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As my final month as the reigning Miss Teen New Westminster-World 2012 comes to an end, I can’t help but be filled with a whirlwind of emotions. This past year has been full of memories, new experiences, opportunities and people I will never forget.
I was crowned Miss Teen New Westminster-World 2012 almost a year ago, on March 4th, 2012. As the Miss British Columbia-World 2012 pageant concluded, the names of the girls representing BC in the national pageant began to be announced. One after another the selected girls stepped forward, received their crown and bouquet and stepped aside. I watched, shaking inside as each position was filled. I thought about what the 2011 national delegates had said about their trip to Toronto. I thought about the fun they had, the events they attended prior to the national pageant, the pride bestowed upon them with their regional title, the friends they had made and the experiences they had shared with one another. And then…my name was called.
Sitting in my room writing this blog almost a year later, I could have never guessed how my life would change from that day forward. But trust me, it truly has. From that day forward, all I could think about was the National pageant in Toronto the coming Summer. I spent my nights researching and learning about past Miss Teen Canada-World delegates, their personal experiences and highlights throughout their year-long reigns. I spent my days in English class writing practise interview questions, my business class was spent looking up pageant gowns and Social Studies was dedicated to learning all I could about the other national finalists.
Weekends leading up to the National Pageant were jam-packed with events and appearances. Overall, I had the honour to attend a wide variety of events throughout my community. Events and appearance ranged from organizing activities at a local fairs and celebrations, walking in New Westminster’s very own Hyack parade to bake sales with Miss Teen Burnaby—Cecilia Ferreira, the Vancouver Canada Day parade with Miss Teen Vancouver—Nadia Afshar, to walking in a Vancouver fashion show! Through these various events I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and work with so many different people, several of which I have remained in contact with, (which I’m extremely grateful for)!! 😀
The national pageant in Toronto absolutely flew by with events and appearances including Much Music, Breakfast Television, photoshoots, interviews, rehearsals, a trip to the CN Tower and muuuch much more, all of which equated to laaate nights and very early mornings! My experience in Toronto wouldn’t be the memorable one that it is if it weren’t for my amaaaaazing and hilarious roomie Hayleigh McGrath!! <3 If it weren’t for this girl I don’t know how I would have gotten up every morning! I have to admit though, when I found out Michelle was picking our roommates I was a little sceptical at first, unsure if I would really be paired up with a “good” roommate. But 2013 delegates, I can assure you; Michelle will do a fantastic job!!
To the 2013 Miss Teen Canada-World national delegates, CONGRATS on making it this far!! Making it to Toronto is a huuge accomplishment! Don’t let this intimidate you, yet at the same time, don’t let it control you either. Enjoy your new title and make the most out of it and every opportunity and experience that comes along with it—you only have it for a year! Finally, accept every challenge that comes your way and embrace it, don’t talk yourself out of it, build yourself up to it! Every challenge is a new learning experience, adventure and opportunity. Every person’s doubt along the way should only ever be your fuel to persevere and keep going. And most importantly, don’t ever let an opportunity pass you by, be able to look back and say, “I can’t believe I did that” rather than “I wish I did that”.
A HUGE congratulations to Megha Sandhu: Miss Teen Canada-World 2012!! She has done an absolutely amazing job with her title so far! All the best to her and for the remainder of her reign! <3
As for my life right now, it’s running full speed ahead, I’m completing grade 10 while juggling sports, clubs, volunteering, modeling as well as friends and family.
Finally, thank you SO much to everyone who contributed in one way or another to make my year the incredible one that it was! Words cannot describe my gratitude! –Michelle, Chris, Christie, Darlene, Rob, Sean, all the MTBC-W and MTC-W delegates, my friends, family and everyone else along the way: THANK YOU!! :* <3
Forever and always,
Hannah Block – Miss Teen New Westminster-World 2012
–”So why not, take a crazy chance, why not, do a crazy dance, if you lose a moment, you might lose a lot, so why not, why not” -Hilary Duff
The night of Monday July 15th was a night of true inspiration, motivation, empowerment and self-esteem awareness.
The amazing evening began with a very inspirational message from Melani Chong. Melani began her speech in a very interesting way, having all of us attending the Mentor Night stand up and do a quick relaxation breathing exercise. This made us all feel much more at ease, (as we were all a little unsure of what to expect). Melani is an accomplished extremely talented woman in the fashion and beauty industry, a Canadian Ford Model as well as a mother of two children. If this doesn’t seem like a handful already, she recently began producing her own line of skin care products—Soya Boutique.
