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One sleepless night, 3 hour plane ride, 15 minute bus ride and a dress change later, I had arrived at the Miss Teenage Canada 2017 pageant! As my bags fell all over the place, I pull myself together to meet my roommate for the first time. I had some many emotions and thoughts running through my head. As she opened the door I was met with a welcoming smile, and thus began the journey.
The 2017 Search for Miss Teenage Canada – Sponsor Party happened in the Meeting Room at the Edward Village Hotel in Toronto Ontario at approx 5:30 on Monday 07 Aug 2017.
After some brief introductions and some speeches by Michelle and Rob, we were set loose to ambulate about the assembly of sponsor tables.
Our province-of-origin designated Sashes and Crowns were all laid out on display to be claimed – pins # contestants #s – Be sure to keep an eye out for number 8 rocking the stage this weekend, as that’s me!
Our shoes from Nine West were on display and we were encouraged to try on the shoes and get our shoe sizes recorded. I am so excited to receive the official shoes us delegates will be rocking in our opening number, and swim wear at both our preliminary competition and final night.
Miss Teenage Canada Sponsors are mostly small to medium size business entrepreneurs who see value in supporting this segment of society. For one reason or another this pageant is a perfect partner for each of their enterprises.
Rob himself was running the Archer Dental booth and giving away dental supplies, toothbrushes and toothpaste from the famous Toronto dentist Dr Natalie Archer, a local business leader who champions women in the sciences, and who has supported the pageant for many years.
Lilly Liao from Street Chic fashion magazine was there. Lily’s team published over thirty fashion blogs, submitted by over half of the Miss Teenage Canada delegates, just last week. Her magazine is your hub for all your Canadian fashion needs! If I had one word of advice for Lily regarding her magazine I would say keep things light and honest! We all love reading those fun and relatable blogs now and than. From trends to people, we all need to feel like we’re understood by someone out there.
This is a direct link to my own article on Street Chic called, Hay Bales to High Fashion in Airdrie, Alberta
Lily gave everyone a nice new pair of earrings and they were simple, elegant and something everyone can wear at any age!
Dahlia DeSouza from UptotheTime Watches was present and on her table was a display of attractive time pieces from their online catalog. In addition to receiving a necklace, we were asked to select the watch we would pick if we WON the Miss Teenage Canada title next Sunday night. Envisioning what it would look like to win and receive a beautiful watch like the black on black one I chose really put things into perspective.
Judy a music teacher at the Wandering Minstrel Music School in Mississauga was there running an Instagram #MTCSongSolo challenge.
Delegates were invited to select one of five instruments and record a musical performance on Instagram using the #songselfie hashtag. The prize for the video with the most likes at the end of the night ( or the week? TBD) will WIN a new cordless microphone! Myself and 2 other ladies rocked this challenge by singing Hannah Montana’s, ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ which was quite fitting as my singing voice was anything but perfect.
Hashtagio social media aggregator was set up to show the Instagram feed for #MTC2017. Just like last year, all the best shots are being collected and displayed on the website in a special Go Behind the Scenes via Instagram page. This service is co-sponsored by Standard Telecom and all week long we are encouraged to use our cell phones and mobile devices to post our best moments using that hashtag.
Super Adorbs accessories will accentuate any outfit no matter your style or occasion. Headquartered here in Toronto, the company sells online all across Canada; Superadorbs is built with feminine style for individual expression.
Super Adorbs jewellery and fashion accessories gave us all cute little gift bags or our choice of accessories. I personally jumped for the lace, black bunny ear headband. The table was run by Alice Li, Miss Toronto World 2017 who returned to the very room where she was a VIP delegate receiving gifts from sponsors less than a month ago. Alice placed fourth in the 2017 Search for Miss World Canada pageant.
And there was food. And there was cake. And there was laughs, smiles, hugs and connections being formed. This is just the beginning of an unbelievable journey!
With the opportunity to compete for the title of Miss Teenage Canada, we were given the chance to write a fashion blog for Street Chic. This up and coming online fashion, look-book style magazine is incredible for your one stop latest trends, tips and all around Canadian fashion hub. Staying true to not only my Alberta Roots, but my open, honest and relatable style of writing, I wanted to create a meaningful blog filled with metaphors that are correlated with life lessons I’ve learned in my short 17 years of living, mixed with vintage boho/country styled looks to compliment the blog.
