When grade 12 student Kyrie Jackson was asked to write a position paper on pageants for a class, she took the side in favour of pageants.
It was in doing research for the paper that she found the application for Miss Teen Canada and thought, why not try it out?
“I’ve always wanted to do pageants, because I thought they’d be really fun,” Kyrie said.
She sent in an application and got an interview with executive director Michelle Weswaldi over Skype. Within 48 hours she was invited to the Miss Teen B.C. pageant in Vancouver on March 1 and 2, the stepping stone to the national pageant.
Since Kyrie got the call she’s been getting ready and enjoying the ride so far.
“There is a lot to get ready,” she said. “You have to have an evening gown, interview wear, swimsuit, another dress and figure out what you are going to do with that. It’s a lot to do in a month or two.”
As part of the pageant prep, she is also fundraising for Cardiac Kids and finding sponsors.
Pageant participants have to do well in school, not have been married or pregnant.
In Vancouver, Kyrie will meet choreographers and makeup artists who have worked with the likes of Christina Aguilera and Pink.
“I’m just counting down the days until it happens,” she said.
There are also modelling, acting and interview skills workshops, and there will be talent scouts in attendance as well.
“So it opens up a lot of opportunities,” she said.
If she gets one of the 15 titles that will be awarded, Kyrie will take part in some events in the community such as parades and press conferences. After that she would go to Toronto in July and compete for the title of Miss Teen Canada.
Her mother, Judy, said that there are a lot of other opportunities that taking part in the pageant can offer, things like travel abroad and volunteering.
“Building schools, homes or hospitals; they did it in Haiti last year,” said Kyrie. “They went over and built schools, every girl who got a title through it, if they wanted to.”
Every $100 she raises for Cardiac Kids gets added up to a point out of 10 per cent on her score.
“It helps a lot for kids that have heart defects, that’s what the money goes to,” Kyrie said. “They pick a different charity each year. I’m just hoping to raise as much as I can for the Cardiac Kids, because it’s a really good charity and helps a lot of people.”
She has also been looking for sponsors, because its not only getting to Vancouver, but also the hotels, transportation and the entrance fees for the pageant.
Her mom said it is a huge opportunity and learning experience for her daughter.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Judy.
“At first I thought this is a big adventure and big grad year all at once, but how can she miss out on an opportunity to develop herself and find out who she is and where she wants to go? What she wants to do for a career and stuff? So I’m pretty proud. She’s been doing a lot of work to get herself to this place, so it’s good stuff.”
To make a donation or contact Kyrie with questions about the pageant, email firstname.lastname@example.org. She will also have a table in the Tamarack Centre on Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. in February.