A scuba beauty pageant?
“Saltwater runs through my veins,” said Chanel Hason, a 2010 graduate of the Environmental Science, Technology and Policy program.
That’s why the idea of vying for the title of Miss Scuba International 2013 – a competition devoted to protecting the oceans – appeals to her. She will represent the United States in the pageant on Dec. 20 in Malaysia.
You’ve never heard of the competition? That may be because it’s only two years old and was founded by the owner of several diving resorts in Malaysia.
“It’s huge in the Asian countries,” Hason said, “but hasn’t picked up speed yet in the U.S.”
She doesn’t see herself as a typical beauty queen. Instead, she said, “I’m a marine conservationist, scuba diver, educator and environmentalist, and I’m ready to win the Miss Scuba International Pageant!”
Hason said the contestants are judged on talent. She’s showcasing her skills as a photographer “to get people excited about how beautiful our planet is, not only above water but below the water as well.”
Contestants will also be judged on their diving skills, knowledge of scuba tourism and marine conservation, communications, work ethic, and proficiency in a question-and-answer session.
“We’ll be tested on how we assemble our gear, and given a list of skills to demonstrate underwater,” she said. That shouldn’t present a problem for Hason, who has been a certified diver since 2006, and earned advanced and rescue certifications while at CSUMB.
The 25-year-old resident of Los Angeles said her love of the ocean began on a trip to Sea World when she was 5. Her interest in marine science brought her to CSUMB; while a student, she spent three years as a volunteer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and studied in Australia for a year, conducting research on the Great Barrier Reef.
She’ll be in Malaysia for two weeks, scuba diving and participating in conservation efforts that include releasing baby sea turtles and cleaning beaches.
The pageant winner, according to the Miss Scuba website, “will undertake a year of ocean conservation campaigns to educate and inspire the desire in all of us to do our best to safeguard our oceans. The pageant will also offer her a unique and comprehensive platform to launch her career and personal development.”
Hason embraces the idea and hopes this will lead to her dream job somewhere in the ecotourism industry.
“I love interacting with people and being outdoors,” she said. “I belong on a beach in a wetsuit, not behind a desk.
“My purpose in life is to educate as many people as possible about ways to protect our planet, and this opportunity with the pageant seemed like a step in the right direction,” she said.
Photos courtesy of Chanel Hason
Top photo: The 2010 graduate of CSUMB's ESTP program dives at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
Bottom: At a beach in El Porto, California