The night of August 13th marked the end of the Search for Miss Teenage Canada 2017 when Emma Morrison from Chapleau Ontario was crowned. Congratulations Emma, as well as to all the 59 girls from across Canada who competed. I am so amazed at how much my fellow delegates have done over the last couple of months to promote their titles, platforms, and hometowns. As national finalists, we are already very accomplished young women who have used our crowns to surpass our full potential while discovering our true identities in the process, and regardless of titles or placements, we should all feel SUPER proud of ourselves for undertaking this new challenge!!
Now that #MTC2017 is officially over, I feel a mixture of emotions, ranging from sadness, to confusion, to nostalgia, to relief. But most of all, I feel victorious. Although I didn’t walk away with the crown, I left equipped with knowledge, experience, and 58 life-long friends! I now know how to carry myself with poise, to have that charisma needed to ace a job interview. I also better understand the importance of community work and volunteerism. And finally, I got an inside look into the entertainment world, by first-hand experiencing the pros and cons of living a life as an actress/model. Life is a storybook, each chapter a new memory, and now I have these wonderful experiences to look back on and cherish forever.
This will most likely be my final blog post, so I intend to make it as special as #MTC2017 itself. I try to describe every detail of our adventures in Toronto during competition week, while adding some tidbits of my own reflections as well. If you are a girl interested in joining the Miss Teenage Canada family, hopefully this will give you the push to sign up and undertake perhaps one of the best voyages in your life. If you are one of the 58 other delegates, thank you for being there for me and making the experience even more memorable. Hopefully you can relate to this post a bit too!! And finally, if you know me personally or are a member of the Truro community, think of this post as my way of thanking you for the tremendous amount of support I’ve received along the way, I owe it all to you!!
So… let’s begin!
It started off the morning of August 7th, when I woke up early to head to the airport from little Lunenburg Nova Scotia. My family and I stayed over the night before for my mom’s rug show, this mini retreat was a great way for me to relax and refresh before the big week! Anyway, after heading to the airport, I once again met up with Lindsey, Miss Teenage Northern Nova Scotia, another delegate for the Miss Teenage Canada crown! It was so nice to see her again, and I was so thankful to have a flight buddy to and from Toronto!
The flight was just over two hours long, and before we knew it, we were touching down at the Toronto Pearson International Airport! After claiming our luggage, we popped in the van with some of the Alberta girls, before arriving at the Edward Village Hotel, where we would be staying the whole 7 days. This is where we were assigned our rooms. I was so happy to be rooming with Lydia, Miss Teenage Halton! She is such a sweet, funny, and outgoing girl, and we became sisters immediately! Throughout the week, we shared everything, from makeup, to jewellery, to dresses! She even taught me how to walk and pose properly, which improved my onstage confidence immensely.
After relaxing in our rooms, it was time to head down to the sponsor party! Since I’ve already done a post detailing the party, I won’t spend too much time explaining it, but I do want to say that thousands of girls across Canada are being positively impacted because of the ongoing support of the sponsors, this experience definitely wouldn’t be possible without them!
The next day, we woke up bright and early to enjoy an array of muffins, fruit, yogurt, bagels and more! We had a busy day up ahead, we would be completing our one-on-one interviews with the judges, shooting our video interviews, rehearsing for finals night, and getting our official MTC photoshoots! Overall, I’m pretty happy with how my headshot turned out. Looking back, I remember being fairly nervous about the photoshoot and especially the interview, but both turned out to be a breeze and I felt comfortable as soon as I walked in the room!
On Wednesday, we headed out to the Vaughan Sportsplex to play volleyball, soccer, and my favorite, bubble soccer! I always wanted to feel like a hamster, haha!! In bubble soccer, the same rules as regular soccer apply, except your upper body is completely surrounded by an inflatable, strap-on, sphere! It was super fun and I thoroughly enjoyed letting loose and bouncing around in a bubble for the first time!
We spent the afternoon rehearsing some more for finals night. It does require a fair amount of endurance and I had to take off my heels a couple times, but hey, practice makes perfect!
To top off the day, we had dinner at Dave and Busters before heading off to their expansive arcade, where I blasted some zombies, played PAC-MAN, and engaged in other classic arcade games. Coming from a small town, this was probably the biggest arcade I’ve ever seen, and I loved the fact that I got to experience something like this.
