By Dean Lamanna
Photography by Brevin Blach
Fashion Direction by Simone Perloff
Styling by Jessica Rose Delee
Hair by Maegan Cooper for A Robert Cromeans Salon
Makeup by Sara Stewart
Photographer's Assistant Emily Slade
There are two things that impassion Natalie Pack, the newly crowned Miss California USA: health and being in front of a lens. So when PacificSD called, the University of California, Irvine, biology major happily broke from cramming for junior-year midterms and her internship at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach for some camera time.
Turns out she feels right at home in San Diego.
"I have several best friends in Pacific Beach, so I visit at least twice a month," says Pack, a dean's lister. "I totally adore the weather and lifestyle."
The judges of the Miss California USA 2012 Pageant in Palm Desert found plenty to adore about Pack when they handed her the title in January. The Rancho Palos Verdes native won against 278 other beauties-the largest number in the event's history.
"It's all a little surreal," she says with a laugh. "Everything is so overwhelming, in such a good way. That weekend in Palm Desert was one of the best of my life."
Pack also thinks it was "great" that this year's Miss California USA featured two openly lesbian contestants-a pageant first that preceded the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Proposition 8 (banning gay marriage in California) is unconstitutional, which she fully supports: "Everyone's entitled to their happiness. I just don't see that anybody should be not allowed, by law, to marry."
The middle child of a real estate broker dad and a homemaker mom, Pack is big on education, science and outside-the-box thinking. She's also a self-proclaimed tomboy: Rollerblading, skateboarding and playing Nintendo 64 were among her adolescent obsessions. "I hung out with the neighborhood boys-I never went into my mother's closet and put on her heels and makeup."
But she always loved being photographed by her dad. And with her height spiking to just under six feet in high school, she redirected her athletic energy toward modeling.
The transition was a little bumpy.
"I had acne through high school and dealt with it when I began modeling," confesses Pack, adding the experience has led her toward a career in dermatology. "It was difficult, because models can't have bad skin. After seeing so many doctors, I devised my own treatment regime by combining topical antibiotics to clear it up."
Still, her active lifestyle, coupled with a necessarily strict diet, gave her a head start.
"I'm lactose intolerant, so I don't eat dairy," says Pack, who gets daily cardio workouts hauling a book-laden backpack around UC Irvine's city-sized campus. "I have inherited high cholesterol that's like that of a fifty-year-old man, so I eat vegetarian. And I go low-carb."
But she admits to a gnawing weakness for chocolate chip cookies.
"I love to bake, so I make them for my boyfriend," says Pack, referring to beau Chase Cornwell, a student at nearby Orange Coast College. "I honestly haven't eaten a cookie in five years, though-I live vicariously through him."
Calling her taste in fashion "conservative," with extravagances limited to "big, flowy" tops and skinny jeans, Pack sought a wardrobe for the Miss California USA 2012 Pageant that was both comfortable and cost-efficient. "My shoes were, like, ten dollars," she says. "I picked out the most flattering dress at Nordstrom's, and I chose a swimsuit I already had. I wanted to feel good about myself but didn't want to spend thousands, like some girls do."
Pack is now prepping for her June appearance in the Miss USA Pageant, where she'll strut her smarts 'n' stuff for not only a national TV audience but also pageant co-owner Donald Trump .
"I heard that Mr. Trump hired one girl who didn't end up winning the title last year," Pack says. "That's exciting, and I'm ecstatic at the prospect of meeting him."
So how does she think she'd fare on The Donald's hit series Celebrity Apprentice?
"Oh, I'd totally win that show! Anything where I can put my brain to work, I'd do well."
Better, perhaps, than she did three years ago as one of 13 contestants on The CW's popular "reality" program America's Next Top Model. Although grateful for the exposure, Pack was frustrated by what she deemed biased editing and storyline manipulation that turned her into a "spoiled brat" character.
"It hurts when your family's seeing the show and you don't appear how they know you to be," she says.
As Miss California USA, Pack gets a more satisfying reality check from her work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and fundraising for Hoag Hospital's breast cancer treatment and research. (Her aunt has survived two bouts with the disease.) And as a budding doctor, she'd someday like to tackle the problem of childhood obesity.
"It's the one thing I would do if I could change the world," she says. "For the first time in U.S. history, parents are outliving their children. Kids are starting puberty at ages six and seven now because of the chemicals we use in food, and they're getting diabetes at such a young age. It's sad."
Pack acknowledges that she's got much learn en route to her goals.
"It's important to stay focused on what I want in life-and go for it," she says. "Now, I've been given an opportunity to do so."
Follow Natalie Pack via Twitter @NataliePack
Natalie at a Glance
AGE: 22 (born 3/30/1989)
HEIGHT: 5'11 3/4"
WEIGHT: 125 lbs.
AGENCY: Ford Models, Los Angeles
MODELING WORK: Billabong, Dona Daneshi, Jockey
PERSONAL INSPIRATION: Dad ("He's the most intelligent man I know-and he can speak three different languages.")
HISTORICAL IDOLS: Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton
GO-TO TUNESMITHS: Coldplay, Dido, Incubus
FAVORITE FLICK: The Pianist (2002)
GUILTY PLEASURE: The Real Housewives ("...but only Orange County and Beverly Hills. I won't miss an episode!")
On the House
Rattlesnake expert Lawrence Klauber ("Laurie," to friends) was born in San Diego in 1883. He studied electrical engineering at Stanford University, then returned home and took a job with the San Diego Consolidated Gas and Electric Company (now SDG&E), of which he later became president.
In 1927, Klauber purchased a 6,000 square-foot, six bedroom,five-bathroom home in Bankers Hill, where he lived until he died in 1968.
"I bought the house in 2004 with a view to completely modernize it inside," says architect Graham Downes, "but I grew sort of fond of the history of the home, so only in certain areas did I change the character. From the exterior point of view, it's all original and restored."
Downes lives in the enormous home with Madiba, his rescued pitbull, and his friend and fellow bachelor, Dermot Gilligan. "We hardly see each other, though, like ships in the night," Downes says. "But it's good to have someone else in the house."
Today, Downes has several someones in the house:model Natalie Pack and the PacificSD camera crew, onsite to shoot this issue's cover and fashion pages.
Please enjoy this exclusive virtual tour of The Klauber House, San Diego Mills Act historical building Number 911. Downes will indicate points of design interest along the way. And don't worry about Madiba...he's a sweetheart.