To be heard
Miss NL pageant offers contestants chance to get message out
Ask any contestant at the Miss Newfoundland and Labrador pageant and they will tell you the same thing.
It is a great vehicle to get their message out on a subject close to their hearts.
Hundreds of people attend the event annually, giving contestants the perfect opportunity, and a captive audience, to inform and educate people on a variety of subjects. This year’s event was no different. Each of the seven contestants were required to give a short speech on the subject of their choice.
Two of the contestants were from the Conception Bay North region.
“How often do I get to stand on a stage in front of a large audience and share my message,” said Carbonear’s Gina Colbourne. Colbourne, 23, spoke on women and heart health. “If there is one person in the audience who looks up the signs for women, then I have accomplished a goal for sure,” she said.
The other local contestant was Kourtney Lake, 20, of Bay Roberts.
How often do I get to stand on a stage in front of a large audience and share my message.
— Gina Colbourne
She recently made history when she became the first mother contestant in the 55-year history of the event.
Not surprisingly, Lake chose single motherhood as a subject.
“I’m the first single mother to be on stage, and I’m proud of that,” she said. “Hopefully, next year, there are more mothers up there.”
Second place finish
Colbourne was the second place finisher to winner Charlotte Gushue of Gander.
She was named Miss Teen Trinity Conception in 2006 and was the first winner of that pageant to participate in the Miss NL pageant.
There was a sense of anticipation in the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace as Colbourne’s name was called.
After Melissa Lannon of Labrador City was named the second runner-up, that sense of anticipation was even thicker.
Next up was the naming of the first runner-up. That’s when Colbourne’s name was called, much to the delight of the numerous family and friends in attendance.
After hearing her name, she made her way across the stage and took her sash from 2012-13 Miss NL Chelsea Ash, Colbourne made her first turn of the catwalk.
“It feels so excellent,” she said. “I had no idea it was coming.
“To be recognized for your efforts and your abilities is a pretty great feeling.”
Contestants were put through a series of trials, which included a fitness test, an impromptu question period, public speaking and an interview with the four judges.
Colbourne is in her second year of medical school at Memorial University after graduating with a nursing degree, making the dean’s list in the process.
She is the daughter of John and Judy Colbourne of Carbon- ear.
A native of Carbonear, Colbourne said she has always wanted to be a part of the pageant.
“I’ve been literally watching this pageant since I was 10,” said Colbourne. “I always said, ‘I wish I could do it, I wish I could do it.’
“This year I finally got the courage to do it, and I did well, I guess.”
In an interesting twist, Colbourne has a unique connection with both Gushue and the second runner up, Melissa Lannon of Labrador City. All three are roommates in St. John’s. “We call ourselves the dream room now,” said Colbourne. “They’re roommates and best friends. It’s awesome.”
Each contestant had glowing reviews on the pageant experience.
Both said they will cherish the friendships made at the event.
“It was absolutely crazy, it was wonderful, it was amazing,” Lake said of her pageant experience.
Bay Roberts’ Kourtney Lake.
Carbonear’s Gina Colbourne.