She who wears the crown

Hana Smith, according to one of her minders, will be Huntington Beach's equivalent of a Disney princess for the next year.

Her platform, though, has little to do with fairy tales.

Smith, who was crowned as the new Miss Huntington Beach on Saturday, plans to spend part of her time talking with teenagers about alcoholism and its effects on family members.

While attending Huntington Beach High School, Smith, 19, participated in the Every 15 Minutes anti-drunk-driving program, and she hopes to visit her alma mater to lead a discussion for students who have alcoholic friends or relatives.

For Smith, community activism, more than beauty or scholarship money, is the mission of a pageant winner.

"Miss Huntington Beach is more like a modern Renaissance woman — someone who is well-rounded and intelligent and wants to make a difference," the Orange Coast College student said.

Smith topped four other contestants at the pageant Saturday and received the crown from her predecessor, Cassie Cotarelo. The five finalists went through an interview with judges, performed a talent, modeled a swimsuit and evening wear, and answered a question onstage. Smith sang the 1950s ballad "Fever" for her performance.

As Miss Huntington Beach, Smith will appear at ribbon-cuttings, Chamber of Commerce mixers, the Fourth of July Parade and other city events throughout the year.

Jim Sankey, the chief financial officer of the Miss Huntington Beach Committee, said Smith ought to be prepared for celebrity status.

"She's always popular with children," he said. "All the kids treat Miss Huntington Beach like she's a Disney character. When she goes to the Easter Hunt, she's always mobbed by the kids."

Although Smith has sung for more than a decade, she plans to major in biopsychology and pre-med at a four-year university and become a doctor. Right now, in between classes and queen duties, she works as a hostess at Cucina Alessa in downtown Huntington Beach.

And if the schedule gets overwhelming, she can seek advice from Cotarelo, who she said has become a fast friend.

"I'll definitely be consulting her on how to handle situations and what to expect, so we'll definitely become closer over the course of the year," Smith said.

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