If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to for the past couple of months, wonder no more!

This summer has been life-changing for me. I believe that every year of one’s life should be an improvement on the last, and to help me accomplish this, I keep a daily journal of my progress to keep me always in a state of self-reflection and seeing where I can improve (and where I am already doing great!)

In July, I began a new job as a restaurant hostess and I’ve been having a lot of fun! Meanwhile, my Aesthetics school has slowly began to integrate us back into physical classrooms, with some restrictions, and with sporadic online classes. Although I do love Beauty School, I have discovered a passion for law and justice, so I spent some time reaching out to various law schools across Canada, and decided to register for the LSAT (also known as the law school entrance exam), which I will write in April.

I would say that August was a month of exploration. I did some road trips to waterfalls all over Quebec, from Rawdon to Roxton, and finished up with visiting the whales in Tadoussac!

I posted even more pictures of my adventures on my instagram, @katherineleblanc_

I also moved in to a new condo in my beloved West Island (a neigbourhood in Montreal) so I have plenty to keep me occupied while on my journey to  Miss Canada!

Katherine,

Miss Montreal

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As women, we are taught to put ourselves last. I have no doubt that’s a major reason why I got cancer three times.

In a money-driven, capitalist society; we are taught that our productivity is the most important part of us. We are taught that it’s selfish to literally just take care of yourself. However; self-care is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.

I competed in a bikini fitness competition. This fitness competition was a way for me to prove to myself that I’m no longer a victim to my health outcomes. I’m choosing to do everything in my power to not get cancer again. Because I’m a rebel that can take ownership of my own life. Because I’m not a cancer victim. Because I have the capacity to build my health and immunity.

To build up my health, I needed to get uncomfortably real… with myself. Little did I know, I would need to completely and apologetically put myself first. I would need to drop obligations that no longer served me. I would need to disappoint others. And, I would need to detox myself so completely from the idea that working out and eating well, especially as a woman, is vain and selfish. I had never truly put myself first in such a profound and real way.

My challenge to you: how will you incorporate 5 minutes of movement into your day today? Small, sustainable, micro-habit changes over a long period of time are what will change your life.

What sort of movement sparks joy in you? Dancing? Running? Playing with your dog?  Swimming? Jogging on the spot while you make dinner? What is feasible and easy to act on?

Instead of setting lofty, unreasonable goals all at once, it’s better to set yourself up for success with smaller goals that will sustain.

With love,

Julie MacInnes

Miss World Gatineau

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Hello from Julie!

It’s a pleasure to introduce myself to you all. I’m a three-time cancer survivor, lover of the outdoors, a political trailblazer, an ally and advocate for marginalized folks, and an animal lover. I’m excited to tell you a little more about me:

I’ve fought, and won, two battles against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and then against thyroid cancer. I’ve learned invaluable lessons throughout these experiences. Life is incredibly short, but can be wildly beautiful and unimaginably meaningful if you live with: kindness, gratitude, and listen to your heart.

My passion and path have always been politics. To get real, sustaining change in our country and world, we need laws that catch up to our values. I studied in the male-dominated field of International Economics, graduating with Magna Cum Laude and the Dean’s Excellence Award.

I worked on political campaigns at all levels, including on MP Joyce Murray’s federal Liberal leadership campaign. I have volunteered on many political campaigns to help get more women into political office. It is impossible for women to get ahead if we don’t lift each other up.

In my spare time, I love to hang out with my rescue dog Theodore and practise parkour. Mediation and dance keep me grounded. You’ll likely find me rock climbing or kayaking in my spare time. I dream of one day living in the forest, right on the water.

Currently, I work for the government at Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. I am part of the Government of Canada’s Treaties and Aboriginal Government team, to forge a new chapter in our history. A chapter of listening deeply to the concerns and injustices that face Indigenous, Inuit, and Métis people, and making changes to pave a more harmonious future.

I’ve helped pass the most substantial pieces of animal welfare legislation in Canadian history, including a ban on the shark fin trade, banning the captivity of whales and dolphins, and a ban on the trophy hunting of grizzly bears in British Columbia. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to do this amazing work alongside incredible animal advocates and with the Humane Society International/Canada team.

I am grateful to represent Gatineau and Quebec in the upcoming Miss World Canada pageant! I look forward to connecting with more of you. I am humbled and honoured.

As my journey continues, follow me on Instagram @JulieMacInnes1. And, if you would like to support my fundraiser for Children’s Wish Foundation, please go here!

Much love,

Julie MacInnes
Miss World Gatineau

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While the world is standing up to defend the lives of black men, I implore everyone to remember that black and indigenous women are at an even greater risk of violence than their male counterparts, including in their own households.

“The rapid spread of coronavirus/COVID-19 has created an unprecedented humanitarian crisis around the world. As with most disasters, women and girls are likely to be disproportionately affected. The outbreak presents huge challenges for shelters in terms of safety and training for staff, protection of clients, measures to contain an outbreak within a facility, helping staff work remotely while still supporting victims, and ensuring adequate resources are in place. In addition, as families are encouraged or forced to stay at home, women and children who are vulnerable to domestic abuse will be at greater risk.”

source: https://www.homelesshub.ca/resource/coronavirus-and-womens-shelters-planning-preparation-and-response-covid-19-pandemic%C2%A0

With this in mind, I managed to fundraise enough to purchase 100 face masks and 2 bottles of hand sanitizer for the ladies at the Chez Doris women’s shelter in Montreal!

