I hope everyone is having a great day! If you have stumbled upon this post you are about to get a glimpse into a bit more about me.

My Roots

So the questions I get asked all the time is, “Where are you from?” or “So.. what’s ur nationality?” I laugh to myself each time because I have come to realize that when you look at me it is really hard to figure out. So let me clear this all up. I am Trinidadian-Guyanese- Canadian. My dad was born in Trinidad and his family is from Trinidad and Guyana. My mom is English, Irish and Scottish. Also in this wonderful mix is Turkish, East Indian, and Nepalese. So I am so lucky to be a mix of the United Kingdom and the Caribbean. I am proud to be mixed. I love how Christmas and Easter and even family gatherings are full of all these traditions and cultural aspects. I am very lucky to have all these ethnicities part of my identity. So when I am asked how my hair is so curly, and how I get so tan, here’s part of my answer. I have the wonderful benefits of being mixed and I get to experience so much uniqueness and beauty of so many cultures. I am proud to be English, I am proud to be West Indian, and I am proud to be Canadian.

Travel

Ever since I was a kid I have been fortunate enough to have the privilege of travelling. My parents always believed that the more us kids saw of the world the better knowledge and understanding we’d have of things growing up. They were definitely right and I couldn’t be more grateful for the places I’ve been to, the cultures I’ve seen, and the experiences I’ve been able to have around our globe. I feel I have a better knowledge of our world once having travelled. I am more grateful for the things I have, and I feel educated about what is going on around us everyday in different parts of the world. Travelling has also given me the opportunity to see all the things that I could possibly do. I now have a wanderlust and such a big desire to see more. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to the Caribbean, around Canada, and all over the United States. I cannot wait to see where my future allows me to travel to, for I have a bucket list of places I wish to go.

Life of an Athlete

From my childhood to now, I was involved in any sport you could think of. As a little, little girl I was a dancer and a gymnast. I competed in Jazz, Hip-Hop, Tap, and Ballet. I even medalled at gymnastics competitions. Growing up a bit I became a lover of lacrosse and Tae Kwon Do. Then once I had run my course with those sports my true passions for being an athlete set in. Competitive swimming and running are what I am truly passionate about. I have swam competitively for 8 years and then moved onto coaching the team. As for running I am a cross-country and track runner. I’ve competed in triathlons and medalled in many cross country races. For track my best races are 200 meter, 400 meter, and 100 meter relay. While doing all this I participated in school sports, badminton, volleyball, and basketball. Being involved in sports is a part of my life I can’t live without. Fitness and competition are big values I have when it comes to athletics. With all this under my belt my passion of teaching young athletes came about.

Teaching Young Athletes

Being active and sporty is one of the main parts and loves that I have in my life. But I have broadened that love even further. I love teaching and training kids to find their passions for sports. I have coached our swim team and taught kids to swim for 3 years. I love how the healthy competition inspires and motivates these kids to pursue athletics. So many kids are passionate about sports and I love being part of their journey with that and being able to guide them and teach them along the way. Along with the swim team I have refereed many volleyball and basketball games, and I will admit I am that annoying cheerleader on the side encouraging these kids through the whole game. I’ve been lucky to participate in many Jump Rope for Heart events being able to motivate these young athletes to their goals. I love being a coach, and a mentor. I hope that I inspire all the little ones I teach to go out and get their goals.

Other Passions

Some other parts of my life that I truly enjoy is the time I spend outside. Ever since I was little I’ve had a long for the outdoors. I love fishing, hiking, quadding, skiing, and archery. I am also a big lover of music. I always have headphones in, or the stereo blasting in my car. I play a few instruments too, I’ve been playing since I can remember. There’s so much more I love to do but I can’t fit it all in here. But I would like to highlight the love I have for my friends, who I view as my family. Spending time with the people who encourage me, and lift me up, and cause me to laugh uncontrollably, is the best ways I can think of to spend my days.

So there you have it, a brief view behind the scenes of me. It’s not everything but it’s some of my favourite parts I like to share. Stay tuned to read more from me, there will be lots!

