senior at Maranatha Highschool; she has discovered a deep love for being involved. Every time Michael joins a team or participates, she seems to have a way with her words that energetically promote action from her peers. She distinguished her power in speaking when she joined her highschool speech and debate team.Wilkins excelled and made it to the varsity speech level.

Overton Wilkins (Dad) and Princess Yvonne Wilkins (Pasadena Tournament of Roses)

Articulating and carefully constructing her thoughts came naturally. She has been the Mistress of Ceremonies for The Hazelle Catherine Bass Institute for the ARTS Annual Concert five years in a row. Michael had to constantly sharpen her impromptu skills as a young person in the spotlight with the reasonable expectation to deliver a certain level of confidence while speaking. Little did she know she was preparing for a more extensive role in her community.


The time for Pasadena Tournament of Roses sprouted this past September, Michael being drawn to the community festivities applied along with 1,000 other young talent looking for a seat on the royal court. The first round of interviews came with the simple question of their badge number and  “ why do you want to be on the royal court?” each girl only had 15 seconds to capture the royal court’s attention.

Rose Coronation from right to left: Michael Wilkins, Camille Kennedy, and Cole Fox. (Pasadena Tournament of Roses)

According to the Tournament of Roses website, when each independent candidate met with the committee they are not informed when to start answering. The Royal Rose Queen Committee were seeking girls who would be full of the necessary confidence to follow the unspoken social que to answer to the question. Michael did not display any sign of being nervous, she answered with her badge number and promptly declared, “ I want to motivate others, I know my leadership skills will be beneficial to the royal court.” Michael advanced to the next round along with 249 other girls that were selected out of the 1,000 candidates that applied.

From left to right: Cole Fox (South Pasadena High School), Michael Wilkins (Maranatha High School), Emilie Risha (Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy), Rose Queen Camille Kennedy (La Salle College Preparatory), Reese Rosental Saporito (Marshall Fundamental School), Rukan Saif (Arcadia High School), and Mia Thorsen (Marshall Fundamental School)

The interviews and challenges dwindled down the competition, the committee tested their public speaking ability, academics, leadership and community involvement. 250 potential candidates were put to the test; only 25 proceeded to the final stage. After a lengthy and rigorous process, the Royal Rose committee named the most recent royal members of the established court. Michael was properly presented  a rose along with seven other girls selected out of the 25 finalists. She is now a part of community history as Princess of the 2020 Tournament of Roses. In her new role, she will accompany court members to over 100 appearances over a span of three months, and she will be on duty as an active chaperone with coaches and mentors.

Princess Yvonne Michael Wilkins (Courtesy Photo)

Princess Michael will be considered an official ambassador for the Tournament of Roses and the whole Pasadena community. When asked how that makes her feel, she said in full transparency, “Overwhelmed…but with happiness” Taking a few meaningful minutes to reflect on why she thinks she made it this far, Wilkins shared that she was able to willingly speak from the heart. Undoubtedly, going through the pruning of becoming a rose princess has developed a deeper love for her community. Her motivation grew because of the duties she has taken on. She sees so much of herself in her city. Michael knows that being a Princess will plant the best building blocks for her humanitarian mission to help with progressive growth and change in the future.


Categories: Family | Lifestyle | Local | News | News (Family)
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