From thunder in the distance and spiting rain, to lightening and plunging raindrops, to say this blog challenge was anything but a challenge would be a bold face lie. Running away from thunderstorms to accomplish the perfect shots was not the way I anticipated my Saturday. But, that’s the incredible thing about pageants! They push you out of your comfort zone and test you. My faith has a huge place in my heart, and I believe God sends these obstacles down to you not because you can’t overcome them, but to prove to you that you can.
Though we did a lot of driving around to beat the storm, as well as some shameless car-pool karaoke-ing, my beautiful model Mikaela and I had a blast! Along the way of this uncharted journey, ideas clicked for what I was to write about. I had been pondering this question a lot. I don’t know much about fashion, nor have I ever written about it. But, what I do know about (and something I believe most can relate to) is taking the road less traveled by at least once, finding those obstacles along the way (much like the storm,) somehow through some inner strength making it through, and becoming a whole new person after this experience. I believe when we go through these points in our life, not only does our personality change, but so does our style. There’s core values that we stay true to throughout this development, hence Mikaela’s continuous cowgirl aesthetic throughout my blog. But we evolve around those values, allowing us to become such unique individuals.
All in all, I had such a fun time pushing my personal limits and taking the reigns on this assignment, and made it more than just an assignment. I made this into an opportunity to express a vulnerable, yet fashionable side of me and I’m so happy with how it’s turned out!
“Whether striving to be a trendsetter in a new destination, or vying to be the next Miss Teenage Canada, one must be comfortable, confidant and beautifully authentic in their personality and style.” (Hay Bales to High Fashion in Airdrie, Alberta)
The bright yellow canola crops line our highways, yet in the near distance you can see the details of our rocky mountains. From wild horses, to endless agriculture surrounding our two major cities—Calgary and our capital, Edmonton, it is the beauty outside of these cities that people come to our province to see. And much like people, among that beauty comes deep history that our province holds. Being that my most watched genre on Netflix is documentaries, I find the historical impact Alberta has made on Canada extremely fascinating. It is for that reason that I visited the Bar U Ranch last week!
A wonderful man gave me a run down of the long, yet important history that is behind this ranch. He explained to me that the Bar U Ranch is a symbol for the many ranches that helped form Alberta and our culture. Something that stood out to me within our conversation was when this man chuckled, saying that you were either stupid or brave to travel to Alberta at this time. I believe this sentence summed up Albertan’s resiliency, integrity, and dedication to our land. Many over looked Alberta for there was rivers, mountains, and land that went on for miles on top of the unpredictable weather patterns our province endured. In fact, Alberta was extremely close to becoming an American state, as most of our population was American in the late 1800’s and America had more money and governing power than Canada at this time. It wasn’t until the Canadian government saw potential in Alberta’s agriculture that anyone believed in this land. It was because of the Bar U Ranch and it’s several accomplishments, that people started to see the ability of our people and our land. From feeding our indigenous people all across Canada and workers on the Canadian Pacific Railway with it’s cattle, to earning international praises and awards for their purebred Percheron horses, these ranches made immense impact to Canada.
Aside from the incredibly interesting history included in this attraction, what I love is the site itself. You are driving through curvy back roads and are able to take a glimpse at the rivers, creeks and foothills that come with the journey to the ranch. Once there, you are able to take a horse-drawn carriage ride from the entrance to the barns where you will be overwhelmed with information, nature, and some real life barn yard animals awaiting you.
You know what is the best part?! Because it’s Canada’s 150th year, you are able to visit the Bar U Ranch for free all year! I encourage you to make the drive if you ever find yourself in Alberta, and take part in a little bit of Alberta and Canada’s history. Maybe one day, Netflix will add a Bar U Ranch documentary that I can add to my dork-filled list of faves!
“My dream is for people around the world to look up and to see Canada like a little jewel sitting at the top of the continent.”- Tommy Douglas
In 150 years, Canada has worked immensely to make it’s mark on the world and continue to be in the forefront of leadership and progression. There’s been so many defining moments within these past 150 years that call for celebration, reflection and thanks.
