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Wow, by far one of my personal favourite evenings of the pageant week so far has got to be; Mentorship Night. Now, mentorship night is an evening during the week we spend here at the Westin Bristol hotel where we get to listen to a bunch of far from “stereotypical” women tell us about their lives. And though it sounds like a classic case of show and tell, the women we got to meet were absolute gems; beautiful women who refused to stay below the goals they wanted to accomplish. That night we got to hear from Melani Chong, Alexandra Orlando, Katrina Hadden, and Dr.Natalie Archer.
To open the night we had the ever beautiful Melani Chong to get up there and set the tone for empowerment and boy did she ever. Melani Chong is not only a mother of two but is a model, and the founder of Soya Boutique. As a highschool student she found that she was the complete opposite of what she has become today; from highschool athlete to a human super woman. In highschool she found that she was more of an athelete than anything, with role models such as Gale Deaver, until her father tricked her into going to a model search at her local mall where she then got her first call back from Southerland Models. From there she became Fords car model before her career took off for the sky; she found herself working with high end companies all over the place such as MAC, Gucci and Diore. But after working with clothes for so long as a model, Melani found that she was very pulled towards the fashion aspect rather than the photo aspect of photography and therefore became a fashion stylist. Where therafter she went on to create the Soya Boutique which is a skin care line she felt the need to create for the models who were in her shoes who needed quick, yet natural ways to treat their skin. If there was one message to take away from her life story it would be that; you should always remember that there are plenty of opportunities out there (especially when one doesnt work out the way you had planned) and to remember that you can never know everything, so you should always embrace and listen to what others have to say.
Katrina Haddon, Miss #2 of our Mentor Night, and super proud to be there; Katrina Haddon is a plus size model which lead her to become a life coach and to write her self-help book: “Making It In Heels”. She came up not only to tell us her present, but a lead up of her past… Katrina Haddon started off young as a plus sized girl, whereas people in elementary would refer to her as “Big Bird” or “Green Giant”, but she always found a way to push past. And while all though school she believed and strived to be a professional bastketball player, after an injury in grade 12 she realized that it was time to look for a new dream.
Finally with her friends coming to her resuce, they recomended that she should try modelling; and was instantly taken into a modeling agency. But as she remained there she found that she never fully fit in, in which lead her to having an eating disorder. But by surrounding herself with positive fit people, she was able to overcome it, which lead her to move down here to Toronto to work with Ben Barry Agency. She found that she began to get picked for jobs simply for the energy that she brought to the room, and got picked to wear a gown in Toronto Fashion Week that was designed for Project Runway.
Her main point to give to us that night was that; confidence takes time to build and you need to take advantage and use the amount that you already have, for its`s the only way to gain more. She is a perfect example to girls everywhere of a person who embraced who they are, and decided to love every imperfection as if it was perfection.
Katrina`s Four Tips On How To Be a Good Role Model:
1. Take care of your body and yourself
2. Find a passion and forget about the rest of the world
3. Carry of attitude gratitude
4. To forgive- for life is short and holding onto that negative energy is never good
Following her, was our next motivational speaker: Alexandra Orlando. Alexandra is an Olympic gymnast who has been competing since she was 15 years old in 2005 when she missed making the Olympics by 1/10th of a point. And that’s when puberty decided to jump in and take its toll on poor Alexandra giving her what every girl out there originally wants…but never a gymnast. After that happened many told her that she would never be able to get into the Olympics now because she simply did not have the right body type and that she may as well give up now. But she pushed past the disbelievers and made the Olympics in 2008 and now she loves to go around and share her story to show people that they can accomplish their dreams. And to not be afraid of losing (weakness, vulnerability), to just go for it and take big risks in everything you do.
A dream TV show..hmm.. now there’s something people like me think about on a day to day basis…haha…drama kids, what you gonna do right? Anyways, after close consideration of all of the possible genres out there, and company sponsorships, I thought; what could coincide? Okay, so we’ve got all kinds of different sponsors for this pageant, but what I personally noticed is that many of the sponsor’s companies have to do with beauty. I mean, go figure, a beauty pageant being sponsored by beauty essentialist companies, yeah not that far out there.
