She loves putting on layers of stage makeup and tying her tap shoes before a dance recital, but people can also find 19-year-old Alice Kim as equally comfortable in the microbiology lab, plating bacteria cultures.
Kim is a third-year Queen’s University student who also serves as senior residence don, and is deeply passionate about dance while pursuing her life science major and minors in global development and Chinese language.
She believes her mix of passions and pursuits present her as a bit of a contradiction in terms, but a strong contender for the upcoming Miss BC Pageant.
“Communities thrive on diversity, and I entered this pageant to contribute my unique passions to a group of women dedicated to living for something greater,” Kim said.
“I want to hone the skills befitting a woman of the 21st century: one who is a product of aspirations, not circumstances.”
While Kim quickly admits she’s not what people expect from a pageant contestant, she’s excited about her latest challenge of going up against 26 others – all vying for the Miss BC crown during the Miss, Miss Teen, Jr. Miss, and Mrs BC Pageant happening later this month in Fort Langley.
“Beyond the stereotypical pageant girl, I have compassion, strength, and confidence in who I am, and the community that inspires me to strive for something greater,” she said.
Self-assured in her quest, Kim said: “I believe that I am a strong candidate because I have the confidence to be outspoken about my passions and the issues that I feel are important. I have been blessed with a talent for compassion and the ability to care deeply; I know my dedication and zeal can shine on and off stage.”
An only child, Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea but grew up in Langley, where she attended Willoughby and Alex Hope Elementaries, and graduated from Walnut Grove Secondary.
She currently splitting her time between classes and work at university in Kingston, Ont., and her home in Langley.
It’s during her latest visit back home this summer that she’s hoping to win the Miss BC crown while juggling a summer internship with Hope International Development Agency, an NGO based in New Westminster.
She’s been involved with them since Grade 10, when she heard a presentation about their initiatives. Since then, she’s fundraised for their programs, attended their charity dinners, and travelled with classmates to the Dominican Republic to see some of their work first-hand.
Her “ultimate” career goal is to work for the World Health Organization or another public health institution where she can merge her passion for laboratory research with sustainable development and humanitarian issues.
While working as a student staff member in Canada’s largest residence building, she claims to have learned some atypical skills – like handling roommate conflicts and buying enough snacks for 30 students then carrying them home from the grocery store – that will benefit her in the pageant, and moreover in her future.
Asked why she specifically chose to compete in this pageant, Kim looks to building connections with a dynamic network of women, but moreover she hopes to advocate for issues – such as mental health, sexual assault, and discrimination – facing young women like herself, students or otherwise.
“I think for many of us, this experience is something that is a bit out of our comfort zones,” she said of the pageant.
“It’s a little scary, but so exciting – that’s the fun part. In these past few weeks, I’ve really learned to enjoy talking to friends and strangers about my passions and my experiences.”
While she has yet to meet any of her competitors, she has been reading up on all of them online, and is “so thrilled” to finally meet everyone during pageant week.
This is the 16th annual local pageant. The contest culminates with a pageant weekend from June 30 to the crowning finale on July 2 at Chief Sepass Theatre.
There are a total of 45 contestants competing this year, including six in the Mrs. category, 12 in the Miss Teen classification, and the 27 (including Kim and fellow Langleyite Natasha Chadney) vying for the Miss BC crown.
It’s not a beauty contest, organizers clarify. It’s a program offering training and workshops aimed at enhancing each contender’s self-esteem and personal development while recognizing their strengths, talents, and accomplishments.
The local pageant also has a philanthropic element. Each year, the contestants must fundraise for the Cops for Cancer, and in the past decade that has translated to more than $350,000 for the cause.
For more information, visit their website.