Last weekend, I had the honour of walking in the West Edmonton Mall Spring/ Summer Fashion Show !!  The show was hosted by the one and onlyCanadian fashion icon Jeanne Beker and featured brands such as Michael Kors, DKNY, Harry Rosen, Kate Spade and Club Monaco. But that’s not all !! This fashion was more than just about showcasing the Spring and Summer Collections of luxury brands. West Edmonton Mall has partnered with United Way of Alberta Capital Region and donated the proceeds from the inaugural fashion event to All in for Youth Program.

 

All in for Youth Program is one of a kind initiative started by United Way in Edmonton. The program provides resources and services to help children and youth successfully finish their high school education. The program strongly believes  ‘Education is the foundation for a bright future.” Sound familiar ?? As Miss Northern Alberta World, I have been actively advocating about the importance of education and how we can use to create a safe & successful future. So I was ABSOLUTELY THRILLED when my modelling agency informed me about this amazing initiative that resonates so well with my platform !!

After attending the Stollery Kids event, I drove to WEM for the fashion show. They asked us to come in early so we can practice our walk on the ramp. One thing I absolutely love about fashion shows is I get to meet new people and make new friends. I met a model named Dylan and we both went on an adventure trying to figure out where to go and what to do ! We spoke about each backgrounds and became well acquainted with each other. I went straight to make-up and hair after the rehearsals. I was walking for Club Monaco; they styled me in a denim ruffled shirt with a beautiful white skirt. The whole outfit came close to a grand so I had to be very cautious throughout the day.  For those of you who know me personally are aware that it is very hard for me to keep my clothes clean as I am a walking hazard (the six inch heels made it a whole lot harder)!

The show was split into two parts with a special guest appearance from the First Lady of Edmonton Sarah Chan. Mrs. Chan has been working very closely with United Way as the Co-chair. She has been giving a series of presentations in schools that educate local youth about the issues in Edmonton. At the fashion show,  she spoke about the role youth have to play in abolishing poverty within the city and around the world. During her speech, she stressed the importance of creating an environment where children can build skills and work ethic for academic success.

The fashion show was HUGE success !! The event raised $ 10,000 for the United Way – All in Youth program. The raised funds will be distributed to various initiatives that help remove barriers to learning and provide resources necessary to students to graduate high school.

It was an absolute honour to be part of a fashion show with such a great initiative ! Often the modelling and fashion industry is seen as shallow and . The West Edmonton Mall Fashion Show is just one example of how beauty can be used to fight for a noble cause. A special thank you to my agency for informing me about this wonderful opportunity. I had so much fun wearing beautiful clothes by Club Monaco while helping raise money for a cause that is so dear to my heart.

Yours truly,

Sravya

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As you guys know I had a FUNtastic time presenting to the kids at the West Club of Big Brothers & Big Sisters. The response I had at the  West Club motivated me to contact others Boys & Girls Clubs in Edmonton area. So I got in touch with Tori from the Tweedle Club and expressed my interest of coming to the club and speaking to the kids about the importance of education. Tori was so excited and helped me arrange a time to meet with the kids.

After my work, I headed to the Tweedle Club on a very sunny evening. I was greeted by a magician in training at the entrance. Wendy (12 years old)  asked me to pick a card and put it back in the stack. Couple seconds later she pulled out a card from the deck and asked me if this was the card I picked out earlier. She was off to a great start as it was in fact the card I pulled out from the deck !!

I went inside and the kids were waiting for me in the presentation room. All the girls were so excited to see the crown and the sash. Naturally, the questions started pouring in. “ Where did you get the crown?” “Is it real jewels” Can I try it on.” I assured them that I will answer all their questions very soon.

As always, I started with an introduction of myself. I told them about my journey to India > Edmonton > Fort McMurray and back to Edmonton. I than explained them about Miss World Canada and why I  choose to participate in this prestigious pageant. Prior to this, I asked the children what comes to their mind when they first think about beauty pageants. I heard comments like “very girly”  “competitive” “beautiful women” etc.

I explained to them that while everything that they said is true, pageants are about more than just about beautiful women. I explained them that “unlike many other pageants, Miss World Canada introduces women who are smart, compassionate and great role models to the youth today.” “I choose to be part of the pageant as I wanted to be the next role model to my peers and inspire them to be a better version of themselves.” I informed them about the pageants focus to bringing positive change to the world, especially through their Beauty With A Purpose initiative. In fact “that’s the reason why I am here today” – I told them.

