I have loved pageants for as long as I can remember.
I remember sitting in front of the TV at age five, watching intently as Natalie Glebova graced the stage at the annual Miss Universe competition, later on in the program being crowned Miss Universe 2005.
I remember in grade six, walking into my classroom on halloween with a gown, sash, and crown on impersonating the current Miss Universe Canada, Chelsae Durocher. Blue dress and all.
I remember watching Miss USA 2012 with my mom, seeing Rhode Island before the top 15 was announced and instantly knowing she would take home the crown, and later rooting for her at Miss Universe.
I remember being 10 years old, searching around the internet for pageants for girls my age here in Ontario, and, even though I was still three years short of the minimum age, stumbling across the Miss Teenage Canada pageant and knowing I would be that girl one day. I just needed some experience first.
I think I was about 6 or 7 when I did my first pageant. It was recommended to my mom by my modelling teacher, so my mother signed me up. I don’t remember that much honestly, but I do remember having to go onstage in front of an enormous crowd (which probably wasn’t that big, but I was a nervous, shy five-year-old) and recite an introduction about myself that had previously been drilled into me by my mother and instructor.
During crowning, I listened for my name to be called so I could go and receive whatever prize it was. At last, my name was called and I went onstage to get my miniature trophy with the words “Regional Runner-Up” on it. I was ecstatic, although I still don’t quite know what place I actually received.
Six Nations has a local ambassador pageant called Miss Six Nations. They have different age categories as well, such as Tiny Tot boy and girl, Little Miss, Miss Mini, Miss Pre-Teen, and Miss Teen. In 2011, I was in the age bracket for Miss Pre-Teen, so I took a leap of faith and entered. I was awarded 1st-runner up, as well as the year after. However, I was extremely determined to be crowned a Six Nations ambassador. The Pre-Teen category was ages 11-13, and though I was still 13, I would be turning 14 before the calendar year was over, so I was placed into the teen category, which was extremely intimidating due to the fact that I was up against 14-17 year olds. This was my year though, and I managed to take home the crown! It was an unforgettable year, and I cherished every second of it. Shout out to my fellow 2013 ambassadors! 😉
I started doing natural pageants around Southern Ontario when I was around 11. In total, I’ve probably done around 14, give or take a couple. I gained so much valuable experience the 3 years I competed in those, and I have so many great memories from those pageants.
And now Miss Teenage Ontario. What can I say? It was an unforgettable experience, and I’m sure nationals will be even better. Two more weeks! I still can’t fathom that 5 years ago I was browsing the Miss Teen Canada-World website and now I’ll be competing in the pageant I knew I wanted to win one day, only with a slightly different name now. I remember waiting for updates on the winners and the events they did. I remember watching Megha Sandhu be crowned, Jillian Martin, and this years Miss Teenage Canada, Francesca McFadden. I looked up to, and still look up to, all of these amazing girls. I want to be able to be in a position where I can be a role model for young girls and be someone they can look up to. Especially for the girls of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds who are told by society that they aren’t capable of the things they want to achieve simply because they have a different skin tone. I want to show them they can.