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!