"My reign as Miss BC 2015-16 has been a remarkable, surreal and beyond memorable experience.
Between being a full time student and working, my year has been filled with a plethora of enriching opportunities; from working with non-profits and organizations both local and global, to working alongside my fellow title holders (who I am proud to call my sisters) to make a positive difference in people's lives and give back to the community, to meeting many amazing people, and so much more!
Words cannot express my gratitude for this title, which has most importantly given me a voice to share my platform and bring awareness and action to make my vision a reality, to be a role model and mentor, and to inspire others to make a difference. My journey has been filled with many valuable lessons, new experiences and opportunities, self-growth and memories that I will cherish and hold on to for the rest of my life.
With my reign coming to an end, I am more than humbled to have spent 2 weeks of my final month in Thailand. I was given an opportunity to voice my platform and work with local NGOs and non-profits to empower underprivileged children and women to pursue an education. I believe this is a possible solution and step towards social and economic change, poverty alleviation and closing the gap between social injustices and inequality. A year ago I wouldn't have thought this dream of empowering others was even close to becoming my reality and am more than thankful to the Courage Productions family for making this dream possible.
Tomorrow July 3rd, I will be passing on my title and welcoming the next Miss BC as she embarks on a life changing journey. Although the moment will be bittersweet, I will be happy knowing that I will be taking away from this experience so much more." Shakti Shunmugam, Miss BC 2015/16.
A word from the judges:
To quote one of the Miss Teen participants “I didn’t come in with any expectations… but this is not what I expected”!
I knew exactly what she meant… when I agreed to judge the Miss Teen, Miss & Mrs. BC Pageant, I thought to myself, well this should be interesting. That was an understatement. Getting to speak to these young ladies & women was so much more than that. The courage, the anxiety, the experiences… all varying & each one a lesson. For them... but also for me.
This is not like any other pageant. There is no swimsuit competition. That is because beauty is much more than skin deep. Beauty is in the tears as one contestant spoke of overcoming the impact addiction has had on her & her family in the past. Beauty is in the courage of one young participants who has only just lost her mother after a long illness, after having taken nearly 2 years off from school to look after her. She’s 16. Beauty is found in the halls where these women who have only known each other a few short days, are taking in each other’s stories. Beauty is the organizers & their volunteers who are not in this for monetary gains but to enrich the lives of these ladies with seminars, classes, even self defence lessons.
And why? To send them out into this big wide world… to make a difference. Darren Storsley & his mother Gloria have been doing pageants for 14 years. Darren is himself a former Mr. Canada. They are lovely people, with an amazing outlook on life & what we can each do as our part to make things better in our little corner of the world & beyond.
There is an evening gown part to the pageant & that is to help with poise & confidence. There is a fitness section to give the participants a chance to show off how they keep themselves fit, active & healthy.
As one of a few judges, I got the chance to spend a little time with every one of them, asking them questions about themselves & their lives. I learned a lot about these ladies. And I learned a lot about myself. Like what, you say? You’re never too young/old to make a change or a difference. You can do anything you set your mind to & you can make an impact on many others. Putting out a hand to someone in pain & giving them the gift of your time, can be just what they need. Don’t be quick to judge; you don’t know what others have been through. Think about what you say before you say it; maybe it doesn’t need to be said at all. Bullies never win.
That last one was not something any of them said… it’s what they showed me they’ve become after having been mistreated at school or in their own home, by someone they loved or someone they thought a friend. In my eyes, every one of the 54 entrants is courageous & a winner. They wear a proverbial crown every day. And they wear it well. C. Franklin - one of the 2016/17 judges for the Miss BC Program.
The Miss BC, Teen BC and Mrs. BC Pageant prides itself in its recognition of diversity amongst women, and acceptance for the transgendered community. This Pageant is quite unique in relation to the Pageant world because of its focus on development for women, not weight restrictions or gender. "The Miss BC Pageant celebrates all women, and yes, we would welcome transgendered contestants," says Storsley, who himself was Mr. World Canada 2007.
Leading up to the final pageant, all contestants receive professional training in areas such as public speaking, interview skills, media relations, modelling, manners, etiquette, leadership, self-esteem, health, fitness, nutrition, assertiveness and motivational speaking, and even self-defense.
And the winners are . . .
Contestants showcased their pride, inner and outer beauty as the annual Miss BC, Miss Teen BC and Mrs. BC Pageant was held July 3-5 at the Chief Sepass Theatre in Fort Langley. 53 contestants from all across BC were evaluated on personal expression in sportswear of their choosing personal expression in an evening gown of their choosing, private interview with the judging panel and a public on-stage interview in the final showcase. This was the largest Miss BC, Miss Teen BC & Mrs.BC Pageant held with contestants being exemplary role models for their communities, represented charities, and were recognized for their talents and accomplishments.
Winners who were crowned include:
Miss B.C. - Gloren Guelos of White Rock (Miss Farrow Wealth Planning)
Miss Teen B.C. - Alisha Kalia of Vancouver (Miss Apna Dental)
Mrs. B.C. - Tetyana Golota of Coquitlam (Mrs. Happy Lifestyle)
Miss Charity B.C. - Ramneek Jawandha of Surrey (Miss Teen Precision Carriers)
People’s Choice Award Winner: Gloren Guelos of White Rock (Miss Farrow Wealth Planning)
Miss Teen Greater Vancouver - Isabelle Calinisan of Burnaby (Miss Nando’s Walnut Grove)
Miss Teen Interior - Bella Konschuh-Penney of of Westbank (Miss Prep This House Interiors)
Miss Teen Fraser Valley - Frances Oliver of Agassiz (Miss Sparkle Project)
Miss Vancouver Island - Patrice Wilson of Sooke (Miss Wilson Diving Services)
Miss Greater Vancouver - Tamara Forsyth of Richmond (Miss Look Beyond the Mirror)
Miss Lower Mainland - Raven Thiara of New Westminster (Miss Chopped Leaf)
Miss Northern B.C. - Marie Stormy Hasenohri of Prince George (Miss Takla Lake First Nation)
Miss B.C. Interior - Danielle Beattie of Fruitvale (Miss Beaver Valley Lions Club)
Miss Fraser Valley- Margaret O. (Miss Viva Orthodontics)
Mrs. Lower Mainland - Erin Sanders of Abbotsford (Mrs. Valley Feed Bag)
Mrs. Island - Sima Saxena of Victoria (Mrs. Pam Glover’s Aerobics)
Whether contestants were crowned or not they still achieved lessons in life, skills that would be used a lifetime, and some long lasting friendships. Congratulations to all participants!