Now the best thing to do when faced with a bunch of hair stylists, makeup artists, dress stores, etc, is to quite frankly have a show that involves a full body makeover; and that’s where all of the companies would come in. Aveda Institute and John Frieda would be where the hair makeovers would start, using tools of course, from the Goody hair line. Then we move to the face; this is where Bioré would come in and work their magic on getting rid of the faces imperfections such as pimples, blackheads, etc. Then MAC would do their part to use their products in the show to bring out the inner beauty of the contestants, followed by a full body makeover by Stephanie Joanne as a personal fitness trainer, including a clothing makeover supported by Sallazzo, Christina Swimwear, and Bells & Bows. While the back drop of the show would be supported by S-Trip and all of their many vacation spots on which the show could be hosted. Though the main idea of the show would be supported by Burman Books, turning their words to actions, as this show would be all about raising the self-confidence of the teens that attend it.
And now that we have all of the sponsorship details out of the way, I believe it’s time to announce the MAIN IDEA. This would be a television show that in a general outlook would almost be like a rehab for teenagers, though not in the sense of drug or alcohol addictions. This would be a resort where teens with obvious self esteem, confidence, or really any other kind of common condition as such could come to conquer their personal obstacles with me as the host of course. The girls who wear too much makeup to cover the scars of their early childhood, or the girl who eats at her feelings, this would be the place to come for recovery. The clinic/resort would be set up at a beautiful remote destination where the girls could be flown too, supported of course by S-Trip, so that all the while they are getting the help they need, they are also in a relaxed and beautifully enriching environment. With help from the Burman Books company, therapists and such staff would be hired to try to get to the bottom of these common teens with common problems that it seems most adolescents are facing. While the beauty and fitness crew would be there to help the young girls or boys to overcome appearance hurtles, and give them a new start to a new world (whether through less makeup, non-purple hair, or cases where girls don’t wear enough clothing, etc.). Then after the participants had been completely healed and able to stand on their own two feet again, they would be sent back to their families, with regular phone calls every two weeks from the clinic.
I don’t know a single person who doesn’t love the physical makeovers they see on television, but I know that for a fact, everyone loves seeing someone have a mental makeover when its for the good; especially when it comes to teenagers who are looking for as much help to settle their own adolescent problems without having to go public about them. The mix of extreme makeovers, with the fact that the drama and actions that go on without the resort would most likely turn the show into a new kind of teen soap opera that I think all adolescents out there are craving.
So a couple of weeks ago, in an attempt to do a good deed all the while also raising the rest of the money needed for the Free the Children foundation, my friends and I had decided to throw a dog wash. As my mom is a dog groomer it was quite easy to find the supplies needed to throw our little dog wash (after consulting with her of course). Next, we went and decided that the word needed to get out there and fast; so we started hanging signs around town, and spreading the word around the streets; we got to work.
A few of my friends had decided to come down to my front yard and help me not only set up, but to wash the dogs as well. Now, you have no idea how many people are in for a good deal on getting their pooches smelling good again; all the while helping not only one, but two causes. As half of the funding went to Free the Children, and the other went to funding a local homeless shelter for food and supplies. It truly did warm my heart seeing how many people came out that day, and the new stock of food and soon to be educated children, can be thanked to my lovely neighbours. I love dog people…
As my friends and I all own dogs of our own, we all truly had an amazing time that day, not only with each other, but also getting to meet the new puppies and their owners.
(TIP: for anyone out there trying to start a conversation with someone who owns a dog; all you really need to do is ask what breed it is…you are then set for conversation for the next 2 days.)
Anyways, all in all, the dog wash was a success, and we ended up raising just enough to complete the FTC money, and also buy a bunch of food for the homeless. It felt amazing to do something I love doing anyways to help out those who cannot help themselves. And after a long day of “wet dog smell”, my friends and I went out for a nice night on the town to celebrate. I think we all will be doing this again next summer for the shelter, as it felt amazing to see the people there so grateful to have people who finally cared about them.
Hmmmm… where would I go on a dream vacation? To be honest it’s not really a question that I would usually have answer for; as it’s not something I usually have time to just sit down and think about, as it is with most people I would assume. But upon a few days of thought I have managed to discover two things: one, that I most likely have ADHD, and two, that I am an absolute hopeless romantic until the end of my days. And therefore discovered that if I had an airplane under my control, without a second thought, I would point the plane’s nose to the East, and head off to the beautiful city of Venice, Italy.
