Kennedy re­flects on pageant ex­pe­ri­ence

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - BY MIKA REKAI

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.

So­cial Sup­port

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.

Care­ful prepa­ra­tions

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.

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