Hey everyone! My name is Sahia and welcome to my blog! I’m a finalist from London, Ontario and I am beyond excited to be able to share my experience to the Miss Teenage Canada National pageant with all of you! As some of you may know, I was 1st Runner Up at the Miss Teenage Ontario 2017 Pageant, therefor crowned the new Miss Teenage Southern Ontario 2017!

A bit about me…

I was born and raised in Colombia. I lived there with my Mom and Dad ( and soon after welcomed my little brother into our family). At the age of 7, my family and I fled our home and were sponsored as refugees to come start a new life in Canada in hopes for a safer environment and brighter future. I was blessed to be able to grow up bicultural, being able to experience two different worlds in one. Now I’m not going to lie, having to leave all your family and loved ones behind and start a new life wasn’t easy. I had to adapt to a new environment and way of life, learn a completely new language, and start fresh. Luckily, with the help from my supportive family and newly made friends, it was an experience that I’ll always be proud of myself for overcoming!

Moving here, I promised myself I would make the most out of this milestone in my life and take as much advantage out of it as I could. I enrolled in a French Immersion school in seventh grade, in hopes of expanding my knowledge and love for languages, while also attending Korean School for two years as well. Since my early childhood years, I always had a passion for the arts. Visual Arts, Acting, and Dance was something I really loved to do. It has brought me to where I most involve myself with within school. Now, at 15 years old, I have achieved things that I never thought I’d be capable of achieving, such as becoming a model, participating in a pageants (which I never thought I’d do), raise awareness on issues I am passionate about, and even manage my own department within my family owned company. Canada has now become my beloved home, and has opened so many doors for me, the possibilities are endless!

Growing up I’ve been a very compassionate person. I always feel for others and enjoy helping those in need. Having to grow up experiencing things that I shouldn’t have had to go through as a kid has inspired me to help those who are going through the same obstacles as I have, and that’s what has lead me to my platform!

I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Miss Teenage Ontario 2016/Miss Supranational 2016, Hannah Begovic! She’s the sweetest person you’ll ever meet, can’t wait to see what more success comes her way!

What is my platform?

As I said above, I immigrated to Canada as a refugee. Going through that experience, I know what it personally feels like to feel excluded and like you don’t “fit in”. Even at one point, I began to start feeling ashamed and embarrassed of my own culture, trying to hide my roots as much as possible to avoid being an “outcast”.

This has encouraged me to raise awareness on the acceptance of diversity and multiculturalism. I want not just kids, but everyone in general to feel accepted and welcomed without having their race, culture, or religion be an issue. I want new Canadians to feel like they can be a part of Canada and its culture, without having to disregard and forget where they came from. Even now, many people experience discrimination, making it more difficult to adapt to and live their lives. Genocide has become a big issue that’s talked upon worldwide, and it’s something that can not be ignored. I believe Canada is a role model nation to the world, welcoming those who are in need, and accepting everyones differences, because that’s what should makes us so powerful and united. Our unification is our strongest attribute.

Behold! The official Ontario finalists for the Miss Teenage Canada 2017 Pageant! Congratulations to all of these wonderful ladies, you guys were exceptional. Congratulations to Miana for winning the Miss Teenage Ontario 2017 title; can’t wait to see you all this summer at nationals!

What I plan on doing with my platform…

To me, having a vision is one thing, but taking action and acting upon it is another.

Now that I have finally received my Miss Teenage Southern Ontario 2017 sash, I am ready to start involving myself even more within my community to promote my platform and title! I’ve brainstormed a couple ideas on how I can help and volunteer within my community, as well as raise money for Free The Children! I plan to involve myself with helping welcome the refugees and immigrants of my community, and team up with a couple organizations to help those out in need! I am currently planning a fundraiser for the near future, to collect some donations for Free The Children!

Very special thank you to my official gown sponsors, Elle Couture! Go check them out for wonderful dresses for every occasion!