Melani Chong’s Story: All through High School Melani was an athlete. One day, at the age of 17, Melani and her father were having a conversation and her father mentioned to her that there was going to be a Ford Supermodel search, held at a local mall. Instantly Melani’s mind went to that negative place, thinking, “I couldn’t be a model, I’m into sports”. Other thoughts flooded her head—she didn’t have the self-confidence, she didn’t believe she could be a model. Her father simply told her, “Do whatever you want to do”.
A few weeks later, Melani’s father asked her if she wanted to accompany him to the mall, predicting the obvious reaction of a 17 year-old girl. Of course, Melani said “yes”. While walking through the mall, Melani and her father “stumbled” upon the model search (which her father had brought up a few weeks prior, not getting the reaction he had hoped for).
At this point, Melani knew she had nothing to lose. Would it really change anything to get a few photographs taken and submitted along with hundreds of other beautiful teenage girls?
A few weeks later, Melani was informed that she was in the top 100 in the Ford Supermodel search and later, much to her surprise, was chosen as a finalist and signed with Ford!! While modeling with Ford, Melani continued working with make-up and clothing, eventually creating a very smooth transition for herself, from modeling with Ford to becoming a stylist. This was a truly unexpected incredible part of Melani’s life, as she says, “you may not realize many opportunities, they may just happen. Embrace every opportunity set before you”. During this time in her life, Melani discovered many of her true talents, along with her many of her struggles and challenges.
Working as a stylist was great, however, Melani “knew there was more for her…” She soon became pregnant with her first son. Following this, she began developing and producing a personal skin care line–Soya Boutique. Here, “beauty in simplicity” is without a doubt a main focus for Melani as all of the skin care products are organic and natural.
With the use of her life story, Melani was able to provide us all with new thoughts, ideas, drive and ambition. Life is ever-changing; each new experience is only a stepping stone. Live life with PASSION, focus, drive and integrity as “Passion + Drive + Actions=Longevity”.
Next a young, bubbly, excited blonde steps towards the microphone. With a simile from ear-to-ear, no one would guess what her past truly entailed. She started off just as expected, very happily, saying, “How’s everyone doing? I can’t wait to meet you, although I know most of you quite well already”. The ending to this statement caught us all a little off guard. We had never met this woman in our lives…how would she ever know anything about us? Then she said, “I’ve read each and every one of your blogs and I think we all have a lot in common. Instantly we were all intrigued as we leaned in to listen. The speaker continued, “I’m Katrina Hadden, a health and wellness specialist, size 12 model, author of the best-selling self-help book, “Making It In High Heels”, a life coach as well as a motivational speaker”.
Katrina Hadden’s Story: Growing up through Elementary school, Katrina was always frightened as she was constantly made-fun-of and called names. After a while, this began to confuse her, she was being bullied for no reason and was wondering why. Did she say something rude? Did she accidently hit someone? Eventually, Katrina was able to put the pieces together as she realized the name calling and bullying was as a result of her appearance. This didn’t stop Katrina and her love for sports and many other activities as she went through school. In High School, Katrina played competitive basketball. Her technique was to simply visualize the ball going through the hoop before it ever left her tight grasp. Katrina put her heart and soul into basketball, with the dream of playing with the WNBA. One day at practice, Katrina hurt her knee, losing her chance of ever playing with the WNBA.
At this point, Katrina “didn’t give up like others”, she decided she needed to create a new goal and dream. Considering her size, Katrina was able to do a great amount of plus size modeling, yet at casting calls, she never seemed to fit the “plus size” appearance perfectly, she was too small and at times, extra padded was added so she could fit the clothes properly. This was discouraging to Katrina as she also didn’t fit the “model” requirement. All this discouragement and constant let downs caused Katrina to develop and eating disorder as she was only focusing on her imperfections.
Recovering from her eating disorder and to learn about health and the proper way to feed your body, Katrina became a personal trainer. Following, she took a “leap of faith” and moved from Ottawa to Toronto, determined not to let anything stand in her way. While in Toronto, came across the Ben and Barry agency who accepted different heights, sizes and nationalities. While working with Ben and Barry, Katrina attended a Panasonic audition and was selected among many others for her energy and confidence.
Two years ago, Katrina’s “Big moment” arose when a Toronto Fashion Week designer asked her to model his gown in the style runway fashion show. When the night finally arrived and Katrina stepped onto the runway the audience roared, clapping and cheering as they were witnessing change and diversity in the fashion world.
Katrina ended her speech with a few tips of how to be a good role model.