Personally, I get enough of the waves and the sun in the summer here up at my boat, and enough of the mountains and ski tracks in the Ontario winters, but Venice…Venice is just as beautiful at any point in the year. So nonetheless, I would rather get the opportunity to bask in the architecture, art, food and fashion that Venice has to offer much more than going to a tropical destination and getting attacked by a sunburnt iguana.
Venice secretly has always been a dream of mine, and needless to say it has very easily made its way to the top of my very long bucket list. I mean, how could it not, how could a person possibly give up on visiting The Floating City, or miss a chance at a gondola ride down the Grand Canal? Venice isn’t really the ideal place to party, nor is it a place to chill on a beach, but Venice holds some of the most beautiful “must-see” things that Italy has to offer within its grounds. This is a place where it would be a blessing to get lost amongst the streets, just to get to discover the beauty withheld there.
An experience in Venice alone however, like most anything else, can be very lonesome, and may require the assistance of your friends to make the trip a time to remember. In my life I do, like everyone else out there have those “party friends” or the “get bored easily friends” who I think Venice might have the ability to bore. But my artistic friends; the actors, the singers, the musicians, the artists; these, these are the people who would probably give their left arm to even enter Venice for a day, and that is why this group of friends, are considered my best friends.
Besides the ever famous Venice designer clothing stores, the places we would visit…gosh I get excited just thinking about it…but the places we would visit would range pretty greatly. From the gorgeous St. Mark’s Basilica, to walking along the Doge’s Palace Bridge of Sighs, to getting to embrace St. Mark’s Square at night, when the people are all gone and the streetlights are up. But as an Italian girl, I would never give up the chance to window shop the Rialto Market right beside the Rialto bridge- a famous fish market that examples how the real Venetians get their food supply…as Venice isn’t very “grocery store oriented”. And besides the art in the museums (such as the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni museum which houses art done by Picasso, Pollock, and Calder…some of my favourite artists), the creativity of the Venetians spreads all the way to the streets of Burano Island. Taking a vaporetto down to Burano Island to me is a must see. There in Burano it’s almost as if the conformity we live in and experience here today doesn’t exist on there streets. Not only is it less crowded than Venice, but its multi-coloured, almost cartoon-like buildings are sure to bring a smile to your face.
Taking a trip by yourself can be an experience… sure, but I wouldn’t dare take this trip without my best friends at hand. The plane rides would be more exciting (…all of us even being in the same room is a pretty good time, especially when my friends are the kind who can make a party out of any situation the hold within their grasp), and the beauty of Venice shared is something that we would all remember for the rest of our lives as something that bonded us together in the best way it could. The dinners would be remarkable, the museums would be astounding, but Venice wouldn’t just help to make my friendship with these remarkable guys and girls grow stronger…our friendship would make Venice stronger.
Less than a week after the Victoria Day festivities had died down in my hometown of Nobleton, the next town over had decided to start up the oncoming fair season in the widely known across the township of King: Schomberg Fair.
Shortly after my activity in the previous fair, I was then heard of and asked to be a part of the Schomberg parade and fair, in which had also always been a big part of my childhood so hence of course I was more than thrilled to be asked to attend.
The Schomberg Fair for those who don’t know is a weekend long fair that is held right before summer starts in the arena of Schomberg. The event opens up with an early morning parade around town which then leads to the many rides, attractions and showings the fair has to offer. Tractor pulls, truck derbies and horse showings tend to be the showings, while Ferris wheels, fun houses and “scramble-your-brain” kind of rides entertain the forever young at heart. Families tend to come on out during the day before the excited teens come out to play at night- but young or old, everyone uses this event as a way to get together with friends and have a hollering good time.
My day started off with a bit of trouble with my ride to and from the fair, as well as my GPS leading me to a graveyard instead of the designated meeting spot for the parade. So nonetheless I was stressed, but just put on my crown, my sash and big smile and was on my way.
By the time I arrived, the butterflies had already begun to cause a nuisance in my stomach out of excitement.
I discovered I’d be riding with our town’s head firefighter in his 2005 red Thunderbird…I was thrilled. He proved to be an amazing man with a great taste in country music; hence instantly it was meant to be a good day.
The little girls once again were in awe of my crown and the parents were always joking around with impersonating queen waves; everyone was having a blast.
After the parade I got the chance to meet up with the Schomberg Teen Ambassadors and we performed our opening speeches together to commence the beginning of the fair. That day I met the mayor and everyone on council; they were more than welcoming to me, it was great.