I spoke to the children about my platform and how its focused on “encouraging the youth, the leaders of tomorrow, to make the best of what we have so that in turn we ensure such opportunities are available to women across the world.”

Living in  Canada, we have access to one of the most prestigious education systems in the world with little to no cost. A tool so powerful that it can lift 115 million people out of poverty just by having Grade 7 education. Can you imagine the possibilities if these individuals were to finish high school? Obtain a degree ? PhD? The education system we take for granted is considered a luxury for millions of children around the world. They would give anything and everything to go to school, be part of a sports team, make friends and be on a path to a secure life.

I told the children at Tweedle Club that 57 million children their age will not be able to go to school this year. Their hocked faces said it all! I explained to them how many parents have to choose between which child to send to school and which one to work  long hard days in the fields with them. I explained to them how parents have to choose between which child to feed and which one to starve for the day. A choice that no parent should have to make ! But this is the reality.

One of the girls was especially concerned when I explained to her most of the times families send boys to school rather than a girl as they believe a boy will be more successful. This beautiful and bold young girl had some interesting thoughts about the idea of a girl being treated less than a boy .

“Girls can go to school too cuz they have passion and they are powerful” – Isabella.

 

They were devastated when I explained to the horrible situations the kids their age are in at this very moment. BUT, I told them that there is a solution ! There is a way to bring a smile across a child’s face, there is a way to ensure children their age wont be in a dangerous situation ever AGAIN ! All of their hands shot up, asking the same questions “ what is the solution.”

I told them the solution is “Education.” They asked me how can education help ?

Through education, families can find jobs which ensures financial stability. With a good income, the parents will be able to send their children to school rather than do odd jobs for money. When these kids are educated they will further help their family incomes and contribute to the overall benefits of  a nation.

And so, I explained to the children that we are extremely fortunate to live in a nation where we have access to education. I asked them to work hard in school, get good grades and be on a straight path to success. But thats not all ! I asked them to use all the opportunities that education provides you to help children like yourself. I encouraged them to do everything they possibly can to ensure every child has an equal opportunity to a safe future as we do.

To conclude my presentation, I asked the children to write a few things that they would like to accomplish by the time they are 21. Written words are a powerful tool !! By writing a list, children will make a commitment to themselves and helps them vision their coming years. Here are a few:

  

My day at the Tweedle Club was much more exciting and fulfilling than I hoped for ! With big smiles on their faces, the children bid me good bye.

Sincerely,

Sravya

 

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“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela

I truly stand by this quote ! Education truly is THE most efficient and effective tool that can bring positive change to the world. Education opens many doors to a safe & successful future not only for ourselves but also for the overall benefits of a nation.

To advocate this message across the youth in Edmonton, I contacted the coordinator of the Boys & Girls Club, Susan Beckett. I informed her that I would like to come in and speak to the kids at the club about empowering youth through education. She was so welcoming and so very excited about this presentation !

I was greeted with kids screaming “look its a princess,” “why is she coming here.” It was quite a hassle getting them into a room and seating them down ! They were so full of energy ! The presentation started with an introduction about myself and my educational background. Questions have already started to come in ! “Why are you wearing a crown” , ” are you a princess” , “can I wear your crown.” I soon began to explain them about the pageant, my title and why I choose to participate in it.

I started by explaining to the kids how education helps us build skills to make informed decisions about our future. More importantly, about the role education plays in bringing positive change to our communities. The presentation went south after the first five minutes. I mean what 10 year old wants to hear a stranger talk about education ! I struggled a lot to get their attention. In the amidst of chaos, a light bulb lit up in my head. I pointed to the red Range Rover in the parking lot and told him the car was mine. ALL THE BOYS went CRAZY. “How did you buy the car,” “It’s my dream car,”  “Your only 20 !”

I told them that if they sit quietly and pay attention, I will give them my secret to buying the car by the time they turn 20. All of a sudden, I had their UNDIVIDED attention !!

I told them how hard I worked all through high school and how involved I was in my community. I explained to them that my actions in high school helped me get into one of the most prestigious engineering schools in Canada. This in turn helped me attain a well paying job at World Vision, Municipality of Wood Buffalo and now ATCO Pipelines.

