When thinking about my experience with the Miss BC, I don’t even now where to begin. An experience like the one I had last weekend was beyond words, and while that may sound dramatic, it’s true.
As soon as you arrived for check-in early Saturday morning, you could feel the energy in the room. Nervousness, excitement, competition, and so, so much gratitude. The one thing you could feel we all had was gratitude for being there, a place to share what we are passionate about.
Miss BC is unique for many reasons, one of which being that instead of jumping right into rehearsal or the Titleholder’s Panel, you get to know each other’s hearts. The first thing we did was got in a circle, said our “hello”s and “nice to meet you”s with the person next to us, then completely shared the most vulnerable parts of ourselves, telling the stories that were truly ours and not just what we just presented to the world. Despite only having talked personally to the women to my right and left, by the end of the circle, I felt like I had known every last one of them for a lifetime.
After that, we all sat down in the theatre, now feeling like a huge family, to listen to the stories of the women who paved the way for us: the former titleholders. It was so inspiring to hear their stories of what they did with their titles. Some started charities and non-profits of their own, some became inspirational speakers, others went on to bigger pageants, and a few continued organizing the pageants so they can give the women coming in year-to-year an opportunity to grow.
Now, I won’t bore you with all the day’s details since from then on it was mainly rehearsal, with the exception of our Cops For Cancer talent show and our exquisite health and wellness workshop that evening.
The next day when we arrived we were all obviously a lot more calm. We had time that morning to peacefully do our makeup and get dressed in our formal interview-wear before going down to the hotel lobby to eat breakfast together. Something that became especially clear on the second day was how no one cared about age when forming friendships. Despite having an over thirty year age range between our collective groups (the youngest being 13), there was no sense of separation. We all laughed together, cried together, bunked together and learned together as equals. There were even high school teachers both as contestants and admin, joking around with contestants who were current high school students like myself.
The second day brought many cool workshops and things to look forward to. Some of these included our self-defence workshop, interview and public speaking skills, optional interviews with the media, and the oh-so-thought-about private interview with the judges to determine who of the 51 of us would make the top sixteen.
Thankfully, the judges were very kind and you could feel that they genuinely wanted to hear your passions. I didn’t see a single person walk out of the interview room without a smile on their face.
I must say, out of all the amazing workshops we did, my favourite would have to be self defence. Though I may or may not have gotten put in a headlock (both a long story AND my own fault) it was not only informative, but fun! You never realize how much pretending to gauge someone’s eyes out or kick their imaginary balls brings together a friendship. I don’t think I had ever seen a woman more badass or strong in every possible way than our instructor Mitra. She had an ability to make us feel fascinated, entertained, and terrified all at the same time. By the end of it, I felt like a whole new person, and knew I was leaving the weekend with the knowledge and skills that I needed to be safe in our crazy world.
The night of day 2 we had the most delicious catered meal! We went out into the field outside the theatre and ate in the sunshine which was amazing after being inside all day. The meals were a really important time during the three days because you got to talk about your lives freely. We would share stories and discuss what led us to the pageant and what we plan to do if (or even if we don’t) win a crown.
That was one of the other things to have at Miss BC; a platform. Going into it I knew the biggest thing I wanted to discuss was body positivity and lack thereof in beauty culture. Before entering I had known I wanted to do more charity work and volunteering, I just didn’t know how. I knew that if I won a title I would have access to many resources as well as all the amazing mentors from the pageant.
Day 3 brought rehearsals, rehearsals, and more rehearsals. Not that I’m complaining at all, we felt insanely prepared and therefore much more calm for the actual show that night. We had a nice lengthy getting-ready time and many took advantage of the hair stylists and makeup artists they provided for a donation. Considering that I have short hair I didn’t really need a stylist and I did my own makeup so I could do it exactly how I wanted (which was, big surprise, colourful). During that time frame you ate lunch and talked to the press if you so chose, as well as the filmmakers who were making the documentary about the pageant. I hadn’t planned to be interviewed for either as I didn’t have a speech prepared. As I was doing my makeup a woman came into the green room and asked to interview me. I was confused as I hadn’t signed up but she proceeded to tell me that she had read my bio in our press releases and wanted to talk to me. That was very special for me as it was a confirmation that whether I would walk out with a title or not, my voice was still being heard.
Four hours, three touch-ups, two interviews, and one dress rehearsal later, it was show time. I must say, being backstage at a pageant is a very different to any other kind of show I had been in before. The energy was unique, you could feel the love and support, but you felt some nervousness as well, we knew how much was on the line. According to audience members I had talked to, the show was long, but from backstage nothing could have felt shorter. In the time you are not doing your multiple costume changes you are going over your next performance in your head (intro, walk, routine, etc…) or trying to distract yourself by talking to friends. After someone exited there would be a room of people silently clapping for you and telling you how well you did, that’s just the kind of environment it was. After the walk, sponsor intro, sports presentation and dance number, then came the ceremony in which they announce the top finalists. This year there were sixteen. After fourteen were called, I am honoured to say I was called up as number fifteen (there was no particular order, so much suspense!). I will never know what backstage looked like after the finalists were called, as the sixteen of us were told to stay in a particular area while the others left. However, I had been told that as soon as they got backstage, they assembled chairs in a circle and went around telling each other what they appreciated about one another. I wish I had seen it, however I then had a very exciting job. I had to do my final onstage interview.
This year we got to write our own interview questions so we could talk about our platform as much as possible, so naturally mine was about plus-size representation in the media. With the exception of a couple awkward pauses or fast words, I actually did pretty well and finished only slightly overtime.
After the interviews and a slight intermission, then came the crowning ceremony. We were all on the edge of our seats because we knew three of the sixteen of us would get provincial title, and any of the 51 of us could get regional, People’s Choice, or The Miss Congeniality award. After watching others get their various crowns and clapping proudly, they began announcing the regional titleholders. Miss Teen Lower Mainland and Miss Teen BC Interior were both friends of mine so I’m surprised I didn’t completely lose my voice after cheering for them! There was only one regional Miss Teen title left: Miss Teen Greater Vancouver. I knew it was most likely either me or my friend Aria (who ultimately was crowned Miss Teen BC) because we were from the exact same region and were both finalists. As I guess my line spoiled before, they called my name. I was completely in shock so I didn’t know how to react, all I could gather myself to do was to go up there and hug everyone at the front of the stage! After accepting the crown I must admit I walked in the completely wrong direction and I only realized after lots of shouting from the audience (I then went to the right area obviously). I was so honoured to stand there among all the insanely talented, beautiful, passionate women on that stage. With a sash on my shoulder and a crown on my head, I was ready to get the year started.
I have already been discussing various charity ventures with my fellow titleholders (the more, the better!). I can’t wait to use my platform to do good in my city both this year and moving forward. You can all expect A LOT of Miss Teen Greater Vancouver updates and stories from the many exciting things I already have planned for this year.
Well, thank you for reading the longest post I have ever done!
Sincerely, Miss… Teen… Greater… Vancouver??? Yep, still weird to say!