Langley’s Margaret Onedo was crowned Miss Fraser Valley and won the Miss Congeniality award during the Miss BC Pageant held at Fort Langley’s Chief Sepass Theatre on July 3.
Before a crowd of about 320 people in the theatre, 53 contestants competed in three categories in this year’s pageant.
The event has come a long ways since its inception 14 years ago (2003) when there were 19 contestants vying for the Miss and Teen categories. Since then, in 2012, they added the Mrs. category, explained program director Christina Smith.
“The Miss, Mrs., and Miss Teen BC program is unique in the pageant world in that we do not discriminate on the basis of age, height, weight or motherhood; while other pageants have restrictions on who they will accept into their programs, we do not,” Smith explained.
“Also unlike other pageants, we do not have a swimwear competition. Our mandate is to find and train role models for BC women, and we have always believed that a swimsuit competition would be antithetical to what we stand for.”
Smith elaborated that the Miss, Mrs. and Miss Teen organization is entirely run by volunteers, many of whom are former titleholders or contestants who return year after year from all over B.C. and from places as far away as Texas.
“They return to help because they believe in and have experienced the value of this program,” Smith said.
As for Onedo, the local winning contestant, she was born and raised in Ethiopia. She has always seen that it doesn’t take much to be giving. Her main goal in life is to leave the planet better than she found it.
She endeavours to accomplish this by volunteering her time and full efforts to causes she enjoys, including being a holiday elf at the Christmas bureau to volunteering at a Shakespearean festival in Summerland.
In the school months, she is a full-time student at Studio 58, pursuing her career in acting.
Although she is a self-proclaimed “bright and intelligent social butterfly,” she is always bound to have a book nearby.
By joining Miss BC, she hoped to make new lifelong friendships and find opportunities to do charity work.
From traveling to Scotland for an international choir competition, to climbing trees on the banks of the river Nile with her sisters, Onedo sees every person as “the best friend she hasn’t met yet.”
She believes that, every person has a sparkle, and the faster its found, the easier it is to understand their humanity and “accept them with warmth, love, and open arms.”
Onedo was one of two Langley women competing in the pageant. She was joined on stage by kindness advocate May Al-Taher.
Miss BC 2016 is White Rock’s Gloren Guelos, while the title of Mrs. BC 2016 was won by Coquitlam’s Tetyana Golota. Miss Teen BC 2016 was Alisa Kalia, and Miss Teen Charity BC was Ramneek Jawandha.
Onedo and all the other contestants, through their participation in the pageant, helped raise close to $30,000 this year for the annual Cops for Cancer initiative – bringing the total to about $288,000 since the pageant’s inception in 2007.
CAPTION: Many young ladies walked away with crowns and sashes after the Miss BC Pageant at Chief Sepass Theatre in Fort Langley, including (below) Langley’s Margaret Onedo.