My secret was simple: EDUCATION. I told them that I saved up my money to buy my dream car, while using some of it to help kids in need.

I shared my perspective as a woman in a male dominated field of study and how education has contributed to my personal and professional success. The presentation also entailed my fight for equal access to education and inspirational stories about courageous women who fought for the betterment of the world.

Lastly, I reminded the kids how fortunate we are to have access to education and encouraged them to use it to ensure this valuable resource is available to children around the world.

To conclude the presentation, I did an activity with the students to reflect on their experiences in school and the life they have in Canada:

I asked the kids to write a letter thanking either the Teachers/ Staff/ Janitors/ Bus Drivers / Family member who have invested their time to create a safe and nurturing environment for them to learn. Here are a few letters written by the kids:

I shouldn’t pick favourites but Hunter (11 years old ) wrote the SWEETEST letter to his teacher.

When I was about to leave he thanked me for coming in and giving the presentation. Hunter promised me that he will work extra hard in math. He also told me that for his birthday present he will tell his parents to donate money to a child in need instead of asking for toys. I had the biggest smile on face when he said that !! I left the West Club very content knowing that I changed at least one child’s outlook about education and how he can use to create a better future.

Yours truly,

Sravya

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Hello everyone,

I hope your week is going well ! Mine is going painfully slow 🙁 To provide some excitement to this week, here is a story of how I started my company…

When I noticed the women the around us paying high prices to put chemically concentrated lipsticks on their lips, I knew there needed to be a better alternative. Most beauty products use petroleum based ingredients and contain heavy metals such as aluminum and lead. These harsh chemicals irritate lips and cause severe dryness and discomfort. Over time they strip away natural lip color and leave them dull and lifeless. This inspired me to experiment with natural pigments and organic oils. After a year of hard work I formulated a unique product that will cut down the pollutants entering women’s bodies.

Seleste organic lipsticks are made with organic ingredients that nourish and repair lips. The hydrating formula is infused with natural pigments that provide stunning and long-wearing lip color. Seleste lipsticks are designed to make women look and feel their best and give them confidence at an affordable price !

The stunning colors are extracted from natural pigments that accentuate the natural lip color and provide effortless beauty. Seleste lipsticks do not contain artificial preservatives, parabens, synthetic colorants or petroleum products. We handcraft the lipsticks from natural/organic ingredients that you can actually pronounce !! We offer a range of shades from pinks and reds to brown. Currently, there are five shades and more to come.

But that’s not it! As you know we have a bigger mission behind this venture. A portion of Seleste’s profits are used to empower and educate women in third world countries. Our First Initiative was a HUGEEEE SUCCESS !! I hope to work hard and help more children achieve their dreams through my company. 

EACH AND EVERY child deserves to a fair chance at a successful future ! Through education they can create a bright future for themselves and their communities. Help me create a sustainable future with equal opportunities by purchasing a Seleste Lipstick @ selestelipsticks.com

 

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Hello everyone,

I am so excited to share my Beauty With A Purpose platform with you !! In this post I will inform you on WHY I chose this platform, and HOW I will implement it as Miss Northern Alberta 2017. So here it goes …

Women in today’s society have come a long way. They are breaking free from traditional roles and are standing head to head with men in all aspects. They are taking on many leadership roles and dominating in their fields of work while providing and caring for their loved ones. However, this progression is not universal. In many parts of the world, women are still stuck in their outdated roles, with little to no freedom.

It is outrageous how many young girls are still being abused, sexually exploited, and treated differently than their counterpart. So much potential is lost due to the lack of appropriate resources or social protection. Perhaps, with the right opportunities and training, a young girl from a small village in India or Indonesia could innovate to help us tackle challenges such as Climate Change.  Instead, this girl may not even receive a formal education and work odd jobs to help her family financially. Even more, she could be wedded off early and given the responsibilities to nurture children. This is just the best case scenario!! All this little girl needs is an opportunity, an opportunity to get an education-her BASIC right that will ensure her a bright and secure future.

“In my opinion, education is the single most efficient resource that can empower women and ensure equal opportunity to a safe and secure future”

Education has played a significant role in my life. Being informed and having technical skills through my degree in Chemical Engineering gives me strength and confidence. It provides me with a sense of security that I can take care of myself and stand on my own feet. I want to provide this self-confidence to women across the world so they can fully participate in their societies and reach their full potentials.

