The fourth day was quite physical. We started the day by rehearsing the swimsuit choreography for the final show. I’m not exactly a dancer and neither are most girls but Shawn Cuffie, our teacher, knows that of course. The choreography is quite easy to execute for that reason but beautiful nonetheless.

The day ended with the fitness test. My arms are still very sore from that since I managed to do 45 push-ups. I did not win the challenge in my group but I was close.

My interview happened on the fifth day and it was a great way to show the judges who I am as a person and let them see my personality up close. The questions were fun and it felt like a natural conversation. They really make you feel very comfortable and that helps when it’s time to show your true colours. Speaking of colour, you guys need to see my outfit! Scarlet red is a whole mood and apparently, it’s also my colour.

Right after the interview came the bikini photoshoot. Woohoo! I love being in front of the camera as much as I love being behind it. Prelims happened as soon as I came back downstairs: everything goes fast when the show is on so you gotta hurry up and stay focused! My bikini and gown walks went fine. You gotta enjoy the moment and take your time, that’s all. I felt very elegant in my dress for the evening gown walk. As for the dress that I wore for the fashion show right after (did I mention we did a million things that day?) – I felt very sexy and confident. It gave me all kinds of old Hollywood glam vibes.

Today is day six and all I have to say is that my feet are RAW my friends, from all the rehearsals. We danced and practiced an entire choreography with all the girls and our amazing (and very funny) choreographer Hollywood Jade. My feet might not agree with me right now but this is all going to be worth it because tomorrow night’s show is going to be absolutely AMAZING. I just know it. My pinkie toe doesn’t but he’ll get over it.

Stay tuned for tomorrow! We’ll finally find out who our next Miss World Canada is going to be.

Love,

Abril
Miss Trois-Rivières

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Hi there! Abril here! Here’s a little story about a girl who had a great start of her week at her first pageant!

My first day started quite early as I had to drive all the way to Toronto from Montreal alongside Miss Montreal herself, the beautiful Katherine Rose. We both talked often before the pageant and decided to carpool (always carpool if you can – the ozone layer says thanks). We both bonded as we drove to this mesmerizing place people call « The Six » (interesting nickname).

It was fascinating seeing the girls in person for the first time as we arrived to the hotel. So many beautiful faces we only new virtually were now attached to a voice and a personality.

Our first meeting with Michelle and the other girls was through Zoom as we couldn’t all be together in the same room at the same time because, you know, Covid-19 is a thing. Safety first! That’s something I truely appreciate – the fact that safety measures were taken and respected by everyone. We’re all in this together after all. That has been the spirit of this competition all week so far. Everyone is kind and I can feel that there’s a strong sentiment of unity between all of us. It does not even feel like we’re competing with eachother. Sisterhood is the word that comes to mind if I had to describe this entire experience in one word.

On the second day we had a photoshoot with Erwin Loewen and I have to say that I am absolutely in love with my headshot (not to sound narcissistic or anything, you know what I’m saying?). Our Beauty With a Purpose videoshoot was done right afterwards and for some reason I struggled a little bit with that one (ironically- I’m an actor and I’m supposed to he good at this right?). It’s probably because I tend to be a perfectionist and that can ruin things sometimes. It’s important to keep in mind that things always seem worse to us than they actually are and we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves. Chin up champion!

On our third day we had the opportunity to talk a bit about our Beauty With a Purpose project with our host an previous Mister World Canada, the very charming Frankie Cena. It was a bit nerve-wracking at first because English is my third language and it’s not a language I get to speak on a daily basis since my hometown in mainly francophone. But I think I did well and my message got across. My platform is quite personal so it was easy to explain why I care about it so much. I have to thank Jessica Rabbit for being my inspiration for my BWAP interview look.

Stay tuned for day 4, 5 and 6! More pretty pictures and little anecdotes to come.

Xoxo

Gossip Girl

(Just kidding)

Love,

Abril
Miss Trois-Rivières

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The past couple of days have been a blur of dance routines! Our amazing and sassy choreographers Hollywood Jade of Canada’s Drag Race and Shawn Cuffie made us #werk for the opening number and swimsuit dances.

I also had my interview with the judges. I could have done better. I tend to get so wrapped up in my platform because that was the big reason that I entered Miss World, that I forget all the other parts of me that make me, me. I spoke a lot about my struggles, yes, but I didn’t mention how I’ve traveled to so many different countries, how I love to meditate, how I enjoy reading Tarot cards, and everything else that I’ve accomplished in my life. This pageant has helped me realize that there’s so much more to me than what I’ve been through.

I’m really glad that I understand that now.

Katherine, Miss Montreal

@katherineleblanc_

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Head to Head is a challenge unique to Miss World; where each delegate goes “head to head” with each other to test our speaking skills; and each gets a chance to introduce her platform and answer an on-the-spot question! Our host was Frankie Cena @frankiecena, Mr World Canada 2012, who does amazing song covers on his Youtube channel. He made me feel so comfortable; it was like conversing with a friend 🙂

All us girls were then treated to a delicious taco lunch, courtesy of @taco_kit_toronto, which is open for delivery every Tuesday (yes that is done purposely…you gotta have #TacoTuesday!)