Thursday was another busy day of touring the city of Toronto. We started off by exploring the Clarington Family Outdoor Adventure Park, where we met pygmy goats, lemurs, a giraffe named “Morgan”, and some adorable baby lion cubs! So cute!!
After the zoo, we headed down to the Yorkdale Shopping Centre to visit one of our sponsors, Nine West Canada , where each of the delegates received a $50 gift card to purchase some footwear or an accessory of their choice. I absolutely love the shoes I bought with my gift card as well as the ones we received for our swimwear/opening number dress! After visiting Nine West, we got about an hour to shop and browse the stores before returning back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. I don’t recall the name, but it was a delicious sushi restaurant and my favorite part of the meal was of course dessert, where we enjoyed some creamy mango ice cream!
On Friday, we finally got to sleep in!! It felt nice to get to relax, but once we were up, we went straight to rehearsal! Today, a new choreographer came in, his name was “Hollywood”. He taught us the swimsuit dance and helped oversee the other portions of the show, including the evening gown parade, routines for top 20 and 10, and the opening number dance. During rehearsals, you could feel this nervous energy coming from the girls, because tonight was the night of PRELIMS!!!
Basically, prelims are a way for the judges to get a glimpse of your onstage confidence, elegance, poise, and fitness so they can tally up your scores to narrow it down to the top 20! During prelims, each girl had about 45 seconds to captivate the judges and audience in swimwear with an upbeat, cheerful walk and smile. We could do pretty much any poses we want, as long as we went up and down the catwalk and didn’t take too much time. After that, we got changed into evening wear and did the exact same thing, except this time, we went slow, graceful, and elegant. But no matter the category, CONFIDENCE is KEY! Everyone looked so amazing in their evening gown and swimwear, and I think we represented the MTC slogan “Be Your Own Kind Of Beautiful” pretty well that night!!
The next day, Saturday, was gala and talent night! The morning and early afternoon was spent rehearsing for both the final show on Sunday (again), and for our talent showcases! Many girls had unique talents, and this was the night where we got to showcase them to our friends and family! We got the choice to either perform a talent, or to present a short speech about our platform. Since I am a very musical person, it is no wonder that I chose to sing one of my all-time favorite songs, “Summertime”, from Porgy and Bess. Of course, I enjoyed listening to the other girls amazing gifts just as much as I loved performing my own piece! Some of the talents included hip hop improvisation, an acting monologue, musical instrument performances, and fencing. Besides the talent showcase, we also got to dress up in gowns and enjoy a delectable dinner!
Talent gala was definitely my favorite part of the whole week, for two reasons. Firstly, who doesn’t love a fancy night with delicious food? And secondly, any opportunity I get to sing is an opportunity I take, and that is how I improve. I remember I used to be so terrified of singing onstage after a couple bad experiences when I completely bombed my performances, and it took years before I fully got over it. I have conquered that fear by consistently forcing myself to perform even when I’m tired, in a bad mood, or super nervous. Now I absolutely love to sing in front of an audience, to share my special gift with others, and every successful performance reminds me of what I overcame to get this far.
Talent gala was a blast, but of course, the next day was the moment we’ve all been waiting for. It was time to show off everything we’ve worked on over the past couple of days and see who becomes the next Miss Teenage Canada! Early in the morning, we took a bus over to the Richmond Hill Performing Arts Centre for a final day of rehearsals before the big show! Not going to lie, I WAS pretty nervous, but I understood that I had tried my hardest in terms of fundraising, platform development, community service and events, blogging, interview prep, and stage presence in prelims, and that whatever happens, happens.
It felt so good to be up on the Miss Teenage Canada stage. This event would be live-streamed all around the world, while friends and family would be cheering us on in the audience. Woot! I spent every moment of my free time during rehearsal practicing and perfecting my walk, as I knew that going into the pageant that this area would be my weak point. But thanks to my roommate Lydia and the Pageant Planet for coaching me, I managed to strut on that stage with the authentic, unique, and confident version of me!!!
The day went by pretty fast, and before we knew it, it was time to get our hair and makeup done by the lovely professionals who came for photoshoot and prelims too. I opted for a bold eye with voluminous lashes, dramatic contour, and a neutral lip, and got nice tight curls in my hair (that surprisingly stayed in for days afterwards!). After putting on my black opening number dress and my Nova Scotia sash, I headed backstage to take a few deep breathes. I was as ready as ever!
