UCSB freshman Carley Ryckman was recently crowned Miss Santa Barbara County 2010.

Ryckman will vie with over 50 representatives from across the state for the Miss California title in July, and, should she win, ultimately have a shot at competing in the Miss America pageant. The beauty contestants are judged based on their talent routine, interview and community service in addition to their scores in evening gown and swimsuit competitions.

According to Ryckman, there is more to winning a beauty pageant than meets the eye.

“It takes a lot of preparation,” Ryckman said. “You have to study current events, practice your talent, and [develop] a new routine.”

Local pageant director Sandy Bryan said the winner must represent the community and showcase her unique talents.

“You can’t tell right away; it’s not easy,” Bryan said. “It’s just something where you’re not ever comparing one girl to another. You’re just looking how each girl reaches to a standard. A girl [who] is looking to turn herself into something she can possibly be.”

In addition to clenching the title of Miss Santa Barbara County, Ryckman won the top talent award for her Irish dance performance to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and a community service award for her work with children.

“She was secure in who she was as a young woman [and was] confident,” Bryan said of Ryckman. “She had poise and grace that reached across to us.”

Pageant contestants go through months of preparation for competitions, and Ryckman has already begun preparing for the Miss California pageant this summer.

Ryckman said she hopes to grow as an individual and make new friends as she works towards the event.

“I really want to represent my area and UCSB,” Ryckman said.

Bryan expressed confidence in Ryckman’s ability to succeed at the next level, and said she hopes all of the contestants will learn from the experience.

“I hope that [the contestants] are able to look inside, explore a little more about themselves and get a better sense of their own confidence in knowing who they are,” Bryan said. “I anticipate that she is going to do a great job. She is secure in who she is as a young woman. Carley has what they’re looking for.”