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Miss America pageant: Miss California Leah Cecil hopes to show unique talents

January 7, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Fifty-three women representing the United States, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, will be in Las Vegas this week for a preliminary competition in the 2013 Miss America pageant leading up to the crowning Saturday.

Among them will be Leah Cecil as Miss California, a Garden Grove native and California State University, Fullerton, graduate.

"It's a huge honor to represent such a wonderful state," Cecil said.

The women will compete in various categories, including swimsuit, interviews and talent. Cecil has a unique talent. She's a professional harpist. Eyewitness News first found that out in 2007, when she was named one of ABC7's "Cool Kids." Cecil was nominated by someone from church who wanted the girl to be recognized for her community service.

Five years later, Cecil is hoping her harp will help bring the Miss America title to California for the first time in 30 years.

"If I can just pull off being myself and just show those judges what I can bring to the table and how experienced I already am as Miss California, and show them what I can bring to the table as Miss America, hopefully that will just be my secret," to winning, she said. "I'm sure all the other girls will be doing that, but maybe my secret is just how unique I can be compared to everybody else."

The next Miss America will be crowned Saturday night. The pageant can be seen at 9 p.m. on ABC7.

Additionally, viewers can get to know the 53 contestants all this week in the special five-part series, "Miss America: Secrets Revealed." The series starts Monday night on the Live Well Network on 7.2 and the cable channels listed here.