I hope you guys can keep up with me as I continue to represent my title of Miss Teenage Southern Ontario 2017 throughout my journey to the Miss Teenage Canada Pageant!

Can’t wait to let you guys in on what’s next and hope to make you all proud:)

Don’t forget to follow me on my official social medias to keep track of me and what’s next to come:

Facebook Page: @MissTeenageSouthernOntario2017

Instagram: @missteenagesouthernontario2017

Twitter: @MTSOntario2017

Thank you for reading my blog, and come back soon for more updates!

XOXO,

Sahia, Miss Teenage Southern Ontario 2017

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My oh my how quickly has time flown by! It’s been almost a month since my last blog post, and for that I apologize. The reality is that I haven’t been doing anything too crazy, mostly just enjoying my summer vacation with friends and family. I hope you all had a wonderful summer and long weekend!

Like many students in Ontario, I start school tomorrow. I’m heading into my grade 11 year, a very important and very busy year that I plan on making the best of. I’ve got a rather crazy course load, but I have some pretty cool teachers and classmates so it’ll be okay.

As I start my third year of high school, I’ve come up with a few things to always keep in mind.

  1. Start with a positive attitude, and keep it up year round. It’ll make things more fun and the year will go by faster.
  2. Stay organized. School can be frustrating when you’re getting a lot of work and papers, so the easiest way not to get stressed is by keeping everything organized.
  3. Stay away from the drama. Except for the course, because that’s pretty cool.
  4. Always be kind. It’s pretty simple, but it can make a huge difference in people’s lives.
  5. It’s okay to need help. Personally, I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for my friends and family. Even one person supporting you makes a huge difference.
  6. Take breaks and reward yourself. This is one I always have an issue with, because I’m always on the go. Unless you want to burnout before the year ends, stop and take breaks when you need them.
  7. Communicate! With friends, family, classmates, and especially teachers! They are there to help you, but they can’t if you don’t keep them in the know!
  8. Join extra curricular activities! If you’re schedule permits, join a club or two that interests you. You’ll meet new people, do something you like, and you’ll have one more thing for your resume.
  9. Keep “your spaces” organized. By that I mean your locker, desk, etc. Unless you want to always be losing things, in which case go ahead.
  10. ENJOY YOURSELF! Although it may not seem like it, high school goes by fast so try and enjoy as much of it as possible.

Those weren’t in any particular order, more just some of my random thoughts. To everyone who has already returned to school or will be soon, have a wonderful school year. I wish you the best of luck!

Xoxo, Cristina

Written by: Cristina
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And by I, I mean my feet. 🙂

It has been one long and unforgettable week. As I sit here writing this post, I wear no makeup, comfy clothes, and have bare feet. It is such a change from the week of perfection and my feet are glad to not be constrained by heels.

Now of course, my complaining of pain doesn’t mean the week wasn’t great. Quite the opposite in fact. If you’ve kept up with me on my journey so far, you would know we have done some incredible things. I have also met some of my new best friends (shout out to Ana, Cara, Emily, Mackenzie, Hannah, and so many other girls!!) and made lots of future travel plans. If I were to describe this week in a phrase, it would have to be “an unforgettable experience”. Nowhere else would I have gotten to play with baby lion and tiger cubs, watch a magic show by the falls, and eat baby dragons with my hands while drinking unicorn tears. Thank you so much to Michelle, Christi, and everyone else who made this week possible.

Although I didn’t win the crown, that’s okay! I gained so much more from this week and have learned a lot about myself in the process. Congratulations to Sarah Wojcik for winning the title of Miss Teenage Canada and her runner-up Alexis Gardner for an equally well done job. I look forward to keeping up with your adventures – I’m sure you will both go far, being so kind and beautiful!

