The 2016 Rose Queen was announced during a coronation ceremony in Pasadena Thursday.
Erika Karen Winter, a 17-year-old senior at Flintridge Preparatory School, was selected to be the queen among the seven members of the 2016 Tournament of Roses Royal Court present at the event.
One of Winter's parents currently works at KTLA. The station chose not to disclose the connection until after the Rose Queen was announced as to not influence the 11-person selection committee. Also, before being named to the seven-member court, Winter remained anonymous, only known to the selection committee by her contestant number.
Thursday's announcement comes after a month-long process that included more than 900 women.
The six other finalists who were announced on Oct. 5 were Donaly Marquez of Blair High School, Sarah Shaklan of La Canada High School, Natalie Hernandez-Barber of Alverno High School, Rachelle Liu of San Marino High School, Regina Pullens of Maranatha High School, and Bryce Bakewell of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy.
“Rose Queen Erika and each member of the Royal Court have embarked on an exciting adventure and we are eager for them to encourage others to find their adventure throughout the community,” Tournament of Roses President Mike Matthiessen stated in a news release announcing Winter's selection.
The Rose Queen and Royal Court were chosen based on their public speaking ability, poise, academic achievement, and community involvement, among other qualifications.
Winter said she was overwhelmed when the announcement was made, and very grateful.
"I've gone to the parade every year since I was little girl, and I've just always dreamed of doing this and I here I am now. I can’t get over it. This is incredible," she said.
The queen will now make as many as 100 community and media appearances leading up to the 127th Rose Parade on New Year's Day.
Prior to being announced as the Rose Queen, Winter has been an active member of her school's cheer and dance team, is part of the student senate, is a middle school commissioner, and is a peer counselor and volunteer instructor for dance classes for people with autism.