Here's my entry for CBR Runway 3's Challenge #3, which was we were assigned a state, and had to create a hero (that wasn't stereotypical) but still had to represent the history and culture of that state
My entry is below.
Origin-Khalifah Angela Cortez always felt that there was more to her life. Indeed, growing up for most of her childhood in South Central Los Angeles could do that. She was known for always standing up for others. She also had a stunning beauty due to her mixed heritage that she usually hid behind. After her mother got another job in Sacramento, Kalifah still had to overcome many odds and obstacles to finally get to attend UCLA. Earning her way through school as a model/actress, her life would be forever changed on her way to an audition to play the legendary Queen Califia. Her mother had given her a necklace that was said to be a family heirloom. The necklace was perfect for her role, so she wore it along to her audition. As she walked to the audition, a sudden explosion in her dorm room behind her caused her to stop and run back to check on her roomates. As the fire began to rage, the necklace on her neck began to glow. As she ran, she felt herself becoming lighter, as she looked, she had on golden like armor and a strange staff appeared in her hands. As she landed inside the dorm, she could hear several people trapped in one of the lounges. She could not find them, when suddenly a huge, talking grizzly bear appeared. Thinking she had finally gone delusional, the bear assured her that it was not so. He guided her to the door where she was able to, to her surprise, rip the door hinges off, and fly the people down to safety. She was approached immediately by officers, police, members of the media questioning her on who she was and how she got these powers.....Khalifah herself had no idea and instinctively flew off into the night. She would come to find out later that she was the true descendent of the legendary Amazonian Queen Califia, the queen of the "island" of California. Gudied by Bruin her bear guide, Khalifah soon becomes Princess Cali, the guardian of California.
I was truly inspired by the story of "Black Amazons" and a mythical verison of California. I was surprised to find out that California is most likely named after this mythical Queen Califia. I think that this piece from Wiki explains it all:
The name California is most commonly believed to have derived from a storied paradise peopled by black Amazons and ruled by Queen Califia. The myth of Califia is recorded in a 1510 work The Exploits of Esplandian, written as a sequel to Amadís de Gaula by Spanish adventure writer García Ordóñez Rodríguez de Montalvo. The kingdom of Queen Califia, according to Montalvo, was said to be a remote land inhabited by griffins and other strange beasts and rich in gold.
Know ye that at the right hand of the Indies there is an island named California, very close to that part of the terrestrial Paradise, which was inhabited by black women, without a single man among them, and that they lived in the manner of Amazons. They were robust of body, with strong and passionate hearts and great virtues. The island itself is one of the wildest in the world on account of the bold and craggy rocks. Their weapons were all made of gold. The island everywhere abounds with gold and precious stones, and upon it no other metal was found.
You can find more information about Queen C here : [link]
In researching California, I saw one common theme. And that was gold(which is the state mineral). Gold is a theme which is many of the state's symbols, such as the Golden Poppy (which is part of her headgear), the California Gold Rush, etc. Gold played in perfectly with my character. First, she is a Spanish-African-American-Indian mix...which represents a very large amount of the state of California. Her necklace is a modified design from a picture I saw with Queen Califia and her servants.
The middle jewel is the Benitoite, which is the state gemstone. I modified her staff to include the benitoite, outlined with gold. Her outfit is mainly golden armor that she was given by Minerva and Queen Califia herself. (Minerva is found on the state's seal). Her headgear was also inspired by this mythic queen, from a mural that is hanging up at the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco.
She also wears a version of the state flag as a cape, but usually only for ceremonial purposes. The colors are blue and gold and represent the state's chosen colors. I also had her be a model/actress working her way through school to tie in with some more pop culture familiarity with California. But she's no "airheaded diva" so let's make sure that we understand that.
Powers:She has golden wings of light (that only appear when she becomes Princess Cali). Bruin, is her connection to her Native American heritage, and he is her guide throughout this supernatural mystical journey. He can't be seen by anyone else though until she calls on him into this dimension. He is also a symbol of California. As Princess Cali, she has the power to (as long as she has on that necklace)harness various light and solar energies through her staff (which is also blue and gold), incredible strength, warrior woman skills(she eventually spends some time training in the mystic land), and the ability to teleport....so she can protect the major cities of California.