I know this might sound strange coming from someone like me, but as I prepare for the upcoming Miss Canada pageant in Montreal January 27-30, 2011 I have been reflecting on who I am, what I stand for and what I can to offer to others.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- I am not a pageant girl, I am not a Beauty Queen- I am an abolitionist. Human rights and justice for the oppressed are my focus; pageantry is the platform that enables me to advocate on behalf of the marginalized and voiceless. Yet I know there are a lot of negative stigmas and misconceptions surrounding the history of pageantry.
Although this will only be my second pageant, I choose each pageant organization that I associate myself with very carefully. I was offered the opportunity to participate in many other national pageants but turned down the pageants because I felt that they focused too much on physical beauty and less on the inner-character of the individual. The Miss Canada pageant that I will be taking part in next week is very different. There is no height or weight requirement and no swimwear competition. Contestants are evaluated on the basis of who they are, their sportsmanship and what they have to offer as the potential future Miss Canada. This pageant is the official Miss Canada that has been in existence since 1946. It’s very surreal to think that now, in 2011, I get the opportunity to be part of that legacy.
And it is legacy and impact that I am truly interested in. Beautiful girls are a dime a dozen, it’s nothing to boast over. Physical beauty will wrinkle and tarnish over time but legacy inspires the next generation to impact.
As the Miss Canada pageant approaches, people keep asking me how I am preparing for the upcoming competition and honestly, I’m packing but not preparing. You see, I know who I am and I know what I stand for and I will not compromise in that to win a crown and title. I will be brave enough to be myself in a world that tells me I need to conform to be considered beautiful.
No. I have always said that I do what I do because the world needs to know they were wrong about beauty. Beauty is not defined by a size, style or skin colour. Beauty is the legacy that we leave behind: the moments that we choose to stand for what is right, the compassion that we spread and the truth that we speak.
Justice is beautiful. Compassion is beautiful. Grace is beautiful. Mercy is beautiful.
** With my friend, Miguel, at his orphanage in Antigua, Guatemala.