Local girls activist and supporter of youth in the community, Hope Secondary School Senior Madison Marshall, stole the crown for Miss Teenage Fraser Valley 2015, at the recent competition in Vancouver.
“This is the first pageant I’ve ever done, so I only had about two weeks to prepare—actually, it was kind of a last minute decision, but I’ve really wanted to go into the whole pageantry thing for quite awhile and I saw the opportunity to run for Miss Teenage British Columbia, so I decided I wanted to do that,” Madison said.
With only two weeks to prepare the enthusiastic candidate had a lot of leg work to do.
“I did some fundraising, because that was one of the qualifying things that we have to do — so I did that and then the competition was on Saturday, February 28th and Sunday, March 1st.”
After an extensive interview portion that made up 25 per cent of her fi nal score, there was a swim wear and evening gown section, followed by a presentation based on a movement she wanted to initiate in her community.
“I want my platform to be for Girls Inc., it’s actually a mentorship program that Oprah is involved with and it helps to teach young girls to be confident within themselves and to make decisions for their futures,” Madison said.
The program encourages girls to seek out different career paths they think will work for them, while staying positive about being a girl. “Girls Inc. is in Canada, but for right now it’s only in Alberta and Ontario, so I’ve just been looking into different ways to get it into our community, because I know there’s a lot of youth who don’t feel like they’re adequate and they don’t really have a good mentor,” she said. “So that’s kind of what I want to start, even if it’s not just directly with young girls, it can be with boys also. I want to get mentors out there and to make people aware of different options and to be confident about who they are and what they want to do.”
Out of 28 girls competing, 15 girls were crowned to move on to Toronto and Madison was chosen as one of them.
“The whole thing is called Miss Teenage Canada and I went to the provincial competition, so it was the Miss Teenage Canada – British Columbia division. And so, for my region, I’m representing the Fraser Valley — basically from Hope to Mission.”
As for a conventional pageant, Madison quickly dispelled notions of the traditional elements required for reigning Miss Teenager’s of the past. “It’s not based solely off looks, or anything that people would think a traditional beauty pageant would be — it wasn’t like that, it was more based on the girl’s confidence level and her involvement in the community, things like academics, poise and the characteristics of being a good leader.
Madison is slated to reign for an entire year and will have the opportunity to attend different events and volunteer her time around the community.
“If people want to invite me to volunteer, just to have someone there they can — I know that I’m going to be doing the Canada Day parade in Vancouver already, as well as different publicity venues,” Madison said.
The astute and celebrated student loves history and law, but has a passion for medicine.
“I’ve kind of been thinking that I want to go into medical stenography, which is an ultrasound technician, because I’ve always wanted to go into the medical field, but I’m kind of squeamish, so I’m not too positive I want to do something that involves blood.”
As for the living in a small town, Madison had nothing but good things to say. “I really enjoy it here, it’s a close-knit community and I feel that going to a small school has its benefits, because I know everyone and I feel comfortable being myself, and that’s the point of being in such a small school — I mean there’s 300 kids in my school and it’s from grade seven to grade 12, and I know some people in Chilliwack who’s grad class is more than 300 people.”
The modest 18 year old cited the beauty of being intwined in a place like Hope.
“I feel really lucky to be able to know every single person on a personal level and we can talk. You know people’s families and you know what people are going through and you can be really supportive — it’s just easier being in a small community and I really, really like it.” Madison will have the opportunity to compete for the title of Miss Teenage Canada in Toronto from August 2nd to August 10th.
“We are there for eight days and we go around to different TV shows like Breakfast Television, MTV and global, as well as other tourist opportunities to get to know Toronto.”
70 girls from across Canada will be competing and Marshall will be rooming with an unknown from a different province. The competition will host a myriad of activities and seminars on character, self-confidence and team building strategies.
“I’m looking for sponsors within the community, basically we sell ads in an ad book, or I can sell space on my sash — I have a sash that says Miss Teenage Fraser Valley 2015 that’s coming in the mail right now,” she said. “We can put someone’s logo on it and because we get all the pictures taken with our sashes on, different companies will be promoted at our events.”
I’m going to be organizing some different events within the community – I’m going to be raising money for ‘free the children’, which is a fundraising opportunity that we get.
On the current competition she won in Vancouver, she would have no qualms about doing it all over again.
“It was held at the Executive Airport Plaza Hotel in Richmond — that’s where we did everything. They booked a block of rooms for all the girls to stay in and that’s where we did our seminars on modeling opportunities.
The seminars covered topics such as how to carry yourself properly, how to walk on stage, how to give a proper hand shake and how to handle different interview questions. Marshall’s favourite moments were broad and defined.
“Meeting new people and coming together — we had two days and thirty of us came together. I feel like it’s a new sisterhood and I feel like I’ve gained 27 other sisters.
It’s crazy how girls, especially when they are teenagers have trouble getting along — you have your differences and girls can sometimes not be accepting. It was really nice to come together from different backgrounds and from different cities and we made instant friends.”
The valuable expedition was more than a nod at the crown for the down-to-earth teenager.
“It was such an amazing experience and even if I didn’t get crowned this weekend, I would still be so happy to go through that experience and to know that I learned so many skills and so many things from other girls.”
During her one year reign Madison aspires to open people’s eyes to different experiences and to help people see their potential.
I’ve lived in Hope for 15 years, and that doesn’t mean that you can’t accomplish anything. I think some people get into the mind space that because you’re from somewhere small, you’re never going to amount to anything and that’s just the wrong attitude. That’s what I hope to change with people in the Fraser Valley,” she said. “Young people need to be empowered and they need to be educated and to know they can change the world no matter where they come from.”
All interested parties and for those who would like to contribute, please check out www.facebook.com/Mi ssTeenageFraserValley and support her campaign for the crown.