Be blessed, bright, and brilliant*

Maya, your Miss East Central Alberta 2019

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I was born in Nashville, Tennessee (Yes, I am a country girl) and I moved to Canada with my family when I was 10 years old. All my life, I have always wanted to be a teacher and create a positive impact on everyone around me; from babies to seniors. 

Being a child of an immigrant family from Nigeria with no other blood relatives, I learned that education, working hard, and building a positive family-like relationship with the people around me was very important. Due to this and the relationships I have developed, I am surrounded with many friends and supporters who have formed and shaped who I have become to be today; a strong, yet bubbly, respectful, God-fearing, exemplary woman. 

Education/Career:

Last year in 2018 I graduated from the Mechanical Engineering Technology Program in Red Deer, Alberta. I also graduated from the Early Learning and Child Care Program a few months ago to further my passion for children and become an educator. 

I am currently in the works of opening a Child Development Centre for children of all race, gender, and backgrounds. It will be a place where children will develop strong life-lasting skills that will grow and strengthen a child’s social, physical, intellectual, and emotional skills. 

Why pageantry? 

Competing in the preliminary provincial stage for Miss Alberta World was my first time ever in a pageant and I definitely didn’t go into it with much expectations of winning such a huge title; the capital city of my province, Miss Edmonton World!

Going into the Miss Alberta competition I just went in with an open mind and a heart, ready to receive the experience. Everything I do in life I always give my 110%, and surely this competition was no different. I strongly believe that in order for you to gain the full experience of anything, you have to give it your all! 

I am so excited for the Miss World Canada competition, and excited to experience such an amazing opportunity! My platform as my reign as Miss Edmonton is child development and If I am successful at catching the Miss World Canada crown, I will continue to spread awareness on child development and the importance of this overlooked topic. I also plan on continuing to use my platform as a Public Figure to be a positive light to other young girls and women who may have struggled, or are currently struggling with stepping out of their comfort zone and taking that leap of faith in trying something new! I endeavour to be that extra push they may need in helping them reach their full potential, and purpose in life by being the example of what can come out of being adventurous and trying new things.  

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A big part of the reason that I joined pageantry is that it opens a door for me to be able to get behind some of the causes that are near and dear to me and lend my voice to their message. Aside from my platform: Promoting STEM-based Education, these are some of the causes that also resonate, and I have been working at promoting and help out towards.

Gender Equality

Gender equality is a big, hot button issue these days. Growing up with the adage, “Anything boys can do, girls can do…” has often led me to push boundaries as a young girl, of “why can he do that, and I can’t,” especially when the majority of my friends growing up were boys. I have tried to buck many gender roles, some with great success (thanks to my amazing support system), others not so much. And as I have ventured out on my own in the world, I have noticed that it often takes more than grit and determination to achieve equality. Sometimes, you need a leg up from one of your girl friends when you are your lowest. That’s why through university and to this day, I continue to help with women’s shelters and recovery centres, from helping with clothing drives to assembling toiletries care package, every little bit helps to create the female powerhouses of tomorrow.

LGBTQ+ Rights

I was very blessed to have had a very liberal upbringing. I was taught Love is Love, one is not lesser than the other because of whom you love, and EVERYONE deserves to feel love and be loved. As a result of this upbringing, I have opened my heart, home and family to many amazing individuals, who I call my friends and adopted family, that have otherwise been turned out or criticized for whom they choose to love. Over the years, I have found that my support has evolved from being the non-judgemental friend that has a couch to crash on, an unending supply of hugs, and making us laugh until we have tears streaming down our face; to showing up and speaking at Pride events, to calling politicians for promoting anti-LGBTQ legislation. And through this, I have learned, one level support is not any less important. If you are only comfortable being a person’s support system, then help build them up in every way that you can. If you can lend your voice as an ally, then shout it out, never let them put out your fire.