There’s been times that call for protest, such as Alberta’s own Famous 5 who initiated the Persons Case of 1929, that declared women as persons within Canada’s constitution. To unforgettable, devastating and regretful actions of the Indian Act and Residential Schools that still live with so many communities, families and individuals to this day. There’s been feelings of gratitude, as Canada’s involvement with the Second World War resulted in more than 43,000 Canadian soldiers killed, and roughly a million serving in the armed forces full-time. To monumental strides made when Tommy Douglas introduced universal healthcare. All of the good and the bad of the past 150 years has brought us here today, and to say that we’re perfect is naive. Canada is a huge work in progress, but I am so proud of how far we’ve come.
More than approximately 250,000 people immigrate to Canada per year! How unbelievable is that?! When these new Canadians come to our country, they are met with open arms encouraging their culture. Canada truly is a nation full of nations. You can experience so many different cultures, it feels as if you’ve traveled around the world and back. This is something I am so unbelievably thankful I get to experience. Among the resilient Canadians that brave every kind of weather condition, we are a blessed country with magnificent lakes, rivers, and mountains. And when you’re bored of the hiking and river rafting, you can head on over to our coast for some ocean views.
On July 1st, I had the privilege of being in Airdrie’s Canada Day Parade and kicking off Canada’s birthday at Stephen’s Backpacks barbecue. It was such an honor to speak, dance and donate to a charity I hold so close to my heart. I was able to donate $150.00 to this incredible family through RBC for RBC’s Make 150 Count campaign! This was such an awesome opportunity that meant so much to me. I was so excited to present this to them and can’t wait to make some backpacks for some truly deserving individuals in the future. Speaking of dancing, I tried river-dancing with Tamara, Miss Southern Canada Globe! I gave it my best go, but I gotta say it’s not quite for me. So many cultures were celebrated on this day. I believe that’s the essence of Canada and truly represents the people of our country. Anyone can be a Canadian. No matter your size, color, sexual orientation, how you identify or your faith. Your uniqueness is celebrated.
I am Canadian. I am made of Tim Horton’s iced caps, and spend most of my winters in a hockey arena no matter how hard I try not to. I never realized how many times I say ‘sorry’ until I entered the USA, and I definitely say ‘eh’ even though I deny it. I love maple syrup on everything including spaghetti (yes, I had to try it..just call me Buddy the Elf.) And much like the North Pole, I am wearing a tuque and scarf more times than not. This is Canada, and I couldn’t be any prouder to say this is my home.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”
I have seen endless articles on how to find yourself the winning dress, get the perfect swimsuit body, and compose yourself for that nerve wracking final, on-stage question. Although these aspects of a pageant competition demonstrates the grace, confidence, and lifestyle of a contestant, I believe what truly makes a winner is not a crown, but the lessons they learned along the way. These are my winning lessons.
Be Grateful, Thankful and Appreciative
Before everything else, be thankful. When you start your day with an open heart, the opportunities are endless. Remind yourself of the people that helped sculpt you into the wonderful young woman you are presenting on stage that evening. From friends, family, and sponsors, give thanks to them, always. Without those individuals, you surely wouldn’t be the same person. Create those connections and give back that unconditional love when you can.
No queen gives up on their first try. No queen became a queen with failing a few times. That failure doesn’t define who we are, but tests how we combat it. Things won’t always go the way you intended them to, but that by no means defines the outcome for you. Keep your faith alive, and work hard for whatever it is you believe in. That passion will open doors for you, never lose that.
I am a huge believer that there is nothing you cannot accomplish. Reach for your big, hairy, out of this world, dreams. The saddest thing one can do is never try. Looking back on my experiences, I gave up a lot to be able to achieve the goals I wanted. Although these sacrifices limited my ability to have the typical “teenage experience,” I had an extraordinary experience on my own. Because I was chasing after my dreams, none of the small stuff I was missing out on mattered and in the end I can look back and feel accomplished. Go big, go hard, and go at 110% at something you want to achieve.
And all of this brings us here, to who you are. When you spend your reign discovering who you are through going to events, meeting new people, and having unique experience, going into a national competition you will feel comfortable with who you are and the person you are proudly showcasing on stage. That confidence exudes out of you and creates a feeling for everyone to enjoy. So be that goofy, loving, bubbly, and beautiful young woman you are. Either way, you leave a winner. Whether that symbol of success be a crown and sash, or friendships and new memories, never discredit who you are and what you achieved.
We all win in the end.
Mackenzie, Miss Teenage Western Alberta 2017