HOLLYWOOD - San Diego-based designer Kenneth Barlis was among the panel of judges in the Miss California beauty pageant held over the weekend in Long Beach, California.
Barlis said it was tough choosing the winner who will represent the state in the Miss USA pageant.
"I mean, you know, sa simula gusto mo talaga maganda, matangkad, but the more na nakikilala mo sila, the more you'll fall in love with the contestants. It's so hard to say na kung ano yung qualities na hinahanap mo," Barlis said.
Twenty-year-old Cassandra Kunze of Beverly Hills took home the Miss California 2014 crown.
Several of the pageants VIPs were all praises for the Filipino designer's talent.
Miss California 2013 wore his creation for the pageant's official program photo shoot.
"I love this dress. When I tried it on I just immediately fell in love with it. We did a photo shoot right there in Long Beach. I truly loved it and I love that he's so creative and so different from other designers as well," said Miss California 2013 Mabelynn Capeluj.
Barlis co judge, Chelsea Briggs, also wore his gown on pageant night.
"It's so amazing! I feel so beautiful," Briggs said.
The Mindanao-born designer gained a lot of positive attention when he staged a fashion show in 2013 highlighting a gown made out of banig, the Philippine abaca handwoven sleeping mat.
"It's so amazing how from a very simple concept na gusto ko lang dalhin yung Filipino in the whole American culture dito and to see na kung ano yung magagawa natin and then here it is and that really helped my career to go further," he said.
The 25-year-old designer is expecting to see his creations in several Hollywood red carpet event this year.