Animal Welfare

I have always loved animals, I don’t think I can actually pinpoint when I started loving them. Whether it was when I was trying to show the baby calves how to drink from the bottle (at the age of 2), or pushing chickens around in my dolly stroller. All my pets have either been rescues or brought to our home as a part of a “retirement plan” (where they can live out the rest of their days). In fact, when I was growing up, I thought about becoming a veterinarian but changed my mind as I got older as I realized that seeing all those animals at their worst, outweighed all the success stories. That’s why if money was no object, one of the things I would do is run a wildlife rescue. But until that day, I have been planning some projects during my reign to help local animal shelters, including my much-anticipated blanket drive this coming Fall.

Promoting STEM-based Education

Last, but not least is my platform: Promoting STEM-based Education. While at university, I realized that I had learned more than just chemical reactions and anatomy terms. I had learned how to effectively communicate through a variety of mediums, how to build supporting arguments to my statements, and how to view problems from all sides and problem solve through experimentation, and trial and error, to name just a few of the things I learned. After graduating, I discovered that not as many people were given the opportunity to pursue an education in the science, whether they felt they “weren’t smart enough,” didn’t know that the area they were interested in was actually a field of science, or they were discouraged from pursuing sciences in favour of a “more practical” career. And as a result of this shift, and the increase of social media, pseudoscience and false narratives are allowed to spread and misinform many people before its caught (if it is). So that’s where I began my mission, to debunk pseudoscience and show people that science is more than chemistry, biology and math. I started with the science blog, Schrodinger’s Cat, and has evolved into this platform and my Beauty With A Purpose project, that I will be presenting at Miss World Canada.

These are just a few of the causes that I am passionate about. But I find that it is essential to highlight them as they are often overshadowed by my platform. If sure many of my pageant sisters can attest to that. And if you have a cause that you are passionate about, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Talk to some of your local organization that aligns with your passions and ask about how you can get involved. It doesn’t matter how big or small that first step is, as long as it is made.

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How’s everyone’s start of the summer coming along? I hope it’s all going really well. This month was spent mainly about preparing for the pageant in July, finalizing some things for the pageant, my fundraising event and on top of that finalizing the designs and furniture of our new home! Here’s a few of the activities I have done for the month on June.

It started off with me judging a beauty pageant again! This time it is for the titles Mr and Ms Pilipinas (Philippines) Independence 2019! Fun fact: June 12 is the Philippines Independence Day and also the month of June was announced by the Canadian Government, officially the Filipino Heritage month!! It is truly a land of the free! I am proud to be Filipino but I am also very proud to be a Canadian!!

I was also given the privilege to co-host “Handog” (‘offering’ our culture to you) 2019, along side with a pageant sister of mine, Miss Culture Arts 2017, Dianne Razon. It is always a pleasure to host with her, and we got so many positive feedback on how well we hosted for this day. Very fulfilling to do our job right while they enjoy! We also got to do a little runway walk, along with different titleholders, the national costume of the Philippines and long gowns

Here is a modernized National Attire of the Philippines, I wore this when I was emceeing for Handog 2019

The next day, after I emceed and did a little fashion show, I and along with my cultural dance group, have performed with several government officials and guests. Fun fact: I started dancing the Filipino cultural dancing in 2008 and have been doing it ever since, up until to this day. I want to preserve and promote the richness and uniqueness of my background and origin.

Paseo de Iloilo, a courtship dance, inspired from the Spanish Era

Here are some of the youth I teach and dance with! Very fulfilling to pass on what I have already learned, and helping the youth appreciate our origins, and the art of dancing and the meaning of each dances. The dance troupe I am a part of is Binhi ng Lahi Folk Dance Troupe (the seeds of our heritage). We promote not only our heritage but also to build communication skills, leadership skills and public speaking skills among the youth. This is where I began to be more comfortable showcasing myself and my talents and I want the youth to have those skills that I have also acquired.

