After five rounds of interviews and team-building activities, Erika Karen Winter emerged as the 98th Rose Queen at the announcement and coronation of the Rose Queen and presentation of the Royal Court on Thursday night at the Pasadena Convention Center. She will reign with her court over the 127th Rose Parade and 102nd Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2016. Queen Erika, who with the six Rose Princesses will make some 100 appearances over the next three months, sees her role as being a team captain, she told atombash.com.
The coronation is always an exciting event, with families and Tournament of Roses members anxiously awaiting the announcement of the queen. It’s the first time the Royal Court is seen publicly in their formal gowns designed by Tadashi Shoji and pearl necklaces and tiaras by Mikimoto. Each one looks every inch a princess, but these are princesses who work diligently in the community and in school and will spend the next 12 months serving as ambassadors for the Tournament and the City of Pasadena. Like the theme of America’s New Year Celebration, it’s a time to “Find Your Adventure.”
Queen Erika, who attends Flintridge Preparatory School, is a native Pasadenan and is very active in student government and performance. She had the lead role in the spring musical, is part of the cheer and dance team, president of the Hip Hop Club and Craft Club, and enjoys singing, acting, spin-cycling and watching hockey. She serves on the student senate, is a middle school commissioner, peer counselor and volunteer instructor for autistic dance classes. Her goal is to work in marketing and communications in the fashion industry and she is planning on studying marketing and psychology.
Her parents are Tim Winter and Kris Knutsen. Knutsen is the assistant news director at KTLA-TV, which broadcasts the Rose Parade nationally. KTLA stated that Queen Erika’s connection was purposely not made known to the 11-member Queen and Court Committee until after the Rose Queen was announced. Though her mother goes by Kris Knutsen professionally, Erika’s bio names her parents as “Tim and Kristine Winter.” It’s doubtful that the committee would have been influenced by the knowledge. Tournament members often see girls they know during tryouts and until the finalists are announced, the girls are known only by number.
A Rose Queen is forever
Tournament of Roses Pres. Mike Matthiessen poses with Rose Queen Erika Winter immediately after he placed the crown on her head. “Rose Queen Erika and each member of the Royal Court have embarked on an exciting adventure and we are eager for them to encourage others to find their adventure throughout the community,” Matthiessen said.
Not the studio, but, left to right, 97th Rose Queen Madison Triplett and 2015 Rose Princesses Gabrielle Current and Mackenzie Byers. It is traditional for princesses from the previous court to present bouquets of red roses to the new court, and for the previous queen to present the bouquet to her successor as her final act.
Roses from the south
The City of Downey enters a self-built float in the parade every year, and like Sierra Madre, has its own court. Left to right, Danielle Padilla, 16; Alexis Gomez, 22; Darlene Monzon, 13; Alyssa Mayer, 10. They will ride on the Downey float, “Exploring the Everglades,” in the 2016 Rose Parade.
One last go-round for Stephanie Edwards
For many KTLA viewers, Stephanie Edwards and Bob Eubanks are the voices Rose Parade. She’s an expert in bands, he’s an expert in horses, and the two work well together. They announced a few weeks ago that 2016 will be their last Rose Parade. Edwards, here with Princess Sarah Shaklan, hosted the presentation of the Royal Court with her usual grace and humor.
Princess in waiting
Like the other members of the Royal Court, Erika Winter took her place on stage prior to the announcement of the Rose Queen. The Tadashi Shoji gowns are a brilliant emerald green with sequin and bead accents. Wardrobes for public appearances are provided for the court by Macy’s, cosmetics by Estée Lauder, flowers by Jacob Maarse, preferred florist of the Tournament of Roses, hairstyling by TheSpa Santé, crown and tiaras by Mikimoto. Citizen’s Business Bank is the presenting sponsor of the ceremony. Other than the tiaras, the girls keep the clothes and jewelry they receive.
A band of sisters
One thing the women of the Royal Court consistently underscore is that they are now sisters, as manifested in the traditional group hug and jumping up and down after the announcement of the Rose Queen. Shortly after the Royal Court is announced, the girls are whisked off to Balboa for a weekend to bond and to see how they work together. Queen Erica told atombash.com that she liked the many “small things” they did together, such as singing, dancing, just being together. Her favorite thing about the weekend was “getting to know these girls.”
Keeping the folks entertained
Shelea Frazier is that kind of singer known as a stylist. She can take a line and bring her personality to it, sans autotune and “sweetener.” The instrumentalists and vocalists from Muse/ique, led by Rachael Worby, kept the audience entertained with tunes from the American Songbook while the Rose Queen changed into her white gown.
Just before the coronation
After a quick change, Rose Queen Erika Karen Winter appeared for the first time in her white gown. She told atombash.com that what she would most like to do as the Queen is to be a role model, and she is happy to take that on. “It’s important for children to have someone to look up to,” she said, “to motivate themselves.” She said, “I think girls need to know to be ourselves, to be confident in our own skin.” Asked if she suspected she would be named as Rose Queen, she quickly replied, “Not at all!”
The gown Rose Queen Erika wears is the same cut as those of the six princesses, but in white instead of emerald. The fitted bodice is softened by appliqued ruching and sequins and beads dangle in a gentle curve on the skirt. Her crown features more than 600 cultured Mikimoto pearls and six carats of diamonds. She will also receive a rose pin to indicate her rank when the Court is at appearances. All members of the Royal Court receive pearl necklaces from Mikimoto.
The Rose Queen and her court
From an initial crowd of 900 applicants, these seven young women were chosen to represent the Tournament of Roses from now until next October. In the center, Rose Queen Erika Winter stands out in white. On either side, left to right, are Princesses Sarah Shaklan, Rachelle Liu, Bryce Bakewell, Regina Pullens, Natalie Hernandez-Barber, Donaly Marquez.