My not winning the crown doesn’t mean my reign is over. I am still Miss Teenage Southern Ontario 2015, and will continue to be until I crown the next MTSO in January 2016. In the meantime, I will still go to events and promote my platform. Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far on my journey – I hope you will continue to do so. Thank you to all my wonderful sponsors, my friends, my family, and my pageant sisters for being the reason I have been able to achieve all I have so far. It’s been a long and tough road, but it’s also been a ton of fun. I hope these next few months will continue to be exciting, and don’t worry, I’ll still update you all 🙂

Thank you once again to everyone, and another huge congratulations to Sarah!

Xoxo, Cristina

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I apologize for lack of pictures, but it is just too crazy right now and pics are so time consuming. Hope you guys can forgive me!

Preliminaries
Ahh sleeping in. What a beautiful thing. We woke up nervous but excited for the evening that was to come. We went down for breakfast and then to the ballroom for rehearsals. After a couple hours we switched to the top floor for a seminar with the lovely Melinda Shenkar (from Degrassi!). She did an amazing little presentation about confidence and self esteem, as well as how to express and take care of yourself. Next her and her friends showed us some makeup techniques and how to take care of your face and body.

After that we went to a yummy lunch of pizza from Panago and then back to rehearsal. That finished pretty quickly and we had some free time to practice walks as we were taken to get our bathing suits. I ended up with a nice black suit, although I saw some beautiful blue and pink ones too! We also had to start getting ready for hair and makeup, but we soon found out we were seriously lacking in makeup artist. Ruh-roh… There was a bit of a panic, but we realized it would be a-okay.

Show night. Oh my gosh. Well it started super late, but that’s okay because we looked fabulous! The show itself was a ton of fun once I got past the nerves. I think I did a pretty good job, but we’ll see tonight 😉 I am so proud of all my girls for doing an amazing job l, and I can’t wait to see the results!

Talent Gala
The day started off pretty chill, with a normal wake-up call for breakfast. We spent most of the day in rehearsals with Shawn and James (both are fabulous choreographers!!) which was super fun. At 5 we were released to get ready for the evening – the gala! I wore a long yellow gown with gold detailing (thanks mummy!) and I absolutely loved it! The show itself was amazing and I am so in awe of how talented each individual was. No matter the outcome ladies… You killed it! The show ended just before midnight, and we were taken up to floor 12 for a surprise – a gift bag with products from our sponsors! That was super fun, but we were so exhausted and just wanted to hop into bed. Now we’re heading out to the show location to practice! Wish me luck!

Xoxo, Cristina

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DAY 5

IMG_20150806_095809788We got to take turns playing and taking pictures with the cubs, but they got really tired by the end and had to go for a nap. In the meantime, we had the joy of meeting Maurice… a ring-tailed lemur! A total cutie, Maurice was great at following commands like sit, shoulder (as in jump on my shoulder), and jump. SO ADORABLE. After that, we got an hour to roam the zoo and see other animals. I was with a couple of girls who had never seen a zebra before, so it was so funny to see their faces as we reached the zebra enclosure. My favourite part was visiting the llamas and getting to feed them. Overall, the zoo was incredible and I seriously want to go back soon.

Next we went for lunch at the Eaton Centre, which you can read about in another post. This was a ton of fun and I felt like a celebrity as we walked around the mall. Lots of people stopped to stare, take pictures, or talk to us. The funniest moment was when a group of teenage boys came to a couple of 11855411_1013978571967396_1259882892_nOntario girls and said “We’re from British Columbia and have an assignment to take picture with something relating to Ontario. Can it be you?” It was so funny because we seriously doubted there was an assignment, but we didn’t mind. I love taking pictures with people! After this mall, we moved on to another… Yorkdale Mall! They were so wonderful in sponsoring us with little gift cards and VIP cards. Thank you so much to them! I used mine to buy chocolate 😉 Aha we took lots more pictures there and did a bit of quick shopping before we realized we were quite hungry and wanted dinner!

Dinner was legit my favourite part of this week so far. We went to Medieval Times, the coolest restaurant in all of Toronto. For those that don’t know what it is, it’s basically dinner and a show set in medieval times. All the servers are dressed as wenches and there are jousts happening as you eat dinner (WITH YOUR HANDS!!).