- -Take care of your body and health
- -Find a way to forget about the world (a hobby/sport)
- -Carry an attitude of gratitude, “appreciate the small things”
Concluding, Katrina read the quote “Don’t Quit” by Jill Wolf which was given to her by her mother as a child. As she concluded the quote, “…Don’t quit, for you’re not a failure until you fail to try” Katrina said “be yourself, no one does it better”. Finally, Katrina handed out personalized cards she had written for each of us, (62 girls) of which she had written after reading each of our blogs.
The third speaker of the evening–Alexandra Orlando a “highly decorated” Canadian rhythmic gymnastics award winner who has faced stuggles, obstcles, insecurities and fears while experiencing many “firsts”, including adversity, love, heartbreak and racism.
Alexandra Orlando’s Story: Alexandra began by saying “…in your life, find out who you aspire to be and what you stand for. Feel passionate about something and figure out why, discover how strong you are, because remember, you are so much stronger than you think you are in the moment”.
Alexandra had been training in gymnastics for many years and finally, in 2003, had the opportunity to qualify for the Summer Olympic Games. This meet was her once chance. Sadly, Alexandra completing the competition ranked number 21 by 1/10 of a point, (the top 20 athletes are chosen for the Olympic team). Alexandra had “never experienced defeat before”. From this point, it took Alexandra a long time to realize, she did gymnastics because it made her happy, healthy and strong, it truly wasn’t about winning, it’s about the journey getting there, creating who you are. That’s winning!
When Alexandra returned to the gym, her body had changed and everyone doubted her ability to get back the body she had. Alexandra didn’t put up a fight, she simply said, “it doesn’t matter how I look, I’m going to learn and perfect my craft.
In 2008, after years of training and dedication since her last attempt at the Olympic rhythmic gymnastic team, Alexandra qualified for the Canadaian Olympic team! At this point in her life however, it wasn’t only about winning, now, she truly understood “we each have our whole life to trip, fall and pick ourselves back up”. We learn from these trips and falls, gaining experience and wisdom.
Prior to this presentation, Natalie asked her childrens’ babysitters, “what is your greatest worry about being a teenager and growing up?” The babysitters instantly knew their answer. They didn’t know what they wanted to be when they grew up. They were both stressed about making proper choices to achieve the future they truly desired.
In response, Natalie said, “If you don’t know, be sure to keep your options open as no one can ever take an education away from you”.
Natalie continued by asking all of us, who is not 100% sure of what they want to be when they grow up. Almost all of us had our hands up, saying we were not 100% sure. To this, Natalie’s advice was, to “build your web, because you never know where you are going to catch your fly”. Other advice to this was to always be HONEST and plan in advance, as “things don’t happen by accident”.
Finishing up her speech and the entire night, Natalie shared some messages about our world’s future and evolving society.
Natalie’s messages: Our society needs women to take risks and think big. Currently, 38% of women are bread winners, (those who make the majority of the income in the family). This percentage should be higher and hopefully, with the new generation of motivated girls, this number will increase. Natalie’s last, yet extremely important message was–get involved!! Whether that be with boards organizations.
We then had the opportunity to talk and take pictures with the various speakers from the nights presentation.
Mentor Night was a fantastic opportunity to meet, take pictures with and listen to these four, truthful, down-to-Earth, amazing mentors as they shared their personal stories and road to success. Each of the four mentors speaking were very personable and relatable.
Until next time,
Miss Teen New Westminster-World 2012
On June 30th I held a beginning of Summer BBQ fundraiser for Free The Children.
I held the BBQ at New Westminster’s Queen’s Park at one of their under-covered areas. I invited many of my friends and neighbours to the fundraiser. There was a great turn out as many of the people I invited brought their friends and family too!!
Holding the BBQ in the park was a great location as many families who were enjoying a day at the park with their children as well as those strolling through the park stopped by to enjoy a barbequed hot dog or hamburger. I then had the opportunity to discuss both the Free The Children organization and Miss Teen Canada-World pageant with them. As well, I handed out some information about both organizations, (FTC and MTC-W).
Queen’s Park is in the heart of New Westminster. It is known as a provincial destination. The park includes a vast variety of amenities including a playground, petting zoo, bandshell, covered picnic areas, tennis courts, baseball fields and stadium.
Miss Teen New Westminster-World 2012
For my final Free The Children fundraiser I teamed up with Miss Team Burnaby on July 12th. Together, we held a fun-in-the-sun Summer lemonade and bake sale. Sandy, the owner of Sandy’s Esthetics and Day Spa was very kind in granting us the use of her store-front as the location for our fundraiser.
Sandy’s Esthetics and Day Spa is located in New Westminster’s historic Sapperton neighbourhood.