Binhi ng Lahi Folk Dance Troupe

The Red Tent Canadian Circus Event was back in Calgary. Every year one of the non-profit organization I belong to, which is the Calgary Westwind Lions Club volunteers as the Fire Ambassadors. We are held responsible of emergency exits and in case of a fire we have fire extinguishers with us. The bonus part we get to watch the show!! The show is very unique each year, and the people that were part of the circus puts their lives on the line for these stunts. I am also glad that they did not use or do any animal shows at this event compared to the first year I have volunteered. I am strongly against animal cruelty and encapsulate. And this is living proof that you do not need to “tame” animals in order to have an amazing and enjoyable show!! They had the ring master, that did almost like a Mission Impossible scene! They had a guy wire walking and biking!! There were so many stunts that were showcased and I’m glad no one got hurt, or at least none that I know off. And everyone, kids and adults enjoyed the show!!

Tightrope Biking at the Royal Canadian (Red Tent) Circus Show

The month of June was a very refreshing month to look at as the days are getting warmer and longer. And that also means that the competition is around the corner!! I am honestly getting nervous but also getting excited! For the first half of July is to get things prep and ready to go for the pageant! So please stay tuned for updates by me and the ladies!

PS. I would like to invite you all to come to my fundraising/send off event on July 14th at Southview Community Hall in Calgary, limited tickets will be sold at the reception for $20 with food. I hope you can join me and a few of my supporters, friends and family on this night!! See you all soon!

With much love,

VidaValerieVispo

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“Live life full of laughter and appreciation” – Z

Hello everyone, it’s already July and we’re getting closer to the day of the competition, it’s so exciting!

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Zairah Mae Apolinario but you can call me “Zai” as my full name can be tough to pronounce sometimes. I am a twenty-one year old girl, living in the beautiful city of Calgary. A graduate of practical nursing. I spend most of my free time either working or volunteering in a personality development camp called “Spotlight Courone International”.

“Be the positive change you want to see in the world” – Z

I am a runway model. My career started when I auditioned for a fashion show produced by Spotlight Courone International and Limuel Villela and Alvin Francia discovered me. Since then, I have been in multiple fashion shows both here in Canada and in New York. I always feel humbled walking for designers and wearing their creations, especially when there are special causes behind it. Such as recently during the Canadian Asian Fashion Week, I had the opportunity to wear a piece that was created by Michelle Taras which was auctioned and the money raised was donated to the Sick Kids Foundation. In addition, walking in the runway allowed me to express myself and develop my self-confidence. My biggest achievement thus far in this aspect is the chance to walk in the New York Fashion Week for the Hollywood celebrity designer RC Caylan.

I also volunteer as a mentor to young children and teenagers in a personality development camp. I love sharing my experiences and knowledge to them. Teaching them the basics of modelling in terms of walking, posture and stance. But most importantly, the lesson about developing their own self-confidence. It is a proud moment for me to see them start from nothing, getting frustrated but learning to overcome that. I love seeing them outgrow their own insecurities and witness them shine in their own beautiful way. I feel proud and content.

At twenty one years of age, I am still at that point in my life where I try to figure out what I am supposed to be or be doing. Always having that voice at the back of my head telling me that I’m either “too young to do that..” or “too old to do that..” but living life everyday I have come to realize, it’s not about what you’re supposed to do, rather who you are doing it for, which is yourself. Wake up everyday spreading positivity and happiness, try to make a difference not just for yourself but also for others. Life is compiled of fears and that’s okay, fear is a great teacher–it allows us to discover more about ourselves.

Love,

Zai


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I hope everyone had a safe and happy Canada Day Long Weekend. The rainy weather in Cold Lake resulted in more of an indoor celebration. However, it also allowed me to reflect on everything I have to be grateful for, being a citizen of this amazing country. As a fifth generation Canadian, I often take for granted all the great opportunities that I have been afforded being Canadian. So in this blog post, I thought I would share all that I am grateful for, my Ode to Canada if you wish.

Education

Canadians are very fortunate in that the majority of us can take advantage of having a high school education, and graduating with our grade 12. People in other countries, often only completing up to grade 8, if they can attend school. Education is even more of a luxury for women in other countries. As a woman growing up in Canada, I have not only been allowed to attend public education safely but also I have been able to complete my Bachelor’s degree in Sciences, and plan to one day attain my Master’s. Not once during my academic career, have I been threatened or made to feel like I didn’t belong there. Many other countries don’t allow women to attend any form of education beyond the very basics; be it because of financial reasons (girls are required to go to work to help bring in an income), cultural roles (marrying at young age, having to look after younger siblings, etc.), or legal reasons (it being illegal for girls to attend school). I owe a lot to my education. From how I come to my informed opinions, to how I approach hurdles in my everyday life, I would not have these if it weren’t for Canada’s education system.

