Miss California, USA

Courtesy of Natalie Pack

Natalie Pack Interview

By Zachary Risinger

Staff Writer

UC Irvine students are busy people. Some are dancers, some are involved with research, some are pursuing their dreams of writing novels one day. Natalie Pack, a third-year biological sciences major and the 2012 winner of the Miss California USA pageant, is another one of these busy students, in the process of realizing her hopes of attending medical school after her time at UCI.

“I wake up every day, usually around six. Then I go to work at Hoag Hospital, I have an internship there for my clinical experience. I’m there until about 11 a.m., then I’ll go to LA for a casting and then come back for class at 2 o’clock. Go to class ‘till four, do research until about six, then I go to an interview or an appearance or whatever I have scheduled for that day. Then homework for the rest of the day,” Pack said. For her, this is just another Thursday in her life.

Oh yeah — she’s on the Dean’s Honor List too and signed to LA Models.

“Honestly, I wasn’t very prepared [for the pageant]. My boyfriend’s mom had judged pageants before, so I got some advice from her. I didn’t have any advice until about two weeks before, though. I didn’t even get my dress until three days before, my shoes until hours before. I did a lot of Googling,” said Pack with a bit of a laugh.

In the pageant, Natalie Pack represented Hoag Hospital since she had no prior experience.

“Other girls had won Miss Malibu and Miss Orange County, for example. I had to pick somewhere, and I wanted to represent somewhere that meant a lot to me, and Hoag is such an amazing hospital so I wanted to do that,” Pack explained.

“I still don’t really know much about what I’m supposed to be doing. I know it’s going to be a lot of charity work, a lot of appearances, but a lot of fun too,” she added.

“I go to Miss USA in June. It’s going to be tough […] I’ve heard things like, ‘This contestant is going to be so pretty’ and it’s kind of scary, I’m nervous about it. I’m already freaking out. But I know I’m getting the tools I need to be competitive, too. I have a personal trainer and a nutritionist that are helping me be the best I can be for this. But just going there is going to be a dream come true,” she said.

Pack is no stranger to competition, however. She participated in the 12th cycle of America’s Next Top Model, making it late into the competition.

“You had to be game for anything. It was an intense experience, we had no outside contact whatsoever. We could only call home twice in a two-week span or something like that. It was amazing though, so many amazing photographers and people. I got to travel to São Paulo, Brazil and experienced so many things. I had to get rid of my inhibitions, you had to be on top of your game at all times. It was a complete 180. The only things that were the same as my normal jobs in LA were the camera, the photographer and the model,” said Pack.

“I mean, I shoot for 12-hour days. If you filmed my normal shoots for clients, you would be bored out of your mind. [Laughs.] But I love it, I’m passionate about it and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else,” she added. “When you’re passionate about something, you don’t mind working.”

Even though the pageant and modeling world now takes up a lot of Pack’s time, she still finds time to do charitable work with her family in Palos Verdes, Calif.

“My aunt is a two-time breast cancer survivor, so I do a lot for that. My family and I raised about $2,000 for Hoag Hospital — we had garage sales for three weekends in a row and 100 percent of what we made went straight to them,” said Pack.

When Pack isn’t in school, modeling or doing charity work, she enjoys being outdoors, riding motorcycles, cooking and baking, among other things.

“I love doing anything outdoors. I ride motorcycles and go out on PCH as much as I can. I cook a lot and I’m recently vegetarian too. I definitely am so lost when it comes to TV, I don’t think I’ve watched TV in the past two years. [Laughs.] I have to keep up with social media too. You know, supporters want to know what you’re doing so you have to keep up with that,” said Pack.

“When I was little, I rode skateboards and scooters with all the boys in my neighborhood, playing with pellet guns and doing whatever they were doing. I was always a tomboy. [Laughs.]”

With everything that Pack does in her life, her classes and her involvement with UCI is at the forefront.

“I have a strict rule where I won’t go to a casting if I have class during that time. Anyone that’s a bio major will know that you cannot miss class. I’m usually able to make at least one casting a day still, though. I don’t know if you can consider that modeling part-time, but I’m doing as much as I can,” explained Pack.

“I love UCI. The campus is beautiful, but I love most is just being in class and learning. The professors are amazing. What’s cool about UCI too is that it’s a research school. We can relate things we learn in class to what the professors are doing every day in their labs. Not a lot of schools have that opportunity for students, so I’m glad that UCI has that to offer,” she continued.

Pack explained that she would like to go to either UCLA or a university in New York for medical school, and wants to pursue a specialization in dermatology.

“I used to have acne really bad in high school, and I was made fun of a lot for it. I went to a bunch of different things, I tried everything. I eventually came up with my own solution and have been working on a perfect solution for my type of skin,” said Pack. “I’m in the process of getting to shadow a dermatologist in Manhattan Beach and see what day-to-day to life is  like for that profession.”

Watch for Natalie Pack as she competes in the Miss USA pageant later this year, this time with some experience under her belt. If our interview told me anything, it’s that Pack will be competing as the same woman that entered the Miss California USA pageant representing Hoag Hospital — one who’s passionate about her career, donating her time and efforts to charity work and her dreams of pursuing a medical career.