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 <30 COMMENTS
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.0 COMMENTS
Social media has devoured us. It’s insane how much I’ve found out I rely on social media. For my Intro to psychology class, we were told to pick a mental health issue, and me and my partner picked anxiety and how social media correlates with it. We added an experiment part to it where we record our social media screen time for a week, and then half it the next week using a screen time limit. Today would be Day 5 in the experiment, and I’ve been overriding my screen time limit every single day. I think it’s because I keep waiting on a text and waiting to see if I’m missing out on anything and it’s kind of insane how much I would check and nothing would be there. It’s teaching me that it’s okay to miss out on things, and it’s okay to be burnt out and need a break. Every month taking maybe a few days off social media doesn’t hurt anyone. Taking those days off, is a way of taking caring of yourself. It’s not like the world moves on and you don’t. Because you move on when you move on, not when someone else says to. And even if you are addicted like I am, maybe just be more aware, and live in reality, not the virtual reality.
If you want to watch something related to this watch “the social dilemma” on Netflix, it talks about big technology experts sharing how the tech industry has programmed each of their social media apps to keep us always checking and going back. If you want to watch the impacts of social media on mental health, watch Bailey Parnell’s Tedtalk: “Is social media hurting your mental health.”
(both photos taken from instagram; credits are listed underneath the photo).0 COMMENTS
Happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone! Even though it is a holiday, remember to stay at home if you’re part of the Peel Region, Toronto or Ottawa area, and anywhere else where Covid cases are on the rise! We want this gone as soon as possible so just follow all the guidelines put out by the provincial government in your area. Stay safe!0 COMMENTS
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go check out Luna Farm’s big opening to the public for this apple picking season! All the workers were so overly amazing and the produce was so fresh! I’d love to go back there in a few weeks again!! I also got to see some of my world girls again and I’m so excited to see who gets crowned Miss World Canada 2020!
The address is 661 8th road east, stoney creek, ontario! The phone number is 647-237-2321, and the website is www.lunafarms.ca!
As some may know already, my platform is mainly empowering women and girls regarding social media. From a young age, I knew that I really wanted to change how girls saw themselves. I’ve seen people, including myself, compare themselves to celebrities who have nutritionists, 2+ personal trainers, they go to the gym 24/7, and probably have had botox or plastic surgery of some sort. I’ve had so many nights where I just stare at the ceiling wishing I look like them, and then I would think that would lead me to happiness. But I realize it now that it would never lead me to pure happiness.
Social media is where people post their happiest moments. The traveling, concerts, nights with friends etc. It is also the place where people post the photos that they think they’re the prettiest in or their favourite one out of a photoshoot. With that in mind, everything is edited to some extent. If it’s a selfie, there’s editing on the brows to make them more arched, or to blur out pimples that may have popped up. Even if it looks natural, it most likely isn’t. So when younger girls, see that their favourite celebrities or creators start somehow having such clear skin, or the tiniest waist, they start to wonder why don’t they have that. That’s how EDs can start, or the anxiety to be “perfect”.
A year ago, I wouldn’t leave the house without covering my acne with some concealer, or fixing my uneven brows and trying to contour my nose. For some instagram photos, I would take at least 100, because I didn’t like how my waist looked in it, or the way my hand was placed. Sometimes I wouldn’t even post because of one little thing that I only noticed that I think would ruin the entire photo. Everything I posted was edited and was posed. Nothing was candid. So, only July 15, at 9:53, I took a selfie and just posted it. No editing anything. Since then, I’ve had a lot more confidence and post often about this on my pageant instagram page (miss.teenagecanada2020). Something I’ve started doing is trying my best not to edit pictures, but if I were to do any sort of editing from the normal picture, I would put in the caption what app I used and what changed.
Without this pageant journey, I would not have gotten here and gained all this confidence. If all my posts are edited, that makes me a hypocrite because that goes against my platform and everything I believe then. If I don’t have the confidence to do something like that, how do I expect others to do so? I do like my other pictures that I have posted in the past, but people need to know that there’s apart of it that is fake.