It’s better to purchase face masks when donating, because homemade masks are not good quality enough for use in commercial settings, although they are fine for personal use when running errands.

If you have PPE to spare, this website https://en.donnezlaprotection.com/ will match make you with those who are in the greatest need, so that you don’t have to figure out for yourself where to donate!

Katherine, Miss Montreal

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As lockdown restrictions ease here in Montreal, we must remember who has been hardest hit by COVID: the elderly. Two-thirds of Quebec’s coronavirus deaths have been in senior’s homes and long-term care centres. Our province’s seniors feel scared and alone. I am going to be personally writing a letter to as many care homes as I can in Montreal.

I want our senior citizens to know that they are loved, that people care, and they are not alone. I encourage all my followers and friends to do the same. While we have spent quarantine snacking and complaining about hair cuts, the elderly have been scared for their lives.

Look up a private senior residence (RPA) or nursing home (CHSLD) in your area, and send them a simple letter to put a smile on their face! Let’s do this!

I am crestfallen that I didn’t think of this idea before, during the thick of things, but there is a Chinese proverb that says, “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the 2nd best time is now.”

88 smiles ready to be delivered today!

Katherine,

Miss Montreal

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COVID-19 has devastated the developing nations of our world. According to the United Nations Development Programme, “Income losses are expected to exceed $220 billion in developing countries. With an estimated 55 per cent of the global population having no access to social protection, these losses will reverberate across societies, impacting education, human rights and, in the most severe cases, basic food security and nutrition.”

I have been using the website freerice.com on and off throughout my life, it is a very fun way to spend time while at home, learn about new subjects, and feed our fellow human beings who need our help.

FreeRice is ad-supported (so make sure to turn off your ad blocker!) and free to play, both on the web and on their mobile app. It allows players to donate rice to families in need by playing a multiple-choice quiz game. You can choose your category, such as Vocabulary, Geography, Humanities, Language, Math, Science, and even a new Coronavirus category, where you can learn more about the disease. You will be asked multiple choice questions (you can adjust the difficulty level) and for each question you answer correctly, 10 grains of rice are donated via the World Food Programme!

www.freerice.com

From Katherine Leblanc,  Miss Montreal

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While I was driving around today enjoying the sun, I heard on the radio that it was international nurses day! I decided to pull over and pick up 10 large pizzas to distribute to nurses at different Montreal hospitals. Since it was a spontaneous thing, I did not have a chance to pick up gloves or a mask. We did however respect social distancing, I did not enter the hospitals themselves, nor did I stay long.

They were all so sweet and so excited to take pictures with Miss Montreal haha, when I was the one who was honoured to meet THEM. Nobody even knew that there was a Miss Montreal, beauty pageants don’t really exist in Quebec, which I definitely want to change because pageantry is amazing!

Thank you to all the nurses who are putting their lives at risk during this pandemic, all for their love of humanity and their selfless need to help others. Nurses are our heroes, especially here in Montreal where 55% of Canadian COVID19 cases are.

Katherine Leblanc, Miss Montreal

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The brave workers at my local pharmacy put themselves in danger everyday to serve my community; to make sure we can still have access to our medications, toiletries and household items. So I made care packages for them, with lots of candies, lotion, lip balm, scented tea lights (vanilla, of course!) and messages of hope and thanks!

I am not the only one with this sentiment, messages of gratitude have appeared all over Montreal.

For our heroes.

Katherine Leblanc, Miss Montreal

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Before the world came to a halt, self-love and self-care was usually something that people sacrificed in order to focus more on earning money or taking care of people who depend on them. But one silver lining of this quarantine is that now society as a whole can assess and re-evaluate how they want to live their lives and treat themselves.

So I am taking the initiative to share with all my blog followers 5 great self-care exercises!

Tip 1: Writing Lines & Face Mask!

Writing lines is a very soothing technique where you write a positive affirmation again and again until you simply don’t feel like writing anymore. Lately I’ve been writing “everything always works out in my favour” to remind myself that even if things may not work out the way I’d hoped, it will all still for the best in the end.

Tip 2: EFT Tapping

Tapping therapy is based on Chinese medicine, where acupuncture uses needles to apply pressure to pressure points in the face. EFT Tapping instead uses fingertip tapping on these pressure points in order to relieve anxiety and stress. I made a video on instagram demonstrating! @katherine.missmontreal2020

Tip 3: Focus Wheel

You write something that you want to be true (I chose “I am an amazing fundraiser”) in the centre of the wheel, then write down a true statement about yourself/your life in each slot that proves the statement that you wrote is already true!

