2013 was my first time stepping foot on this particular stage and becoming part of the MTC-W INC family. I was 18 years old and instantly hooked on the Miss Teenage Canada experience. These girls were unbelievable, confident and strong. Four years later I was competing for Miss Alberta World 2107 and placed 2nd Runner-up earning the title of Miss Calgary World 2017.
I was returning as Miss Intercontinental Canada 2017! I could not wait to meet the Alberta girls; to see what potential they had and see who they were as Alberta girls, clearly all strong and confident.
Tim Hortons in hand, like always, I showed up to the Coast Plaza a bit early since I was at the airport prior. Sitting in the lobby I had my large double-double, my computer, phone, camera, a duffle with my crown and sash, along with a giant suitcase filled with gowns that MTC-W INC provided for me while I was in Egypt at Miss Intercontinental this past January. As I sat in the lobby I watched girls and their families coming and going, trying to figure out where registration was, how many friends and family it would take for them to carry each constant's things to Miss World & Teenage Alberta.
I went into the room with our choreography, Jane, and she introduced to the delegates who were already chatting and smiling with one another. Jane ran the girls through the process of what the weekend would include and what they would tackle today. I thought back to how nervous I was each time I was about to compete.
When a current titleholder walks in with her crown and sash there is absolutely an intimidation factor, not in a bad way, in a way you have a moment of realization. You realize you made the conscious decision to put yourself literally on a stage to be judged. You will be judged by the women around you, the staff of the organization, the judges while judging yourself too. Hearing from some the delegates and understanding myself, the girls later told me in the pageant that they felt comfortable around me because I wasn't wearing my crown and sash, that it made me more approachable. I couldn't have agreed more. I am insecure and I can openly admit to it because I know my boundaries in social situations. I would never want women to feel intimidated by me. I want to be someone they can relate to and feels comfortable to be open and vulnerable with.
DAY 1: REHEARSAL, SWIMSUIT & PERSONAL INTERVIEW.
Grace, Miss Teenage Alberta 2017 and I were crowned together the year before. She had driven in from Lethbridge the night before so thankfully she was there bright and early with me. We heading to rehearsals to watch the girls and be mock judges.
We both somehow decided it would be a fun idea to vlog the weekend, especially since Grace was passing along her title, we were co-hosting together and we both created YouTube channels to document our reigns. We were absolutely in new territory and I can assure you I am just as awkward as you can imagine I am.
We watched the girls go through the motions of learning the walking patterns of swimsuit and with their opening number performance. All the girls were picking things up quickly, especially since none of them had competed except for one. Once things were going I decided to get a bit of work done and Grace headed to lunch with her family. The girls got an hour for lunch so a couple of the MISS delegates asked if I would like to join them. We chatted about their Beauty with a Purpose ideas (AKA their platforms) and then asked me about my time when I was Miss Calgary World and what how my time in Egypt was that January.
Lunch was over and the girls were all back to rehearsals. Grace soon arrived after followed by the Miss Teenage Alberta 2017 delegates. Seriously, I was clearly outnumbered. We caught up a little and they were all decked out in their crowns and sashes! It was really nice to see all of them, since I hadn't seen most of them since we were competing together last year.
Rehearsals were continuing into the evening but the girls did need to get ready for the swimwear competition and personal interview with the judges. At this point I think I was on my third cup of coffee to keep me going since I had been up since 5AM and managed 2 hours of sleep. Coffee in hand and the girls went into their competition., all feeling pretty prepared but you never really know what will happen until it does.
DAY 2: THE FINALE
Hair set in my curls, full face of makeup, and another suitcase filled with two evening gowns, a spare gown and my national costume- I was off again to the Coast Plaza. First things first I had to find coffee to get through this afternoon because it is always a full day of rehearsals, girls in hair and makeup and pageant girls trying to make the most of their last day of their reigns.
To my wonderful surprise, Maneet, Miss Southern Alberta World 2017 was there. I wasn't the only MISS! We'd hadn't seen each other since I was crowned in Toronto that summer and it was a most welcome surprise! Hugs exchanged and we were off into opening number! I had literally showed up the second the reigning queens were about to walk on stage during opening number. Once again, blessed by Jane, our choreography was to walk in a circle. We all know I cannot dance.