This photo is dark but shows the half a chicken we had to attempt to eat without utensils

This photo is dark but shows the half a chicken we had to attempt to eat without utensils

Each section of the restaurant has a colour, and you have to cheer as loud as you can for the knight with your colour. We took it a bit… far. We were in the red section and we went crazy cheering for our knight. Eating the meal was hilarious because there were no utensils and some of the girls were unsure of what to do. Personally, I didn’t mind it and found it kind of fun!

The day was absolutely wonderful and I hope all other future MTC girls get such a great experience. The hugest of thank yous to our chaperones and lovely sponsors for making all of this possible – we truly appreciate it!

Xoxo, Cristina

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DAY 3

To sum it up in a word… REHEARSALS! We spent all morning and afternoon with our amazing choreographer learning how to walk and the dances for this weekend’s shows. It was lots of fun, but so much work! People often underestimate pageant girls – think walking in stilettos is hard? Try dancing while also smile and looking like you’re not in pain! We got occasional breaks, but oh boy were my feet tired. After rehearsals, we were in for the biggest treat yet! WE GOT TO GO OUTSIDE! Now, this may not seem like much until you remember we had yet to leave the hotel since arriving. We were eager to go out, even if it was just to the restaurant down the street.

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Dinner with the roomie!

At Lone Star we sat in booths and tables chatting with one another and eating fajitas. It was wonderful to get to talk with people (specifically Mackenzie, Alysha, Emily, and Kayla) and not worry about various pageant things. The staff were super awesome and everyone else in the restaurant couldn’t stop staring (not that I blame them. I’d do the same!) The night ended early, with just the warning that we would be called at some point for a dress fitting. My floor was eventually called and we piled into the elevator with two other people and all the MTC gals. We went up a couple floors… and then stopped. The elevator broke as we were on it, and one of the gentlemen on the elevator with us pried open the doors as our chaperone called the emergency button. We were saved pretty quickly, but it made for an eventful and kind of scary night! (It ended positively though! The dresses are beautiful!!!)

DAY 4

Dragonboating!

Dragonboating!

WE WENT OUT. AGAIN. Today’s adventures started bright and early, before we’d even had any breakfast! We hopped on the buses and drove to an adorable diner called Egglicious, where we have eggs (duh), bacon, potatoes, and buttered bread. It was delicious and the staff was so friendly. I loved talking with them all, as well as my wonderful tablemates. Of course, the day had just begun. Next we went for a scenic walk along the river and made our way to the Mississauga Canoe Club where we were greeted by some enthusiastic staff that were excited to teach us all about dragonboating! We went in 4 separate boats of 20 (two at a time) and got to play games and race. It was hilarious because we had a sing-a-long with Francesca to help our boat keep the rhythm. Surprisingly it worked, because we won every race!

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My girls: Ana (C) and Isha (R)

After that adventure, we were told we’d have an hour or so to change and get cleaned up on the bus before arriving at our destination for dinner. Normally I don’t like surprises, so it was quite interesting to not know what to expect. However, as an Ontario girl it became pretty obvious where were going as we passed by Hamilton. NIAGARA FALLS! Apparently it’s the first year they’ve taken girls, so I felt quite honoured!

In Niagara Falls we went to a super cool magic show at the Greg Frewin Theatre. It featured tigers, parrots, dogs, and all sorts of other animals. I couldn’t figure out how any of the trucks worked and sat with my mouth open in shock the entire time. We also had a wonderful buffet while we were there and talked to a lovely family from the United States. The night was so much fun, but it wasn’t over yet!

The falllls

The falllls

We were in for a surprise…THE ACTUAL FALLS! We didn’t have a lot of time because of the drive back, but I know the out of province girls loved it. Personally, I’ve been several times but it was nice to be able to take pictures and laugh at the girls’ amazed faces. After we finished there we got back on the bus to drive home and most of us fell asleep. When we arrived at the hotel we were told of the next day’s plans… A petting zoo! I already knew the plan, but I was still just as excited! We all fell asleep quickly, dreaming of the fun day we had in store.

