To my successor…

To my successor…

The feeling of my reign ending is quite bittersweet. I am sad about my reign ending, but so happy about everything I got to accomplish, as well as how much I grew as an individual. You are in for the ride of a lifetime, and you will be given so many opportunities! You will have people supporting you from day 1, and people to guide you through this journey. I know you will do such great things with your reign, and know that there’s a reason you got the crown and title. You are beautiful, intelligent, kind, caring and so much more. You can do it, I believe in you ♥♥

Love always, Joanne Shao

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Prelims + Rehersals!

Last night was the preliminary round and I had so much fun! I was wearing a gorgeous gown from Bells and Bows Bridal Boutique and had my hair done by Ms.Sarah from Modern College! I had the opportunity to host the preliminary round and all the girls did absolutely fantastic. I am so proud of each and every one of them!

Today, the ladies did a mini runway lesson with the fabulous Marc and Hanna in the morning. Then the ladies rehearsed all day today with Shawn, and I can’t wait for everyone to see the opening number and the fitness dance segment. In the evening, we watched talent and each performance was amazing!! There’s only a day left until the new Miss Teenage Canada is crowned, and this feeling is bittersweet. I am a little sad my reign is over, but so excited to see what’s in store next!

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First day at Miss Teenage Canada 2021!

Today was my first day meeting all the delegates for Miss Teenage Canada 2021! I got to only speak with a few girls, but I’m excited to learn more about each and every one of them. I arrived around dinner time and then met my roommate for the rest of the week! Then we went to a campfire and dang, sang, and had so so much fun! Then the night came to a close and we are now back in the room, but I’m so excited for prelims tomorrow!

Talk to you guys soon <3

Joanne Shao

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Canada Day

I would like to begin by acknowledging the land on which we gather, and which the Region of Peel operates, is part of the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. Specifically, the land on which I reside on was part of the lands included in Treaty 19.

There has been lots of circulation around Cancelling Canada Day to stand in solidarity with our Indigenous community. It doesn’t mean we want to cancel all the contributions Canada has made. As the daughter of immigrants, I understand wanting to celebrate a country that has granted opportunities and safety that their home country may not have been able to give many. But with all the news and recent discoveries of what happened to children in residential schools, I believe it’s much more important to be able to show that we are there alongside them, and want to support them in any way we can.

We’ve all learnt about Residental school treatment in history class and have always known about the history of injustive treatment towards our Indigeous community. But now having this evidence come to light, is just further proof of our oppresive system. We need to amlify Indigenous voices, listen to their stories and feel the discomfort. We should learn about their culture, who’s land you currently reside on, donate, support Indigeous creators, and have uncomfortable conversations. Those are only the few ways you can help.

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What we can do as non-indigenous people

It was just announced today that 751 unmarked graves (likely belonging to children) were found at a residential school in Saskatchewan. This makes it 1323 children and counting. Only a few residential schools were searched, imagine if all of them were. We think that it’s in the past, but Indigenous people still suffer from personal, intergenerational trauma and systemic oppression.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report was published over 6 years ago, outlining 94 Calls To Action to bridge the systemic gaps that Indigenous people face. We have yet to see much action by our elected officials. It’s in our hands to take action now.

So what can you do? Educate yourself. Learn about who’s land you live on. You can find this out here. Read about the Truth and Reconciliation Reports, learn the Call To Actions. Have uncomfortable conversations with family and friends. Use social media to teach others and learn. Don’t make it performative to fit in. Actually learn about all of this. It’s the least we can do for the Indigenous community as we stand in solidarity with them.

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Miss Teenage Ontario Provincials 2021

Last night was the Teenage Ontario Pageant. I can’t believe that about a year ago, I was in these girls’ shoes, and it feels like just yesterday! It went by so fast, and it makes me so excited for nationals week!! 

20 crowns were given out last night. But to all the girls, I’m so proud of all of you! It takes guts to be able to walk on stage, as well as recite your platform speech. If you didn’t get a crown, it doesn’t mean your journey just has to end now. I know multiple ladies who didn’t qualify the first time, and then the next time they tried they did! It just takes some perseverance. And to the ladies who did get a crown, I hope to see you in August! 

