Hello everyone! I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. In all honesty, I took a step back from the pageant world after Nationals, having worked unbelievably hard in the months leading up to the competition and being extremely let down by the results of the weeklong event.
Since then, I’ve taken time to experience life more, and take in all the opportunities that this wonderful world has to offer me! I traveled to St. John’s, Newfoundland for a lovely vacation, resumed my intensive joint program at the University of Winnipeg and Red River College to further my dreams of becoming a sports broadcast journalist, picked up a weekly volunteer position at the Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg, and continue to work three (yes, three) jobs! In addition to this, I celebrated my 20th birthday in November, and have been named an ambassador for Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (The organization I’ve been working with for to support my platform). Needless to say, the past five months have flown by for me!
Though I haven’t been as active through social media as I would’ve liked to been in the past months, my appearances at events throughout the community definitely haven’t stopped! During the last week of August, I attended an event at the Assiniboine Park Zoo called “Wildest Dreams”. For this event, the Zoo partnered with CancerCare Manitoba Foundation, The Salvation Army, St. Amant Foundation, MaryMound, The Dream Factory, Art City, SMD Foundation, Variety: The Children’s Charity of Manitoba, and Muscular Dystrophy Canada to identify children facing health and/or socio-economic challenges, who would benefit mo
st from a once in a lifetime interactive zoo experience! After greeting guests at the gate with the Winston, the Zoo’s mascot, I was offered to take part in the festivities as well. During my adventures I befriended a miniature pony named Princess. A perfect match, right?! Needless to say, my time spent at Wildest Dreams was definitely a memorable event.
In November I attended the 2nd annual Princess Ball, in support of Cystic Fibrosis. On this day, I got to dress up in a wonderful ball gown (which just so happened to double as my graduation dress from three years ago), and spend an afternoon at a ballroom in the Fort Garry Hotel with my fellow titleholders Miss Teenage Eastman, Miss Teenage Winnipeg, and Miss Teenage Central Manitoba. The Princess Ball is day where young girls are invited to step into a dream, forget about their worries, and dress up as a princess for the day! They are then able to dance, do crafts, eat cupcakes, and make new friends with the 30+ volunteers, who are dressed head to toe in their best “princess gear” as well. It was truly amazing to see all the smiles on the faces of the young kids. One of my favourite moments was when a young girl grabbed me by the pinkys, started to dance, and said “I’ve always wanted to meet a real princess.” It is these moments that make all the hard work of being a titleholder absolutely worthwhile!
The following day a group of titleholders went to Winnipeg We Day! We Day is a celebration of youth making a difference in their local and global communities, created in 2007 by Free the Children founders Mark and Craig Kielburger. We Day is the call that brings a generation together. We Day is the movement of our time, inspiring a generation to act. Fuelled by the desire for change, and the hope that the world can be a better place, We Day is inspiring. On this day, over 16 000 change-makers gathered in the MTS Centre, to mark the 5th anniversary of Winnipeg We Day.
Since the other Manitoban delegates and I all raised money for Free The Children as requirements for the Nationals, we were treated with Honoured Guest seating in a suite close to the stage! There, we received gift bags, a catered lunch and the opportunity to bump into a few of the speakers after the show. To me, the most inspirational speaker of the day was deaf actress and activist, Marlee Matlin. Known for her portrayal of Melody Bledsoe on the ABC hit series Switched at Birth, Matlin used American Sign Language (ASL) to share with the audience how, despite her inability to hear, she’s always worked for her dreams, and hasn’t allowed barriers get in the way of who she’s always wanted to become. I found this so inspirational, as I’ve chosen a career path that will have bumps along the way as well. Though a very small percentage of television sports broadcasters are female, I know that with hard work and dedication, I’ll be able to achieve whatever career goals I put my mind to!
After the day ended, one of Marlee’s quotes truly stuck with me. As her interpreter spoke into the microphone, she signed “The real handicap of being deaf isn’t in my ears, it’s in my mind… barriers come from minds of those who want to handicap you.” I came to realize that, deaf or not, this quote is true for anyone trying to pursue their dreams. In your life, there will always be people who tell you you’re not good enough, or not “the right fit” for whoever you desire to become. Like Marlee, we all have to push back and tell ourselves “Yes. We are good enough.” Once the moment comes where you start to truly believe in yourself, other people will follow.
In December, I was happy to join forces with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries Commission, to promote the sale of five different non-alcoholic beverages at liquor marts across Manitoba. This was an exciting opportunity for me, as I was able to hand out samples of alcohol-free champagne, beer, mojitos, as well as red and white wine during the holiday season. Though drinking can be part of a good time, driving drunk is not. These beverages provide designated drivers with the option to drink with their friends, but stay safe and sober while doing so! I’m proud to say that the trial run provided a high success rate, and that these beverages are now readily available at Liquor Marts across the province.
Over the final two months of my reign, I look forward to all the exciting opportunities that await me. Stay tuned, as I have some exciting events occurring in the next few weeks. Though I’m extremely saddened to give away my title in mid-May, I’m proud of the things I’ve accomplished over this past year. As a celebration, a week after handing off my crown I’ll be travelling to Eastern Europe for a three week adventure of a lifetime! I’m excited, and cannot wait to add to the list of countries I’ve visited already.
Happy March everyone, stay tuned until next time!