(To Be Continued really soon… aka as soon as I finish writing! Xoxo, Cris)

Written by: Cristina
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Today was absolutely magnificent and full details will come soon, but in the meantime I just HAVE to tell you about where we went to lunch today – Richtree Taco and Burrito Truck! It was a whole new take on TacoTuesday, but SO GOOD. We started off by giving the server our name (or in my case a nickname because spelling my name is hard) and then either getting 3 tacos or a burrito. I got a chicken burrito with all sorts of yummy things in it, and a Cola in an adorable glass bottle. It was absolutely delicious, but be warned – it is a bit spicy! I didn’t mind though, because the ingredients were so yummy and everyone working there was so nice! (Although, I would assume having a sash and crown makes people like you more – that’s just my guess)

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With Shirley (L) and Kayla (R) 🙂

There was one thing about Richtree Restaurants that caught my eye and that is that the menu items use all natural, fresh, local, and in season ingredients. They even include antibiotic and hormone free meat! I was super impressed with the quality of the food, and was glad to hear that they have four open kitchen restaurants in Ontario: the Eaton Centre (where we went), Bayview/York Mills Centre, College Parj, and Square One Mississauga! I’ll be sure to stop by at one of those places in the future to get another delicious burrito! Or hey, maybe I’ll try tacos next time!

Richtree Website: http://richtreenaturalmarket.com

Richtree Facebook: /RichtreeMarket

Richtree Twitter: @RichtreeMarket

Richtree Instagram: RichtreeMarket

Xoxo, Cristina

Written by: Cristina
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Oh my goodness. I am SO tired (but happy!) and it’s only the second day! It’s been an absolute blast, and although a bit hectic, a wonderful experience. I’m gonna start right at the beginning, and work my way up to last night 🙂

DAY 1

Heading out!

Heading out!

I was one of the later delegates to arrive (because yay driving). I had waaaay too many bags and my dad wasn’t allowed to help me beyond the elevator, so that was the first of many adventures. In the main room, I was greeted with tons of girls and even more luggage. I went around and introduced myself to most of the girls only to find out most of them knew of me because of social media! From there we were called out in small groups to go meet our roommates and head to our rooms. My roommate, Emily (Miss Teenage West Calgary) is a super cool girl and we quickly found a lot of things we had in common. We also discovered a door leading to the next room… which happened to have too more lovely MTC delegates: Sara (Miss Teenage Northern BC) and Sammi (Miss Teenage South Calgary).

Eating welcome cake with Anastasia :)

Eating welcome cake with Anastasia 🙂

We all unpacked and talked but were soon called for yet another exciting event… THE WELCOME PARTY! We all went back up to the main room where we registered, got some goodies, and ate some food. We got some beautiful jewelry from Bells and Bows, some stylish pink baseball caps, and our pageant shoes! We also took a big group shot as the reigning Miss Teenage Canada (Francesca McFadden if you somehow don’t know her) cut our welcome cake! We had a lovely evening that ended with a relatively calm bedtime… but we knew the day to come was going to be CRAZY.

Day 2

Day 2 was super busy, but lots of fun! I woke up crazy early (nerves I guess?) but had to be ready for 9:30 so I took my time getting up. We skipped doing our hair and makeup because today was photoshoot day and so it was being done for us! We went for breakfast super quickly and then to the artists to be beautified. My wonderful stylist (Keisha from

My photoshoot dress :)

My photoshoot dress 🙂

Saints Cosmetics in Aurora, Ontario) did an amazing job on my makeup, and then my hair stylist did tight little ringlets that relaxed into beautiful waves. I was so impressed and happy with the turnout!

Waiting for our photoshoots!

Waiting for our photoshoots!

Next we went downstairs and changed into our photoshoot dresses. The photoshoot was a bit awkward at first as we settled into a comfortable routine, but by the end I was having so much fun! The photographer was great at giving directions, and I felt like a real model! After that we had interviews (but shhhhhhh. no talking about those!!)