Work Experience

So far in my working career, which I’ll be the first say is quite diverse, I have had the opportunity to work in many different fields, many of which would not be considered a traditionally female profession. During university, I worked as a labourer, welder’s helper and pipe fitter’s helper in the Alberta Oil Fields, to help pay for my schooling. Some of that time, I spent living in Camp. I was never evaluated based on my gender, but rather by how hard I worked and if I completed my jobs in a timely manner. If anything, by the end of the summer, many of my male coworkers were like family to me; cheering me on at UBC from the oil fields. After graduating, I began my heavy equipment technician apprenticeship. In both shops that I worked in, I was the only female mechanic there wrenching on the trucks. Not once during the hiring process was I questioned about being a woman. I was just another HET apprentice. My most recent non-traditional role, Assistant Fish Culturist. I was the only female on site at the Hatchery, and many of my tasks were very physical. From packing and placing fishing nets for fish capture, to carrying fish and water in packs up steep hills, to lifting stop gates at the end of the fish ponds. Again, I was treated based on how hard I worked and left at the end of my contract with yet another work family. Many of these jobs, I dove into head first because of my interest in them, I may not have been allowed to even think about pursuing if I lived in another country.

Travel

One luxury that many Canadians enjoy, myself included, is the ability to travel, uninhibited, too many countries around the world. Many countries, Canadians only need to show up with their passport, and we are granted assess. Others, we fill out a form, and we are given a visa to visit. Also, just by being Canadian, in these foreign countries, you are greeted with a special level of hospitality. Almost like you are a long lost relative. In addition to other countries rolling out the welcome mat to Canadians, the majority of us, as Canadians, can afford to travel at some point in our lives due to our strong economy and being paid a higher living wage.

Hobbies

For those that know me, know I grew up being told by my Grandma, “Anything boys can do, girls can do just as well, if not better.” And because of this upbringing, some of my hobbies and activities involved me becoming “one of the boys”. Drag Racing was one of these sports. Since Erica Enders and her sister were the first girls in Jr. Drag Racing, more and more girls have joined the ranks. That being said, it is still only about 40/60 of girls to boys competing in the sport. In fact, living in Canada not only I fortunate to race cars competitively, but being a woman, I have the right to drive a vehicle (some countries do not allow women to hold a driver’s license). In fact, many sports that I enjoy today and grew up participating in, other countries either deter or outright ban women from participating in, including dirt biking, mountain biking, and competitive swimming (a one-piece swimsuit is considered too revealing). Even pageantry is discouraged as it felt to focus too much on Vanity, despite how pageants are so much more.

So, in short, I am incredibly proud and blessed to be a Canadian. Even if some times I take it for granted. We are truly fortunate to live in a beautiful and free country. We, as Canadians, can love whomever we wish; participate in a variety of activities, hobbies and pastimes (lawfully); pursue a variety of careers and ambitions; have a free choice in religion and beliefs. We can travel far and wide, knowing that we have this magnificent home to return to. And wh that I’d like to say, “Happy 152nd Birthday, Canada. Here’s to many more!”


