Kennedy reflects on pageant experience
Nicole Kennedy might not have brought home the crown, but that doesn’t mean she left the Miss Teen Canada-World pageant empty handed. “I met a lot of new people,” she said. Last week, the 14-year-old returned from the national pageant in Toronto, and described the experience as “really, really busy.”
“ We had a lot of rehearsals. We went on a bus tour, we went shopping at Style Exchange where we all got 50 per cent off, and we also went to a lot of restaurants.”
But Kennedy said she brought home a lot more from the experience than just clothes.
“I’ve become more confident in myself,” she said.
Kennedy was one of four contestants from the province to compete at the event. She was originally uncertain about whether or not she wanted to compete.
“ But I had a friend who did it last year and my mom said I should do it just for fun.”
Earlier this year, Kennedy took home the People’s Choice Award at the Miss Newfoundland Labrador pageant.This award is not given out by pageant judges, but is won by the contestant who received the most votes in an online vote.
This success, she said, is in large part due to her large online social network. Her Facebook page, which is diligently updated by her mother, Christine, has almost 1,300 members.
Beauty pageants have been the subject of controversy for decades, and are often criticized for being shallow, sexist and outdated. Kennedy, however, thinks pageants are simply misunderstood.
“ There are a lot of stereotypes,” she said. “ The media portrays them wrong. It’s not all about looks. I know it’s a cliché, but the motto of the pageant is ‘ be your own kind of beautiful,’ and that’s kind of true.”
It took a lot of effort to attend the Miss Teen Canada-World event.
“ It was a lot of fundraising. There was also a lot of stuff I had to get. I needed two ball gowns, four cocktail dresses, and things like hair extensions were optional.”
All pageant contestants were also required to keep a blog during the run-up to the competition. Kennedy updated hers almost daily with stories and pictures about her fundraising efforts, her healthy diet and her fitness regime.
The hard work paid off, Kennedy said, when she finally arrived in Toronto.
Being an inspiration
“It was great, going out with our crowns and our sashes. Everyone wanted to get pictures with us. It’s great to be an inspiration to someone.”
When asked why pageant girls might be so inspiring, Kennedy paused, then stated: “It think it’s because of our confidence and our appearance. But also because we’re from all over the country and represent different provinces.”
The Spaniard’s Bay teen, who will be starting Level I at Ascension Collegiate in the fall, intends to keep competing in pageants.
“It’s a great way to get noticed,” she said.