The lemonade and bake sale was a great success. Not only did we raise money for Free The Children, but we had the opportunity to meet and speak with multiple members of the public about the FTC charity as well as the Miss Teen Canada-World pageant. During the fundraiser it was a great feeling and a lot of fun to see young kids get excited as they picked out a home-made treat with their parents.
While at our lemonade and bake sale, I also had the fabulous opportunity of seeing many friends as they stopped by for a refreshing lemonade in the days’ heat. A great surprise to the day was when one of my elementary school teachers stopped by our lemonade and bake sale on her way into Sandy’s Salon! It was so nice to see her again and have a chance to talk with her about the Miss Teen Canada-World pageant. With this elementary school teacher of mine, I attended We Day, a concert put on by Free The Children throughout the country to ignitate youth and display the true effect and power we have when working together, with one mutual goal. Throughout my years at Elementary School I also did a great amount of fundraising for Free The Children, with this teacher including various bake sales as well as multiple fundraisers organized by FTC themselves, such as Halloween For Hunger and Silent Day. If it weren’t for this teacher, a great amount of these fundraisers would not have been the successful ones they were. Therefore, she was very proud to see that her actions years ago had truly made an imact in her students’ lives as they are continuing to fundraise for the wonderful FTC Charity even after moving on from Elementary School. It was very nice to see her again and have such an important mutual topic to discuss with her.
Until next time,
Hannah Block–Miss Teen New Westminster-World 2012
Remember the one shy, awkward girl who would always sit by herself at lunch? Or the over-emotional, ultra-dramatic girl who clearly didn’t know how to express herself? Maybe all you ever did was pass those girls by, or maybe you would always walk by them rolling your eyes and gossiping about them. Perhaps you were the one who actually stopped to simply say “Hi!” or compliment them. And maybe, just maybe, that girl…was you.
“Teen Talks“ is a weekly one hour talk show aimed at pre-teen and teen girls.
Teenage years are the most crucial years of a girls’ life, where she truly develops a sense of identity while discovering her true passions and future. Therefore, there is most definitely a need for a TV show to help guide girls through these sometimes difficult, yet extremely important and exciting years. “Teen Talks” would be an excellent show to provide such a platform. It would promote positive role models for teen girls while providing valuable information with a different topic and focus each week to assist girls in their everyday lives with education, body image, bullying and much more.
These weekly topics and focuses would include health, sports, schooling, education and career exploration, one’s image and style, make-up and hair tips and tricks, fashion, teen issues, materialism and advertising, bullying and internet safety, rumours vs. reality, exploration in country-wide programs, various extracurricular activities as well as performers.
With each of these weekly topics, there would also be a few special guests, who specialize in the specific focus of the episode. Some of these special guests would include famous Olympian rower and local Victoria, BC resident, Silken Laumann, for the health and sports episodes. Famous fashion stylist Stacy London TLC’s show “What Not to Wear” would make an appearance on “Teen Talks” for the fashion focused week.
I would be honoured to host this show, alongside my co-star Carly Rae Jepsen. I would select Carly Rae Jepsen as the co-host for “Teen Talks” as she is a well-known, accomplished young artist in the Canadian music industry. Jepsen has stayed true to herself, friends, family and fans throughout her rise to fame. She is simply an ordinary girl, who “always wanted to try something a little bit different than what she’d done before”. By following her true passion and talents, she has succeeded, not only as an artist, but as a positive role model for teen girls.
Another segment of the “Teen Talks” weekly one hour show would be “Been There, Done That”. This part of the show would showcase an ordinary preteen/teen girl who has a personal experience or story on the topic of the days’ episode. The list of weekly topics for the season would be posted on the “Teen Talks” website, allowing viewers to see the seasons’ various topics and consider which episode they would like to try to be featured on. If one wanted to be featured on the “Been There, Done That” segment, she would simply send “Teen Talks” an e-mail explaining which episode she would like to be featured in and what her story/experience with the topic is. The guest for “Been There, Done That” would be selected by what the shows’ producers, host and co-host believe she has to offer and share with the shows’ viewers as well as how well-related her story is to the days’ focus. These stories and experiences from viewers would be showcased either by showing their video (if they were to provide one with their application) or by having myself—the host and Carly Rae Jepsen—the co-host read and then further discuss their story.
“Teen Talks” would be aired on various networks with a large majority of the audience being preteen and teen girls, including, Family Channel and YTV.