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Canada, home to ten provinces, three territories and a population of 37,279,811 in 2019. We are blessed to live in a country that has such a beautiful cultural mosaic. An incredible part of being a Canadian is being able to learn and experience so many different cultures from all over the world. Even though there is so much diversity in Canada there is one common characteristic we all share. Canadians are kind. I am so honored to call myself a Canadian. Living in Canada I am a witness to how welcoming, compassionate, and kind Canadians are. Kindness isn’t something that is forced upon Canadian citizens, it just instilled into our everyday life. From coast to coast you find people partaking in random acts of kindness, from something as small as holding the door to paying it forward for someone’s Timmies. This kindness isn’t only recognized on a national level but on an international level. Whenever Canadians are traveling internationally, we make sure to always have a Canadain flag on our person. The Canadian flag is a representation of what all Canadians believe in and lives by; equality, respect of others’ cultures, safety and peace are just a few examples of what we stand for as a Nation.   When people see this flag it is an unspoken symbol for everything Canada stands for. I spent my Canada Day long weekend with the Airdrie Pro Rodeo. I would like to thank the City of Airdrie for being so welcoming and kind. The rodeo had contestants from Canada, Mexico, the United States, and Australia. Even though most of these people are only visiting, it was a display of how Canada brings so many people together. I am so blessed to live where I do. I am so excited to bring our Canadian Kindness to an international stage.

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Out of all the sports, hobbies, and interest, why did I choose Pageantry?

To begin with, I joined my first pageant in 2013, I was scouted by one of the directors. At first I did not like the idea of being “judged”, but last minute, after several considerations, and words of encouragement from other people, I decided to join. Not because of what they said, but because I wanted to do it for myself! I wasn’t in the best condition to do so but I still did it!

My very first pageant with my twin brothers

So why?

To boost my self esteem, self confidence and improve my public speaking. This was my starting point. It was more for personality development. Then, meeting people and to be able to call them my pageant sisters! Overtime, my self confidence boosts, as I start doing hosting of different events and judging other pageants as well, as a titleholder.

Judging for the Fantasy Attire at Dominican Republic

There were hurtful words that I have come across being in the work of pageantry. Some were, “She’s not fit to be in a beauty pageant”,”She’s not even that tall/pretty”, “You need to loose more weight that’s why you lost”. These are just some of the hurtful comments I have received since I started this path.

Yes, they were hurtful. Keyword is WERE, past tense. Did I cry when i heard those words? No. I got upset and sad, although I took those comments into something I can improve on, and that is the power of positive thinking. I wasn’t doing it for them, I was doing this for myself.

When those comments have died down, I was in the international stage representing my home country the Philippines in the Dominican Republic. There I came to realize that I was no longer doing it for myself but for those who have believed and supported me along the way. It was a way for me to give back.

Park Clean up was one of the projects I have done

There and then my urge to be of service to others and to be an instrument for humanitarian acts, have boosted. I believed that there is more to it, than just for myself or for my community. I can be of service to a bigger population and for a bigger cause. I am doing this because I know that this is the purpose that I must serve.

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Hi everyone! I hope everyone is having a wonderful day!

One of the causes I hold very close to my heart is Kidney disease. I have been working with the Kidney Foundation since I was nine years old. My cousin and I held our first charity event when we were nine and eight. We set up bake sales at our schools and all of the proceeds raised went towards the Kidney Foundation. To this day I am still very passionate about raising awareness about Kidney Disease.

Everyone has periods in their lives when there are dark skies and thunderstorms. I believe that acknowledging the little things and gestures in life can make these difficult times a little brighter.  Once the sky is a bit clearer, it makes it easier to see the rainbows ahead.

It is my goal to be this person for those who are going through rough patches; to be there for someone and let them know that they are not alone. To achieve this mission, I want to assist and uplift children and youth in my community. To be more specific our sick children. I want to show them that no matter what they are going through there is always a smile looking back at them. To help achieve this goal I have created knitted, stuffed animals in the shape of kidney beans. The smiling faces on the beans are meant to give the children comfort and let them know they always have a friend by their side while receiving IVs or treatments. I have created these beans as a dedication to a very strong and inspirational young lady, my little cousin who has kidney disease.

 I was lucky enough to be invited by the Kidney Foundation of Canada to visit their Sick Kids Camp and handout the beans to the children fighting their battles. It brought me so much joy to see the smiles on their faces and it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever experienced.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Love, Ciara

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Hello Blog!

Arts

I would like to take a moment to tell you all a little bit about myself. I will start with when I was young. When I was three years old, I started dancing. I started with ballet and learning basic technique; like positions and posture. Later on into my dance years, I began learning lyrical, modern, hip-hop, jazz and my favourite, tap. As well as dance, I was always involved in my school(s) choir; I actually attended a Fine Arts elementary school where art and music were a very important part of the curriculum.

