Amber Knipple to represent Burbank in the Miss California USA Pageant

Amber Knipple, Miss Burbank USA 2024, receiving her sash from Mayor Nick Schultz.

Burbank Mayor Nick Schultz presents a white and silver sash in his City Hall office and delicately lifts it over Amber Knipple’s head as she smiles proudly. The bold letters “MISS BURBANK USA” rests across her yellow plaid skirt suit. The sparkle of the tiara sitting atop her head matches the sparkle in her eyes, as she plans her voyage to the Official Miss California USA® pageant this summer.

The Miss California pageant is the gateway to Miss USA and ultimately the coveted Miss Universe title. Contestants must be at least 18 years of age, be of “good health and moral character,” and must live, work, or go to school in California to enter. While cities don’t have contests that lead up to the Miss California USA pageant, contestants can reserve their city on the sash by requesting three title options on the application, and receiving what is available. In the past contestants have had titles representing California cities, counties, and areas.

28-year-old Burbank native, Amber Knipple, has lived almost her entire life in the city, and is currently a hair braider at De Cielo Salon in Magnolia Park. “My parents were born in Hawaii and moved out here to pursue their careers. I was raised in Burbank and lived here most of my life,” said Knipple who attended Burbank school from elementary to high school, danced in competitive Halau for ten years, and played multiple city sports and high school volleyball.  This will be her first ever pageant and she is excited to represent the city that raised her.

Amber Knipple, Miss Burbank USA 2024 contestant going to the Miss California USA pageant.

On March 6th, Knipple and her family met with Mayor Schultz for the official sashing. “It was such an honor meeting our Mayor, Nick Schultz,” she said. “He was very approachable, friendly, wise and funny. I actually learned from him that a lot of the employees in our City Hall are women, which makes me proud as it boils down to the platform of Miss Universe/Miss USA, which is about women empowerment.” After the sashing, Mayor Schultz gifted her with a commemorative coin to the city, which will hopefully act as a good luck token on her journey.

The Miss California USA pageant will be held from June 21-23, 2024 at the Hyatt Regency Orange County hotel in Garden Grove, CA. The categories of competition include a two to three-minute interview phase to learn about the contestant’s successes, talents, goals and ambitions. Other categories are swimsuit and evening gown, which Knipple says she is most excited for. “I believe this portion of the evening gown contest shines through in women’s beauty, elegance, sensuality and confidence.”

While Amber Knipple has never been in a pageant before, she is using all of her life experiences to help prepare her for the competition. “Dancing with a competitive Halua introduced me to friendly competition, quality work, teamwork and integrity. Playing sports gave me ambition and drive ,and showed me how winning encourages myself and others,” said Knipple. “Modeling in NY and CA gave me confidence. Working in the beauty industry puts me ahead of the curve and I enjoy all facets of the beauty industry and displaying that on stage.”

Miss Burbank is looking forward to planning some fundraisers and meet and greet events in the community over the next couple months before setting off for the pageant this summer. Read below to get to know a little more about Amber Knipple, and visit the Miss California USA website here to learn more about the competition.

Get to know Miss Burbank!

What made you decide to be a contestant for the Miss California pageant?   
My coworkers have been telling me for about four to five years that I should run for Miss California, but I was scared. Even though I was confident in my appearance, I wasn’t confident in who I was as a person. Now I’m confident in myself, my values, morals, standards, views, and all that makes me up as an individual. I decided to run for Miss California, because I believe this position represents prestige and quality. Miss California/ Miss Universe shows women are not just beautiful, they are intelligent, resourceful, wise, hard working, and capable. I believe it’s within my abilities to show young women all over the United States that life is what we make of it and to not settle for limiting beliefs. 

Tell us about yourself.
I enjoy reading romance, self-help, and Christian based books. I also love journaling as it helps clear my mind. I pursued modeling because a lot of people told me to, and I use to be a people pleaser, but in that journey I found my real passion of doing hair and encouraging people to see how beautiful they really are. I have an older sister, we are Irish twins but we couldn’t be more different. However, I would like to believe we are equally funny and fashionable. Four years ago I gave my life to Christ and was baptized! I graduated from PCC cosmetology school in August 2023 and I’m super excited to start my career in the hair industry. I don’t feel like I just do hair, I am providing and receiving a therapeutic service to my clients.

What do you love most about Burbank? 
I love the quality of life Burbank offers. The roads are smooth, the streets are clean, it’s family orientated, we have our own police force, it’s a very safe community and I take pride in stating that we are the media capital of the world!

How do you feel pageants like these encourage and uplift young women?  
Even though this is a competition, I have seen these pageants properly displaying women in a positive light. There is a building of connections, sisterhood and goals. This bond goes beyond pageant-hood and I’m so proud to be part of this experience.  Seeing a woman who looks like you on a large stage is encouraging, and it helps show young women that there is more in the world than what we may see in our everyday lives. Hearing from the women about their professions, their work, and how they have positively impacted their communities is truly honorable. 

What community service initiative will you be advocating for at the pageant? 
About four years ago my dad was diagnosed with an aggressive form of esophageal cancer. It changed my life. I am advocating for cancer patients and their families because both the victim and their families are struggling. Sometimes people don’t know where to turn and sharing in each other’s struggles can help us grow as a country.  I’m sure we all know or have heard about someone having some form of this sickness.  We need to share awareness, share our honest struggles, show empathy towards each other, and band together through our struggles. You don’t always know what people are going through and growing together as a community would help everyone involved. 

Amber Knipple, Miss Burbank USA 2024 contestant in the Miss California USA pageant
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