I got to see the beautiful Svetlana, our Miss World Canada,  Alice, who is this year’s Miss Supranational China, and Krissy, our Miss Teenage Ontario 2020. I also got to meet the gorgeous Hanna who was the choreographer of the weekend. And who could forget Paola, who owns Paola’s beauty bar? This weekend was a blast and thank you to Michelle for letting me come <3

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Canada is not innocent

A few days ago a Muslim family was on a stroll when they were hit by a motorist just for being Muslim. The only survivor is a 9-year old boy. He suffered serious injuries but lived, just to wake up to see that he had lost all his family. This was a targeted hate crime.

We look at the US and believe that Canada is so much better than the US, but the fact is we really aren’t. But we can not deny the fact that there are hate crimes happening, racism still exists, there are still First Nations reserves without clean water, and so much more that is wrong. It’s sometimes hard being a minority living in Canada, and thankfully I haven’t yet been targeted just for being Asian, but I know many friends who have.

We can not tolerate any acts of violence, hatred, racism or bigotry towards anyone, no matter what race you may be. Below is the link to a go fund me in support of this family who was the target of this hate crime as well as an article with more details. Sending love and condolences to the 9-year-old boy and the entire family. May we someday come to a place where we can all live peacefully without violence and hatred.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/salman-family-accident-relief

https://globalnews.ca/news/7930240/london-ontario-family-killed-identified-mosque-host-vigil/

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Happy Mother’s Day ♥

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there, the mothers who aren’t with us anymore, to those who have a complicated relationship with motherhood, those who are far away because of covid, and to those who stepped up into the mother position, this day is about you. Thank you.

To my own mom, thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I don’t appreciate you enough. You and dad have supported me from the start. Thank you. I’ve been a momma’s girl since the very start, and still am. Thank you for putting my needs first, even over your own sometimes. You show me every day that working hard pays off. You show me how to be brave, and you have sacrificed so much for me. I love you and you’re one of my best friends.

 

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My self-love journey

Hello lovelies! My apologies for not being too active on the blog, school and life has been crazy! But I wanted to hop on, because I’ve seen a lot of influencers becoming more vulnerable on their platform, and I feel like I should as well. I preach a lot about self-love, confidence in your own image, and more, but it’s been quite a journey for myself included.

Growing up, I used to put a lot of my confidence into how I looked, and I didn’t really like the way I looked. I had really bad acne, I was taller than the rest of my class, I didn’t like the way my face looked without makeup, and there were so many other little tiny things I would be able to pick out about myself that I didn’t like. Social media wasn’t a big help either. I used to photoshop my pictures on social media just to get people’s praise out of it. I would compare myself with my friends who I thought were prettier and better in general, and celebrities I didn’t even know. I didn’t realize it then, but now I realize it was such a bad hole to fall down into.

I think it was just until recently a few years ago, that I realized how toxic it was for me personally. I am so much more than just an outside image. My personality, my intelligence, my positivity are just some of the things that growing up people unfortunately didn’t get to know because I was so obsessed with looks. And then it brings me to this pageant that I’d never thought I’d enter, nevertheless win. I don’t look like your “average pageant girl” that you might see in movies. I didn’t really even know much about pageants before competing in my first one. I didn’t think I would win. Because as always there is this stereotype that pageants are for only a certain type of girl. So, what really is a “pageant girl”?

Let me tell you who she is. She is more than just her looks or her walk in an evening gown. She is someone who is passionate. Passionate about using her platform to spread awareness. Passionate about helping her community. She has dreams and big goals. One of my goals is to make it to Milan or New York Fashion Week, and I’m going to do just that. She has a big heart, and wants to make a change. She has aspirations and hobbies. She is more than a crown and a title. Yes, the pageant industry itself has a lot more progressing to do, but it’s going in the right track. I was given the opportunity, and it has changed me forever. My biggest takeaway isn’t these cool opportunities or the people I’ve met along the way (but it is a close second! I love my pageant girls as always), but it was the ability to love myself in my own skin. That’s what I am the most grateful for, and that’s why I want it to be my mission to help you guys have that love for yourself too. We are in a world where social media has dominated and we see such photoshopped pictures left and right, where we want to become them and are upset we don’t look like them. I have fallen down that hole too don’t worry, but if I can climb out of it so can you. It’s not going to be easy, they say that you are your biggest enemy, but I promise you that you will get there. And even once you get there, it isn’t smooth sailing either, there are so many nights of self-doubt and sadness, but it’s okay to feel that way too. Our emotions are valid.