As soon as the show started, it was all a blur of lights, music, and emotions! After the opening number, I remember standing anxiously as the MC’s (Miss World Canada, Cynthia Menard and Miss Toronto World, Alice Li) called out the names of the top 20 finalists (including the 5 fast-tracks). My roommate was first to get called. Congrats, Lydia, I’m so happy for you!! As girls got called up to the front one-by-one, I began to realize that maybe I wouldn’t advance this year. There were so many beauty, inspirational, and deserving young women, I bet it was already super hard for the judges to pick 20 finalists, let alone 1 girl for the title of Miss Teenage Canada. As I returned to the dressing room after exiting the stage, I did feel slightly disappointed, but hey, at least all 59 of us still got to be in the show! It was time for me to relax, have fun, and do my very best for the remainder of the show!
After opening number, the show proceeded as so…
- Top 20 finalists competed in swimwear
- Whole group performed the swimwear dance
- Top 10 were pulled out of the 20
- Top 10 competed in evening gown
- Whole group performed onstage in evening gown
- Top 5 were pulled out of the 10
- Top 5 answered an onstage interview question
- Top 5 did one last individual walk
- Samantha Pierre did her final walk as MTC 2016 to a speech she wrote
- All delegates were welcomed back onstage for the announcement of special awards and crowning of the new Miss Teenage Canada 2017!
So that was pretty much how the show went for the rest of the evening! It was super emotional watching Samantha Pierre’s final walk and her narration of a speech she wrote thanking her sponsors, her family, and detailing some of her best memories during her reign as Miss Teenage Canada 2016. She had such an eventful year of international competitions (she placed 1st runner up at both Miss Teenager and Miss Teen Universe), modeling around the world, and representing our beautiful country at national events!! Her comedic sense of humor, down-to-earth personality, and charming onstage confidence and elegance will go down in history in the pageant world! Congrats Samantha on an amazing year!
When all 59 delegates were called back onstage to crown the winner, there was a lot of excitement. MTC 2017 was about to be announced. Who would it be?? We patiently waited as they announced the five fast-tracks (Miss Supermodel with Style, Miss Swimwear, Miss Photogenic, Miss Top Fundraiser, and Miss People’s Choice), the special awards (Scholastic Achievement Award, Miss Congeniality, and Social Media Queen), the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd runner up, until it was only two girls left. Both girls clutched hands as they awaited their fate. And it was then that the 1st runner up was announced, leaving Emma Morrison from Ontario standing in shock as she was crowned as Miss Teenage Canada 2017. The audience roared with applause. Emma’s reaction was priceless, she is so deserving and I hope she has an amazing year full of new memories and unforgettable experiences!!
No words can truly and accurately describe my week at Miss Teenage Canada this summer. I cherished every moment, getting up early and staying up late, because I knew that this would probably be my last time experiencing something like this. Back in January, I was determined to become a better version of myself, I knew that I had to start taking advantage of more opportunities and challenging myself more, because after all, change ALWAYS starts from within. Although I didn’t walk away with the crown like I envisioned, my one goal was to come out of this pageant with no regrets, and I’m proud to say that I’ve accomplished exactly that. Actually, I do wish I practiced walking in heels more before leaving for the pageant, but hey, I totally made up for it by practicing in my room and during my spare time in rehearsals, right!? It is moments like these where you realize that all the blisters, the thousands of dollars spent, and the sacrifices you made were all worth it. We are all WINNERS, regardless of titles and placement, because I know everyone of us 59 delegates has conquered so much to get here, from mental health struggles, unsupportive family or friends, to monetary troubles. I still have my crown and sash until mid 2018, but I hope that my legacy will go down even further, I hope that I will continue to make at least a little difference in others’ lives, either through my youth empowerment group, Maritime Futuremakers, or through every day interactions. Thank you to Michelle, Ryan, Christi, Rob, Samantha, and everyone else who are making the Miss Teenage Canada dream a reality for hundreds of girls across Canada, for gifting them with the skills they need to flourish in the entertainment world, or in whatever field their path may lead them. 🙂
-Zoe, Miss Teenage Nova Scotia 2017