The last thing of the day was videoshoots, which we did with an absolutely hilarious videographer that was quick to help us out and make us feel more natural (because there’s nothing natural about smiling and playing with your hair in dead silence 😛 ). The awkward feeling never really went away, but it certainly improved!

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My Ontario girls <3

Finally we were done for the day and had a bit of downtime to relax in our rooms and unwind from a busy day before heading down to the buffet for dinner. It was so much fun to just hang out with the girls and be regular teenagers. I hung out with my roommates as well as Anastasia (Miss Teenage Central Nova Scotia), Mackenzie (Miss Teenage Airdrie), and Hannah (Miss Teenage Halifax). They are all so cute and funny and I’m so glad to have met them <3

Overall, the first two days have been an absolute blast! Thank you to Michelle, Christi, Ryan, Marc, Courtney, Cheskie, and everyone else involved in running this/chaperoning us. It’s been a ton of fun and although the elevators are a hassle, we’re managing.

Until next update,

Xoxo, Cristina

 

Written by: Cristina
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The moment I have been waiting for these last 6 months… It’s almost time to go to pageant week! This post exists for two reasons. The first is to thank everyone who’s helped me get where I am today; the second is to reflect on how far I have come in the last 7 months since winning my title.

Let’s start with the first. The thank yous.

Thank you to all my amazing sponsors for their generous contributions to help with pageant fees, to everyone who donated to Free the Children, and to every person who followed me on social media.

Thank you to my wonderful friends for putting up with my crazy schedule. I’m sorry for all the times I had to say no to going out because I had an event, and you’re the absolute best for always sharing my updates and shouting (literally shouting) my title to the world. You guys are the reason I’m still sane, and I love you all <3

Thank you to my fabulous family for all the love and support these last few months. Thank you DAddy for driving me places, editing my posts and letters, and always being there to give me a hug when I needed it. Thank you Mummy for all the shopping trips, getting your friends to like and share my page, and the encouraging words. Thanks Sorina for letting me borrow clothes, for editing things, and dealing with a very stressed out me. Thanks to Adrian for being way better at grammar and way calmer than I am. You guys are the bestest people ever and I would not have made it this far without you.

Finally, a huge thank you goes to all my pageant sisters. You have all been so helpful in offering both life and pageant advice, and just helping out with whatever one of us may need. It has been so much fun talking to you ladies in our group chat, and I cannot wait to meet you all in person! Best of luck to all of you, because you are all so beautiful and kind!

Part 2 – A personal reflection

Wow. Just wow. Ever since the first moment I got crowned 6 months ago, I still can’t quite grasp the fact that I am Miss Teenage Southern Ontario. Yes, I have the sash and crown to prove it, but it still feels unreal. Now, an hour before I am set to leave on for one of the greatest adventures of my life, I still don’t believe it! I am so honoured to have been chosen to represent this region, and I can’t wait to see what this week will bring me.

No matter what the results may be, I know that this experience will have been worth it. I have made life-long friends without having even met them in person. We manage the timezones (9 hours between Dijon and Vancouver), our busy schedules, and all our other commitments and made an effort to keep up with one another. I may not recognize their faces when I arrive, but I still know that Anastasia loves Doctor Who, Alysha’s obsessed with Taylor Swift, Carrington is a fantastic boxer, and Angel is an amazing actress. (Plus a zillion other little facts about other girls).

The Miss Teenage Canada competition isn’t just about the nicest dress, the best walk, or the most money raised. Sure, that’s important, but at the end of the day, I’m more likely to remember my closest girlfriends’ personalities not their clothes. That being said, to whoever does win MTC, congratulations! I am so proud of you and all you have achieved, and you should know your MTC Sisters will always be by your side.

That’s all for now, as I’m about to do some last minute prep and then get in the car to go. More updates soon!

Xoxo, Cristina

Written by: Cristina
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