I love drawing, dancing and singing and anything to do with fine arts is my thing. Dance and music are a huge part of my life, there are so many songs that have meaningful memories to me. One memory I will always love is having my grandma teach me how to two step in her kitchen, or driving through the mountains with my family on our way to our campsite, there are specific songs that play roles in these memories that will always stay close to my heart.

Travelling

As most people, I love travelling. Exploring the world makes me feel fulfilled and I am extremely lucky to have been able to experience and visit all of the wonderful places I have been to. I have been as far as Europe, as North as North West Territories, down south to Mexico and all over the US. However, I think my favourite trip I have been on was my community trip to Europe where we got to follow the same route that the Canadian soldiers took in both WWI and WWII. While on this trip, I was able to see and fully understand what our soldiers and many others went through during these unfortunate battles. We started our route in Amsterdam, Holland where we were given the opportunity to walk through Anne Frank’s house and then see her infamous diary.

We then traveled to Ypres, Belgium to see the battle fields, and many museums to learn more about our soldiers and the weaponry used in these wars. Later on we traveled south to France, where we visited Vimy Ridge. This day was one of the hardest as many of us could not quite fathom the peaceful serenity while gazing off into the green field which was one a blood soaked war zone. We all prayed and took a moment of silence for all of the soldiers that had perished.

While in Paris, we got to visit the Palace of Versailles and Many other gorgeous tourist locations. Our last stop in France was probably one of the most heartwarming days of my life. On this day, we were taken to Juno Beach, which was one of five beaches of the allied invasion of Germany occupied France during WWII. Juno was a 10 Km stretched of coastline which is now known as the site of D-day. When the Battle of Normandy settled over 5,000 Canadian soldiers had died. After walking through the museum and Canadian trenches, all fifty citizens starred into the ocean to humble ourselves of what we are extremely lucky to have due to our soldiers protecting our freedom.

Our very last stop of our Europe trip was England. While in this beautiful country, we were taken all around London to learn about our Queen and the Royal family. I am tremendously lucky to have been given this opportunity and travel to such a beautiful part of our world. I will always remember what I saw and learned about our soldiers and the horrendous battles of WWI and WWII. It was quite the honour to partake in these travels and I will forever have utmost respect for our Canadian veterans.

Of course, I am still extremely glad to have been to Disney world, Mexico, and other parts of the world, however; my country will always be something I am proud to learn more about and educate people on. All of the great opportunities I have experienced have shaped me into the woman I am today, and I would say travelling plays a large role in this.

Food!

Shrimp tacos in Puerto Morelos, Mexico.
Seafood tower at a lovely restaurant in Keywest Florida .
Chocolate banana crepes in Paris, France.

Gosh. I love food! I have had so many great opportunities to experience amazing cuisine from around our world. I would like to say I am not as picky as my mom says I am… and I really do try as many new things as possible! I also have a wonderful grandma who has made me so many yummy French and Italian dishes! Along with travelling, food is another great way to familiarize yourself with other cultures!

A Belgian waffle in Ypres, Belgium.
A Mickey Mouse cinnamon bun in Magical Kingdom, Florida.

Animals

My dog Mya.
Windy City Canine Rescue – Dog Walk.

My entire life I have been raised around animals and to treat them with respect. I have always had a love for animals and I thank my grandma for this, as she is one of the kindest souls towards wildlife and domestic pets. Ever since I was young I have watched my grandma rescue spiders and flies out of her home to let them go safely outside because,”The bugs are more scared of you than you are of them.” I was always around dogs and cats, fish and farm animals so naturally, I connect with them very easily. I actually have my own dog named Mya and she has become my best friend. After researching Miss World Canada, and finding out that I need a platform to educate and create awareness around, I thought that anything to do with animals is perfect for me. As my love for them grows daily, I am super proud to be the animal advocate I have become.