Day Four was swimsuit rehearsals all day with our amazing choreographer, but I did get a little sad today knowing that the week is drawing to a close and soon I will be back home. I’ve had such a good time here and have been treated so well, I just wish it was longer!

After rehearsals was our fitness challenge, I’m not exactly an Olympian but I did my best haha!

Katherine, Miss Montreal

@katherineleblanc_

 

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I left Montreal at 9am and drove to Toronto for the Miss World Canada pageant! Once I made it to the hotel, I was so excited to meet everyone but even more excited to meet my bed after the 6 hour drive! So not much to say about day one, except that I was very impressed with how well the organization is handling social distancing; our orientation meeting was done through Zoom in our hotel rooms.

Day Two was exhilerating. First, I was treated to a photoshoot with with @erwinloewen and followed by another with @genesis_multimedia, who also filmed our Beauty With A Purpose introduction video!

It’s just so wonderful to be surrounded by good, lovely people. Thank you Miss World Canada for this incredible opportunity!

Katherine, Miss Montreal

@katherineleblanc_

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If someone had told me two years ago that I would be participating in a pageant, I probably wouldn’t have believed them. Yet here we are, and I’m loving the experience so far. Growing up I was someone who subconsciously had a bad (and very uninformed) opinion about pageants. I loved watching the shows and I admired the elegance and poise these women displayed, but I was taught by the media that pageants were something for superficial and dumb girls. Let me tell you this: it is absolutely not the case and very much the opposite actually. My views completely changed when a friend of mine entered a pageant; that’s when I actually started paying attention to the girls who were participating and what they stood for. These women are absolutely incredible and so inspiring. The things they accomplish and the awareness they bring on their communities’ issues is something that really moved me. It goes way beyond walking around in a pretty dress. It’s about celebrating femininity and the strenght and determination a girl can have when she decides to change the world around her.

As soon as I started to contemplate the idea of participating in a pageant another moment of truth hit me. Pageants were not something new for me… they were something very personal that goes back way before me. My own great grand-mother was a pageant winner! And my aunt… and also a few of my cousins. They were and they are intelligent and fascinating women. How did I not see this before? It’s not even something I’ll be the first to do: it’s a family thing. That’s how it dawned on me that l really belonged in this kind of event. I love being a woman and this is a fun and humanitarian way of celebrating that.

This week I’ll be representing Quebec and the city of Trois-Rivières at the Miss World Canada pageant and I’m really excited about it. This experience made me question myself on what it is that I really care about and it inspired me to help my community in ways I never thought about before. I am now collaborating with my city’s newcomers centre (SANA) and bringing awareness on the immigrant cause. Looking back and realizing that my own personal experience as an immigrant could be useful pushed me towards wanting to help those in a similar situation and wanting to make someone’s life easier the same way someone did for me back when I was a very confused six-year-old kid in a new country. It made me realize how important it is to give back.

Life is a cycle, and sometimes we realize it in the most unexpected ways. So bring on the sequins!

With love,

Abril Closs
Miss Trois-Rivières

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Hi there!

I’m Abril and this is going be my first pageant experience ever! I am so excited and looking forward to it, I can’t even begin to describe the feeling. I’m from the city of Trois-Rivières and I spent most of my teenage years up until now in this wholesome town. It’s Quebec’s third biggest city and although it often seems like not much goes on here, I can tell you that this place is full of life and full of dreams. Having the privilege of representing it on a national scale is a true honor.

I was born in Argentina and moved to Montreal at the age of six. I learned both languages pretty quickly and I felt like a true Canadian before I even had time to say « poutine ».

I realized when I was in the fifth grade that I wanted to become an actor, but it took me a long time before I came to accept what I wanted deep down. I thought I wasn’t good enough and pretty enough to be in a profession where you’re being showcased to the entire world. Once I gratuated high-school I went to drama school and I became a complete different person. I met other artists and people that I could relate to and I became this confident and proud version of Abril that I was afraid of being as a young teen. I now embrace every desire and thought of becoming an accomplished artist.

I also discovered a passion for fashion, photography and marketing during my time in college. My mom is an amazing crochet artist and we decided to collaborate together by putting our indivual talents and interests together. That’s how our crochet brand came to be. We now dedicate a part of our time at selling handmade crochet pieces online. This experience with online sales and artisan work drew me towards a new interest, which is e-commerce. I want to develop a clothing brand of slow, ethical and sustainable fashion but I want it to be on a large scale. I believe ethical and profitable are not mutually exclusive aspects. It’s perfectly possible to create something good for the planet and also make it into a profitable company. Once I am experienced enough in this field, my goal is to teach other women how to do it as well. E-commerce is a male-dominated field and that is about to change. I don’t know who was the first one to say « the future is female » but I know that it’s true and that it very much applies to online commerce.

Now that you know a bit more about me, I hope you’ll stay tuned for the competition and enjoy the show as much as us girls will! This is going to be an amazing life experience and I can’t wait to meet my pageant sisters.

Much love,

Abril

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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.

Yours With Conviction,

Katherine Leblanc, Miss Montreal

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