It was an emotional night for Christine Jamieson, Taylor Aller and Michelle Admodi who were crowned Miss BC, Mrs. BC and Miss Teen BC 2018, respectively.
Cheryl Schindler was named Mrs. Charity BC for her efforts in raising more than $11,000 for partner charity Cops for Cancer.
These ladies were chosen out of nearly 50 who entered the 16th annual competition, which took place at the Chief Sepass Theatre in Fort Langley July 2. Black Press is media sponsor.
Unlike traditional pageants, Miss BC does not focus on physical beauty — there are no age, weight or height restrictions to enter. Contestants are encouraged to give back to their communities through volunteer work, and to be role models for young people.
The participants travelled from all corners of the province to participate in the event — one coming as far as Fort St. James — and each have their own inspiring stories.
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It was a broken heart that led Alexandra Klock to sign up for the Miss BC pageant.
Originally seeking a way to feel validated, she was shocked to find the program completely changed her outlook on life.
“I realized that I have a journey that is worth sharing with people,” said Klock, 20, who is from the Comox Valley.
“And my story — which I know has helped a lot of other people — is being able to talk about my mentorship with teen girls who are going through depression or anxiety. (It’s) something that I went through, and I actually had the ability to overcome it, which many people don’t.”
Miss Teen BC contestant Shahana Shaheem, 16, was using the public platform to raise awareness of gang violence in her hometown of Surrey.
“I want to get out in the community more and let the youth know it’s not all about personal electronic devices. You can get more involved in the community, and it helps to minimize gang violence and drug use,” she said.
“Recently on the news … it’s all about gangs — gang violence and gang drugs. And it all starts from teens getting into that and getting involved in drug use. Their mentality goes to that and they think it’s a cool thing, when in reality all you’re doing is just putting yourself in danger.”
Contestants perform on stage
As part of the show, the contestants put on a high energy performance that showcased their unique skills. From professional dance to golf and basketball, each person brought their own flavour to the stage.
The women also displayed their diverse heritage in the evening gown presentation. The first on stage dawned a beautiful First Nations garment, while others wore more modern dresses. Some chose to highlight their South Asian background with colourful saris.
Interviews with the Top 15
The Top 15 were: Shawdi Safari (Burnaby), Balpreet Sidhu (Surrey), Michelle Admodi (Vancouver), Tina Young (Surrey), Jaskiran Kaur (Surrey), Jenn Sheffield (Victoria), Janaya Lal (Surrey), Lindsay Zibrik (Vancouver), Natasha Chadney (Langley), Kushi Bimbrahw (Surrey), Pavneet Dhanoa (Surrey), Sharlene Pereira (Vancouver), Christine Jamieson (Mission), Alexandra Klock (Courtney) and Taylor Aller (Surrey).
In the second half of the show, the Top 15 competitors shared more details about their lives with interviews on stage.
Christine Jamieson from Mission said her goal is to raise awareness, funds and create policy changes regarding epilepsy and mental health.
Jamieson was diagnosed with epilepsy as a teenager, and “it flipped my life upside down,” she said.
She had to drop out of high school and suffered from depression and anxiety.
She now runs her own non-profit to help others suffering from the disorder.
Taylor Aller from Surrey joined Mrs. BC to challenge herself as a women with body issues and low self esteem. She also volunteers with Free To Be Talks to help youth navigate through social media pressures, and wants to use the pageant to help promote that program.
On top of their own volunteer efforts, each year, participants in Miss BC also raise money for the pageant’s charity partner, Cops for Cancer. To date, nearly $400,000 has been raised.