Tip 4: Revision

At the end of each day, review it. Every interaction, every event, every meeting! Now, for any part of your day that you wish would have been different, simply imagine that your preferred outcome is what really happened instead. If your boss said something that discouraged you, imagine instead that he said everything you would have wanted to hear. Doesn’t that feel much better? 🙂 The things that we imagine, the way that we feel, whether we call it our “energy” or “vibe” affects what you attract in the outside world. Visualize success!

Tip 5: Just have fun with new makeup looks!

I never really wear much makeup, so I decided to express self-love by using my creativity to create looks with makeup. Just have fun! It all washes off, anyways 🙂

Your Loving Rose,

Katherine Leblanc, Miss Montreal

 

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I was browsing the web today, as I have been doing so much during quarantine, and one user on a discussion board that I visit had made a post that made the tired, played-out claim: “Prostitution Should Be Legal”.

His points were as follows: the government shouldn’t tell people what to do with their bodies, the women enjoy it, legalization would protect sex workers from pimps/bad clients, and prostitution is a valid profession.

My mission is to eradicate human trafficking in Canada, forever. Sometimes people assume that I am supportive of prostitution as long as it’s not forced, but I am here to tell you that ALL prostitution is forced.

I will dismantle each myth about legalization one by one.

First Myth Busted: “the government shouldn’t tell people what to do with their bodies”. Where do we draw the line? We don’t allow people to rent themselves out as human punching bags, we don’t allow people to sell their organs, we don’t allow people to sell themselves into slavery. All of those examples including prostitution are violations with extensive power differentials. I can reluctantly agree to get beat up in exchange for not being homeless. Is it not assault?

Economic coercion is still coercion. If a woman has no other option to support herself and/or her kids other than “consenting” to sex with somebody she does not want to have sex with, that is not consent at all. Prostitution is assault under the guise of a financial transaction; the money received after the act is merely reparations for the assault that just occurred.

2nd Myth Busted: “The women enjoy it”. There is no woman who exists, who has ever existed, who enjoys being penetrated by a multitude of strangers each night, for free or for pay. If women enjoy this so much, then why is there not also a huge market of boys and men being sold for women’s consumption? The only way for prostitutes to find clients at all is by pretending to like it; the realities prostitutes experience are omitted from their advertising. No one’s going to get interest from clients if they honestly detail things like single motherhood, chronic illness, precarious social housing, insecure immigration status, an abusive childhood or drug addiction.

3rd Myth Busted: “Legalization would protect prostitutes from pimps and bad clients” There is no such thing as a “good” client. Regardless of how respectful and non-violent a client is, the point is that the prostitute does not want to have sex with him. This idea of prostitutes celebrating legalization, skipping in the street because they are so happy to be able to openly have sex with strangers many times a night is a complete fantasy. They want a real way out. There is no prostitute who would not immediately leave for similar pay if given the choice. A 2003 study first published in the scientific Journal of Trauma Practice found that 89 percent of women in prostitution in the USA want to escape it.

People make the argument that nobody wants to work anyways, that a janitor does not want to clean toilets, but the difference is that the janitor’s body autonomy is not being violated. When a janitor is having a bad day and doesn’t want to go to work but needs to to make ends meet, going to work is a drag and he might have to clean up some vile messes, only some of which he’ll even remember. A prostitute in the same predicament is being raped repeatedly because she can’t afford not to be. Those are lifelong scars.

Legalization of prostitution would also legalize pimping. Suddenly, pimps are simply “managers”. It creates a safe haven for criminals who traffic people into prostitution.

4th Myth Busted: “Prostitution is a valid profession just like any other job.” I would invite anybody who holds this sentiment to advise their daughters to become prostitutes, or tell their wives to pick up a shift at the now-legal local brothel when the family is tight for cash. Make no mistake, people only say this when the women who are affected are women that they don’t care about. Should we allow brothels to attend high-school career days? Why not, it’s just honest physical work like anything else, right? Should we give training to young girls on the most pleasurable techniques? After all, young girls are the most in-demand, so this would just be good business. Saying this is just a job is describing very breezily the reality of having sex multiple times a night by men that nobody else wants to have sex with. People argue that it is a free choice but the people with the fewest choices are the ones who end up having to do it. 

In Conclusion: If the government approves turning women’s bodies into a product and that selling sex is the same thing as selling any commodity, you are telling men that they are entitled to sex no matter how the woman feels about it, and it is their right to receive it. It sends the message that sex isn’t a big deal for women, and if a woman says no, she is only doing it to spite you. Male on female rape levels in Canada are already staggeringly high. You cannot tell men that have grown up with women being for sale like meat in the market that they should totally respect it when a woman says no because she doesn’t feel attraction. If the government says that women can get penetrated by dozens of strange men every day and it would be an absolutely normal working day, then why is that particular woman saying “NO” to ME?! It also supports the practice that men do not have to be appealing people in order to get sex, it doesn’t matter how lecherous, misogynistic, or unhygienic he is, he can simply pay for a prostitute.

Prostitution is everywhere. The solution is not to put a government stamp of approval on this violation of human rights. The solution is more access to education and jobs for girls, elevate the status of women in society, and send out messages from the media of self-esteem and self-love. 

Consent is not for sale.

From Your Strong Rose,

Katherine Leblanc, Miss Montreal

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