I learned the quick walking pattern and things were off. I was handed the script for the finale and gave one to Grace before running to my gown sponsor's room to return the custom National Canadian Costume that I had the pleasure of wearing at Miss Intercontinental. I could not have been more thankful to have been described as a Disney Princess, elegant, and very Canadian when I was competing in Egypt. Once that was done I was back downstairs to run through the script with Grace, while finding out what reigning Queens were doing to give farewell speeches or would opt to be asked a question of their choosing.
I watched the girls do their hair and makeup and the professional hair and makeup artists made sure all of the looks where perfect for the stage! All of the girls looked beautiful! I managed to squeeze in time to un-pin my curls and find my mom who was kind enough to come watch the pageant. I know it is something that isn't normal in day to day life but I cannot be more thankful that I have the support of my family when it comes to pageantry.
The audience filled up quickly and nerves started to kick in- for me. I had never hosted ANYTHING before, I had been a guest speaker, a key-note speaker or been called on stage to speak without notice, but I had never hosted nor given a speech about my reign. I was definitely nervous. The lights went down, all of the provincial delegates walked on stage in their black cocktail dresses and did what they were taught for the last two days- then it was our time, a final walk all together and most us in Bells and Bows Bridal.
Grace and I were up. Each called on stage by Michelle, the national director and owner of MTC-W INC. Michelle asked each of us a couple of questions and handed the show over to us. Unfortunately I didn't wear my reading glasses and mispronounced a few names, but it's okay, everyone laughed and I never try to take myself too seriously in those situations cause all you can do is laugh at yourself. It really is half the fun! Grace nailed it in my opinion though and I am so happy I was on stage with her. The girls were competing in evening gown since they had powered through personal interview and swimsuit the night before! I love this part of the competition because you are able to really see each woman's personal sense of style.
Each delegate was also given the opportunity to tell the audience what they had told the judges the day before in their personal interview what their platform is or their Beauty with a Purpose, in the case of the Miss World Canada delegates. At this point there was a 15 minute intermission so Grace and I did what any co-hosts would do: OUTFIT CHANGE! We actually wore our preliminary and finale gowns from our times at Miss Teenage Canada & Miss World Canada 2017. A big shout out to Angeline of Bells and Bows Bridal for being a leader in the Canadian pageant and prom industry, and for carrying such beautiful Tony Bowls gowns. We were able to sparkle on stage the way we did because of your amazing selection and styles in your boutique. Thank you to you and your team!
Swimsuit is always flirty and fun, which all of the girls nailed., followed by each outgoing queen's speech. Unfortunately my camera did die at this point. I was walking across the stage and I looked into the audience, I saw people that had supported me since day one of my pageant adventures, I saw my mom, pageant parents who I have always had wonderful relationships with and it all hit me at once, I could not have been more grateful for all that I had experienced and accomplished, especially this year. I went to give my speech and I burst into tears. I hadn't expected to see as many people as I had at once who have given me nothing but love and support, they were an extension of all of my success locally, nationally and internationally. I would not be where I am, or who I am today without their faith, generosity and love. My time in Egypt I learned more about myself that I had in the past two years. With the waterworks that were going on my speech did not go exactly as I had hoped, but I was later told that my emotions really did show how much I love what I do and how thankful for I am for this opportunity and I do not take it for granted. Thank you all for being part of my adventure. You all are the reason why I have become the woman I am today.
Like any pageant, crowing needs to happen! Because my camera did die here is a look at crowing. I think the expression, a picture is worth a thousand words really comes into play in these moments.
Congratulations to our new reigning Miss Teenage Alberta 2018 - Maliyah and Miss Alberta World 2018 - Kalista! You were both lovely to meet and I am very excited to see what you accomplish with your Alberta titles.
Congratulations to all of the Alberta Ladies who competed at the Alberta Provincial Pageant. You were all confident, kind and inspiring in my mind, I loved how you were all so authentic to who you were and what you repersent, do not change that. I have no doubt in my mind that you will all accomplish amazing things in your lives. I'll be cheering you on!
Something about the Alberta Pageant I will always have an attachment to. This is where it all started for me.
Thank you Bells and Bows Bridal Centre of Lethbridge, Alberta for sponsoring me during my year as Miss Intercontinental Canada 2017. Thank you for these two perfect gowns that I wore at Miss World Canada during the preliminary competition and during my crowning moment!