“Teen Talks” would be sponsored by MAC Cosmetics as well as S-Trip. MAC Cosmetics would supply “Teen Talks” with make up as well as make-up artists. In return, “Teen Talks” would provide MAC Cosmetics with various promotional opportunities, including advertising their brand at the beginning and end of each weekly show as well as associating the MAC Cosmetics company with “Teen Talk’s” show which promotes a healthy positive body image, community involvement and much more for preteen and teen girls. S-Trip would also sponsor “Teen Talks” as the organization promotes/believes in opportunities for teens and youth, as S-Trip has many different programs including unforgettable adventures around the world in countries including the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica or the Bahamas, a weekend skiing or snowboarding on a Canadian Ski Trip, sightseeing in Montreal or Quebec City, attending a student Volunteer Trip or exploring the culture and history of Europe on Euro Adventure.
-Researching and working on the TV show proposal for this MTC-W assignment has inspired me to research and look further into programs supporting preteen and teenage girls and how I can become involved in these various programs. Throughout the preteen and teenage years of their lives, girls are in a very susceptible and vulnerable stage where support as well as trust worthy and helpful tips is also a necessity.
Miss Teen New Westminster-World 2012
The beginning of the Olympic Games, home to wonders of the world, bordering the Mediterranean Sea is Greece. Here, the Parthenon is raised high above the country along with centuries of history, perched on the top of the Acropolis. Flourishing with rich culture, ancient history and mythology, legendary traditions, sights, tourist attractions and cuisine, a trip to Greece would, without a doubt, be my dream vacation.
The European country stands before me as a sort of mysterious, wonderful, magical land about which I have only ever read and am yet to discover.
“I cannot imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy. Let’s face it, friends make life a lot more fun.”
If it weren’t for those few friends of mine who have always stood by my side, upon whom I can count and trust; whose advice I cherish and words I remember–I would not be where I am, nor be the person I am today. I could not depart on my dream vacation to Greece without a few of my very best friends with whom I’ve shared laughs, tears, secrets and ever-lasting memories. These friends of mine will never forget our laughs, our smiles, our conversations, our plans, our tears, our memories, our fears, our experiences and most importantly, they will never forget our friendship. I couldn’t board a plane to Greece without these incredible people at my side.
With 13, 676 km of pristine, turquoise coastline, the stunning Grecian beaches would be a “must” for my friends and me. The sandy, white beaches would provide us with days of fun-in-the-sun. From playing games along the beach to swimming in the crystal-like Mediterranean and just simply enjoying ourselves, the fun we would have while on these beaches would provide us with the memories of a lifetime.
Overlooking the city of Athens is the Parthenon which would definitely be another adventure for my friends and me. Visiting the Parthenon would be very symbolic for us. The Parthenon has withstood centuries of battles, disputes and misunderstandings. It has brought out the very best in its cities’ citizens, as well as the worst. However, regardless of these events, the Parthenon has remained, standing strong as a wonder of the world. It is commended for its rich history, incredible survival and strong foundation. Our history as friends, is much the same as that of the Parthenon. Our friendship has been challenged, at times defeated, broken down and, over time, rebuilt. Fires have been put out and walls have been repaired, however, if it weren’t for these battles, tears and flames, our friendship wouldn’t be what it is today–just as the Parthenon would never be the historic, cherished and greatly respected sight it is today–if not for its past.
In Greece, we would also want to experience the true Grecian culture. Greeks are very proud of their cultural heritage; they are very outgoing, warm, welcoming people. This would make our entire experience and vacation in the country a much more interesting and memorable one since, as visitors, we would be granted the opportunity to interact with various locals and thus experience the real Grecian lifestyle.
The first time I visited Europe, I instantly fell in love with the culture the moment I stepped off the plane. The old, historic cities and towns are nothing like that of Canada. Considering my awe and amazement in other European countries such as England, France, Italy and Germany, I can only imagine my astonishment in Greece.
A trip to Greece with my friends would allow us to strengthen our already-strong friendship and bonds with one another. Enjoying the Grecian culture while visiting famous sights and beaches would truly be the trip of a lifetime!!
-A voyage is only made better when surrounded by those that you love and trust.
•S-Trip! takes student travellers on unforgettable adventures around the world. Celebrate the exciting conclusion of high school in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica or Bahamas with all your friends on Grad Trip. Spend a weekend skiing or snowboarding at one of Canada’s premier mountain resorts on Ski Trip. Experience culture, sightseeing and events in Montreal or Quebec City on Busaway. Make a difference in an underdeveloped country on an impactful student Volunteer Trip. Explore the culture and history of Europe on Euro Adventure. For more information visit www.s-trip.com.
Until next time,
Hannah Block–Miss Teen New Westminster-World 2012