I quickly ran down afterwards to the daycare down the street from the fair where I had promised I would meet some little children; they were adorable. The little girls questioned me with my duties of being a “princess”, and the little boys were almost too shy to say hello, but waved shyly from behind the teacher’s legs.
From there on I went and visited some previously well-known businesses in Schomberg before returning to the fair whereas to I spent the rest of my day with my lovely Schombergians. It was a miraculous day!
Welcome friends and unknown amigos to my first adventure into the world withholding a title far more exciting and longer than the one I had currently possessed.
Two weeks ago I had the very honor of being part of an event in which as a child I had always visited but never been a part of. I am referring of course to my hometown’s annual Victoria Day celebrations, which have always been a tradition in my family and elementary school to attend to.
My schedule for Monday, May 21st prior to this year has never been a simple “sleep in, vedge on the couch; kind of P.A. Day”. I’d get out of bed nice and early, eat my Special K and be on my way to the first event of the day; 11 am: the parade.
The Parade has always been one of those events in which nothing could hold me back from, especially not bad old Mother Nature; not rain, nor scorching heats could hold me back from watching those amazing floats go by, the kids throwing candies, or the beautiful people riding in antique cars. I always believed that to be in this parade, you had to be important enough to the community and the people in it, to be a part of it, and to be a good role model to the little ones who were always there to watch so eagerly.
I never would have thought I’d get to be in it, let alone have the honor of riding in a beautiful red Camaro with two wonderfully lovely and witty ladies as my drivers. For the time we drove around Nobleton, the people I saw and the way they opened their arms to me so eagerly warmed my heart to the very core. Though I have always been an active member of the community, and helped wherever I could, it’s not like you’ll ever meet the entire population, but boy they’d never treat you as a stranger. Everyone young and old was more than happy to say hello or even just wave to the new girl now sitting on the back of a car with a sash and a crown. Little girls called me “a real life Princess”, while Little boys thought I was Queen Victoria…I think the boys have been a tad misinformed though haha. At that moment, what had once gone as a fun and neat thing to be for a year…suddenly got so much deeper…
After the parade, a fair is held in the middle of town where local venders sell their goods and children play in fun houses and run around. As a kid I would never dream of missing the opportunity to see all of my classmates, new and old, having a blast at this fair. This year however was a whole new kind of unfamiliar and exciting. Everywhere I’d go there would be a family of the town I’d never met before who would want a picture with me, or just to shake my hand in congratulations. Parents asked if I could hug their children, and children asked just to meet me. By the end of the day I was so used to shaking hands and kissing babies that I really felt like some sort of celebrity.
The night ends with fireworks…beautiful fireworks…
And by the end of the night…I rediscovered how wonderful the people in my town truly are, and even discovered some things within myself.
Like how amazing it feels to become a child’s role model.
Or how incredible it is to take part in something you never dreamed you could have accomplished as a child.
And finally…what an honor it is to be in the position I am.
As the car dives through the street, and children look up at you with that smile of utter respect and hope, the only thing you can feel is honor and pure joy in knowing that that little girl just thinks the world of you…
My name is Shelby-Lynn Prioriello, I am 16 years of age, and recently was given the title of Miss Teen King Township-World in the provincial Miss Teen Canada-World round for being one of the finalists. I’m from a small horse ranch in Nobleton, and have lived there most of my life. I am a goal oriented high school student with big plans for my future, I have a positive outlook on life and try to help my community in every way I can. I entered this pageant because I wanted to prove that a girl from a small town, on a small farm, could get out there and make a difference in her community, and quite possibly the country.
I am a head drama student at my school, and have always been interested in the arts and literature. My personal life consists of horse back riding, boating, swimming, singing (classical), writing poetry, and several different types of aerobic activities.
I don’t look at this pageant as a chance to be crowned “the prettiest”, I look at this pageant as a way to get out and try to do something amazing for the rest of the country. As one person, you may not have the power to make a big change, but that’s only when you’re alone, as soon as you get the power to bring people together, you have the ability to fix whatever you need to in this world. The platform that I’ve chosen to bring attention to is the ending of bystander apathy; the bystander effect is something that has affected us all at some point, whether in the form of high school bullying, or in the severe case of a serious murder in which no one calls for help. I believe that if someone needs help, we shouldn’t be afraid to give it.
I look very much forward to blogging with you and sharing my experiences this year whilest I get the privilege to hold my title. Talk again soon 🙂
All the best,