I can’t believe my reign is soon coming to an end, but if I have helped at least someone finds themselves, I will call that mission accomplished. And I know it’s very early, but to my successor, I know you will do amazing things <3

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Q+A time!

Recently, I asked some of my friends and followers if they had any questions for me; whether it was about winning this title of Miss Teenage Canada 2020,  life, advice, anything really and I got some questions and so here are the answers! I answered ones that weren’t pageant related on my instagram @missteenagecnd2020, and it’s under the Q+A highlight, so check that out! Let’s get rolling with the questions!

Q: How many pageants have you competed in? Miss Teenage Canada was actually my first one! I hope to do one more this year during my reign, and potentially one after I turn 18!

Q:Did you experience racism during pageant week? I think with this question it comes from the stereotype of pageantry being white-dominated. This was my first ever pageant so going into pageant week, I didn’t think I really had a chance because I myself as a woman of colour, thought a white girl would win. Looking back at it, it was such a bad mentality to go into such a fun week with, because it was always in the back of my mind and weighing me down. The week itself was so fun and I’ve made friends for life and a literal support system just from my pageant sisters. The stereotype that only white skinny girls win pageants, needs to be broken, and I hope that with more women of colour winning titles, like Nova Stevens, the new Miss Universe Canada 2020, it shows younger girls who don’t have fair skin and blonde hair that they can do the same and reach their dreams just the same, as long as they are passionate enough and work hard enough to earn it. If you are reading this and want to take a shot at pageantry, take this as your sign to try it! You never know what could happen!

Q: What’s your favourite pageant memory? There’s two favourite ones that I can’t pick, either the final day for rehearsal in the morning, I was hyping up my girls on stage and telling them to smile and that we would put vaseline on their teeths to keep their smiles up, and Sam is just beside me laughing at me and it was just such a fun time. Another favourite is the last night before the big show, a lot of us girls were allowed to go into one hotel room and had a heart-to-heart and a mini karaoke session, and it really strengthened our bond as pageant sisters.  

Q:What is something you learned about pageants that you didn’t know before competing? This is a really fun question because this was my first ever pageant, and I wasn’t really following pageants before, maybe Miss Universe, but rarely any Canadian pageants. Something I learned isn’t necessarily about pageants itself, but the support group you build. For a week, you are surrounded by girls from all over the place, and they bring different personalities to the table and you get to know so many people all at once. I didn’t think that I would still be in touch with any of the girls from nationals after the pageant ended, whether I won or not, but I am actually still in touch with a lot of the girls, and I honestly appreciate them so much.  

Another thing I didn’t know at all, is that pageant week is tiring. Waking up decently early around 8am and sleeping around 12pm-1am, and this is apparently on the better side of pageant week. Following up on that, is that you may get a brief schedule of what you are doing that day, but nothing is set, so don’t expect to start anything on time!  

Q:What are you most excited about with your reign?  The first thing I’m most excited about is sharing my platform to a wider range of audience, because my platform is really really important to me and I hope it can positively impact people, and it can be even one person, but I hope I helped them find themselves. I’m also really excited that I get to be currently working with the Mississauga Humane Society, as I’ve always supported what they do from afar, but now I get to actually help them! A close second is that I’m really really REALLY excited about is that I get to meet the girls at the Ontario provincials (hopefully) and at nationals (hopefully)!

Q: What was the most difficult part of the pageant for you? I think the most difficult part of the pageant was honestly the prep behind it leading up to the week, as it was super stressful to finalize everything, but it taught me how to keep on top of things and reach out to a lot of people for help to do events, sponsorships and more!  

Q: What is the healthiest way for kids to deal with inadequate feelings they get from social media? I think this is a great question, because it links to my platform! There is not a right way to deal with these types of feelings, as every person is different in how they deal with their emotions. I personally like to take a break from social media to get back to reality for a few hours and possibly days. I think it’s really important to realize when these types of feelings are about to take over, and how to stop them. Another way is to set boundaries and not depend so much on social media for your happiness or as a way to get adequate feelings.

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