Meeting a baby bison.
Adoption Day with Archies Angels Rabbit Rescue.

My Family

Growing up in Canada and having the family that I have, makes me one very lucky individual. I have always been very close with my family, and I have great bonds with each member in it. Here is a little bit of history of my family, on my dad’s side, I am English, Italian, French and Austrian. On my mom’s side I am Greek, German, English and Welsh. This means, my ancestry is very European and quite multicultural! And let me tell you… My family is huge. Especially on my dad’s side, our Christmas dinners used to hold as many as 60 guests.Most of my memories are about my family, especially my older brother, Brendan. Brendan is four years older than me, and I was probably the biggest pain in the butt. My brother is one of the most kind and sensitive people I have ever met; he has gone through so much and always has my back with everything I do. I will always look up to my brother and everything he does.

My Grandma (dad’s mom) and my mom are truly my best friends. Everything about my grandma’s house is memories for me, and everyone that has her in their life is so, extremely fortunate. My mom and grandma are two of the hardest working individuals, and strive to make others succeed. I will forever aspire to be the hardworking, loving and caring mother that my mom is for me. I am so lucky to have her in my life to support and encourage me to keep going. I don’t know where the heck I would be without them, especially with this pageant.

My Nono (Dads dad), my Papa (Mom’s dad) and my dad are very hard working men. My Nono was a great coach for his kids and is never absent when Brendan and I had games, competitions or recitals. I was my Nono’s first little girl, and he really stepped up as a father figure in my life and made sure to support me in everything I did. Unfortunately, when I was 11 I lost my Papa to bladder cancer, and I really miss him coming over for coffee and sitting on his lap while we drew on a napkin together. There is no doubt in my mind that my Papa watches over me every day with a smile on his face.  As for my dad, I have always been his little girl, my love of all music and my sense of humour comes from my dad, and I am very thankful to have had his protection and guidance throughout my life. I have many other fantastic family members that have been great role models in my life.

My Achievements and My Struggles

Throughout my life, I have been through really high highs, and really low lows. I have been given so many great opportunities and I have also been shared loss and hardships. Everything in life happens for a reason, and I really stand by that statement. We as humans learn how to overcome obstacles then we rewrite our future. We become stronger with every little bump we hit and I am really grateful to have gone through my hard times, as I would not be as strong as I am today.

Growing up, I really struggled in school. I 100% was not an A+ student… School was a challenge for me and unfortunately, I was picked on for it. This made it extremely hard to want to go to school, especially at such a young age. Individually, we learn differently, and I think this need to be emphasized more in our school systems. Each of us have different methods of learning that complement our success. I credit the hard working, loving teachers that give each student the time and education suited for them. These teachers are what make me want to teach the youth and become a successful and caring teacher. Near the end of high school, I really pushed myself to do better and want to be involved in learning. After having a rough school experience, working two jobs and attending choir and dance several days a week, I shaped up and ended up graduating. This is one of my biggest achievements and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of my mom and friends.

Another huge accomplishment of mine, was winning Miss Alberta World 2019. This pageant was something very new to my life and to be very honest, I was shaking in my boots. Before the pageant, I could have never walked into a room and speak into a mic, however I am now able to host events, speak to crowds and I am quite independent. At provincials, I ended up raising $2,900 for Cardiac Kids. This amount may not be much to some, but for someone that has never raised money before, I am proud of myself and cannot wait to see where pageantry is in my future.  I am so happy to have won this title to always look back on.

Everything I do will always be for my family and my loved ones. Every achievement I have made, every award I have been given is all because of my family. I don’t know where I would be without the people in my life and I hope to one day become a successful, hard working woman that can accomplish much more and give back to my community.

Thank you for reading my post! I am so eternally grateful for all of the opportunities and people in my life. I am so excited to see where my future goes, and all of the things that I will continue to learn and experience. I hope you enjoyed this post! Please, feel free to keep following me on my Miss World journey. Thank you all. (P.S, I apologize for the odd placement of the photos… I am still learning how to use this blog so please bare with me)

Written by: Ashton
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Posted On: Categories:Miss World Canada