After being crowned Miss Teenage Langley in what would be her very first pageant, winner Jesseca Mah felt her dreams were swiftly coming true.
The 18-year-old Murrayville resident earned the title earlier this year, after spending much of her childhood wishing she could one day take part.
“Ever since I was little, these women looked so beautiful and elegant – so poised. They were real role models to me,” Mah said.
Mah recounted being involved in many rehearsals for the competition, which included swimsuit and evening gown segments. The pageant was held on March 17 at the Executive Airport Plaza Hotel.
“You forget in the moment what’s all happening,” Mah added, “but my whole family was there for support.”
Now, after winning the regional competition, she is on her way to Toronto to take part in the Miss Teenage Canada pageant and attempt to earn the country’s top title.
“I’m prepping a lot – learning how to wave and practising my answers for the Q & A,” Mah explained.
Held from July 9 to 14, The Miss Teenage Canada pageant welcomes over 60 contestants from across the country. Judged on a personal interview, charitable contributions, public speaking skills, community engagement, and photogenic appeal, $20,000 in cash and scholarships are handed out to winners each year.
Though the experience has been exciting for Mah, she says the chance to help out and use the platform to give back to her community is what’s really important.
“My platform is affordable and accessible education opportunities,” Mah explained. “Throughout my high school years, I was a peer tutor and have seen the need for more affordable tutors. I believe that education should not be limited by a family’s financial situation.”
Miss Teenage Canada raises funds for a non-profit organization the called WE Charity (formally Free the Children) which advocates education and health for youth around the world.
“The pageant helps children with life threatening illnesses,” Mah said. “And I’ve always wanted to help fufil a child’s wish. It’s a very special thing because every child should be able to be what they want to be.”
After Miss Teen wraps, Mah will be heading into post-secondary school this fall, studying dermatology at UBC. “I’m nervous, but I know it’s going to be one of the best time of my life.”
As for the upcoming pageant, even if she doesn’t win, Mah said she is already coming out ahead with all of the people skills she has developed through the experience.
“I’ve learned how to communicate and portray myself in job interviews and make eye contact. You just got to put your best foot forward,” said Mah.
People can follow Mah and the rest of the country’s contestants at www.missteenagecanada.com.
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