In my opinion, education is the single most efficient resource that can empower women and ensure equal opportunity to a safe and secure future. Vocational and non-formal education will provide the skills necessary to obtain employment, which will in turn provide financial stability and security. Strong and stable families contribute to local and national development.

To transform my vision into actions, I co-founded a social enterprise – Seleste Lipsticks – that actively promotes education amongst women for the overall development of a nation. Seleste lipsticks are handcrafted with pure organic oils and natural ingredients that moisturize and prevent dry lips. The hydrating formula is filled with vitamins and antioxidants that hydrate and condition the lips. Seleste lipsticks are designed to make women look and feel their best and give them confidence at an affordable price. But that’s not all! We are a business with a mission. A portion of Seleste’s profits are used to provide opportunities to empower and educate women in third world countries. Our company is working towards building a safe & secure environment and provide the resources for women to grow and become successful.

Our First Project: 

Our first initiative is taking place in a small village named Gopineni Palem. This place is very special to me as my family originated from this village. I spent many summers here, visiting my grandparents.

A small government school located in this village is in desperate need for help. Many children attending the school come from low-income families with no financial stability. Many of these children’s parents are farmers who struggle to provide three meals a day. Approximately, 200 of the girls that attend the schools are suffering from anemia. To address their health situation, Seleste is buying the medicine and organic foods to increase their iron levels. Moreover, we are bringing awareness to the children about the signs of anemia and the food they can grow themselves to maintain proper health.

We have been working hard over the past few months to get this going. I lost track of the number of phone calls and emails I made ! But at-last, this exciting initiative will be taking place next Thursday !!! I will provide you more in-depth details very soon!

Yours truly,

Sravya

 

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This is a very special entry as this is the FIRST blog I have EVER written as Sravya Kalyanapu and as Sravya, Miss Northern Alberta World 2017 ! So strap yourself in, I will jump right to it :

I was born in India and moved to Fort McMurray, Canada when I was ten years old. I finished most of my elementary and high school education in this small but warm town. Currently, I reside in Edmonton where I am pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering at University of Alberta.

More on a personal note, I would describe myself as a very ambitious and pro-active women. I am really focused on my studies, education has played a significant role in my life. However, I am also someone who believes that success is not just measured by personal growth but also through one’s contributions to the society. Thus, I devoted much of my time volunteering with a number of charitable organizations such as Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Canadian Cancer Society, Food Bank and Engineers Without Borders. Volunteering and taking on numerous leadership roles with these organizations has helped me build strong relationships with my community and its members.  Also, being part of these amazing groups has truly shaped me into the person I am today.

I am also an entrepreneur. I have co-created my own line of naturally made lipsticks that help women feel and look beautiful. Seleste lipsticks are made with organic and natural ingredients that nourish and repair the lips. The hydrating formula is infused with natural pigments that provide stunning and long-wearing lip colour. But that’s not all ! We have a bigger mission behind this venture. A portion of Seleste’s profits are used to empower and educate women. My company is working towards building a safe & secure environment for young girls to grow and become successful. I will soon share the details of our NEW project with a school in India !!

Moreover, I am also an aspiring model. I am signed with Numa Modeling Agency and have been modeling for the last two years.  As a fashion model, I have worked with a diverse group of people from all the over the world in pressure intensive environments which helped me develop a professional attitude. Working with various photographers and brands, I have learned to conduct myself with grace and dignity.

When I am not volunteering or busy studying for my final exams, I like to immerse myself into art. I enjoy to sketch, paint with acrylics and create sculptures from recycled materials. Ultimately, I like to create art that sends an effective and positive message to the viewer. Lastly, I also practice Bharatanatyam, an Indian classical dance form, to stay close to my cultural roots

So that is a QUICKK overview about me !! I CANNOT wait to share my experiences as Miss Northern Alberta. I am so EXCITED to be part of this extraordinary adventure !!

Thank you for taking your time to read this !!  Keep checking my blog to know more about my platform, Beauty with a Purpose project, action plan and silly photos. I look forward to sharing the details about my journey to Miss World Canada 2017.

Yours truly,

Sravya

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