Everything in life is you against the little voice in your head. Beauty is not defined by numbers on a scale or whether your skin is crystal clear. It is from the inside. If you got an amazing personality, I know for a fact you are so gorgeous. Stop comparing yourself to others you see online and in real life. You got this, I believe in you and am so proud of everything you’ve already accomplished and can’t wait to see what else you do.0 COMMENTS
I got the amazing opportunity to share my journey with Ashley Newport who is the senior editor at InSauga.com. Feel free to check out the article linked below!!
Hi everyone! My name is Joanne Shao and I’m your new Miss Teenage Canada 2020! This past week has been the most insane experience of my life. I got to meet 28 beautiful and talented girls who I can now call my pageant sisters, and got to meet Samantha Pierre and Emma Jeapes who are such fun and kind human beings. I walked into this pageant not knowing what to expect, as it being my first ever pageant. My only goal was to have fun, because I didn’t even think I’d make it into Top 12. I truly did not think I would win at all, because it was anyone’s game. But as I now have the title of Miss Teenage Canada 2020, I will give a small recap of my journey till now.
Backing up to early February, when it was provincials, I bought my first pair of nude heels and my evening gown a week before the show. The weekend of provincials flew by, and I earned the title of Miss Teenage Mississauga 2020. Then covid happened, and it was super unexpected. I had events planned, but could not attend any. So in conclusion we blame everything on covid! <3
The week of nationals came and flew by, and I miss my girls so so much. Monday, we arrived at the hotel and for dinner it was pizza and a pj party. Tuesday, was a photo shoot and video shoot, and thank you to Modern College for doing all of our makeup and hair. Wednesday was activity day, and that included things like treetop trekking, mini golfing, and lake tubing. It was also the day that Emma Jeapes arrived, and I was hardcore fangirling that I almost tripped. She is the sweetest, most down to earth person, and I’m so grateful that she is there to guide me through this journey, because without her I would be so lost. Thursday was prelims night! Modern College came back to do hair and makeup once again, and then it was show time. We had a 30 second speech about our platform, a swimsuit walk, and then talent. I personally did not perform a talent, but all the talents performed were amazing. Friday was rehearsals with Shawn Cuffie, and then in the evening we had a little circle meeting where we talked about one thing we all liked about the week and then a dislike. By the end of it, half of us were sobbing because we were going to have to leave our sisters behind (and by the half of us I meant me). Also I walked into a hotel light that was on the side of the wall somehow on the way back, which was pretty fun. Then came Saturday.
Saturday was the big show day, and I was so nervous and stressed, my stomach hurt the entire day. We had a run through in the morning and then it was time for makeup and hair. I had my hair done by the lovely Kassandra from Modern College, and I actually got my makeup done by one of my pageant sisters, Mackenzie. We had one last dress rehearsal and then it was showtime. We had our choreographed opening dance number, and then all 29 of us got to walk in our evening gown. It would usually be Top 20, but because of the number of girls we had it was Top 14. Top 14 walked in swimwear, and then it was our swimsuit dance. Top 8 is then announced, and they walk another evening gown. After, it is Top 5 that is an onstage question, and lastly was crowning and awards. It was a blur and I was crowned Miss Teenage Canada 2020!
I can’t even explain the amount of support I got from my pageant sisters. When I was announced for Top 8, my best friend in the pageant Angela Sung, she pulled me aside and told me: “I know you don’t want to make Top 5 because you think you aren’t a speaker, but win this for me, and win this to represent all the east asians babies.” And I did. So thank you Angela. I love you with all my heart. I also want to thank Krissy McCarthy, Emily Bliss, Clara Chemtov, and Machara McNeil. I was the closest with you guys, and I can’t explain the gratitude I have for your support from day 1, I love you guys so much. Thank you to all the other pageant girls, and even if I wasn’t that close with everyone else, I know you all support me and love me so much. Also another big thank you to all the world girls, past winners, and even universe girls who texted me right when I won, and told me if I needed anything, that they would be there. Thank you. This is the start of my journey, and I know it’s going to be a big mess filled with laughs, and cries, but I hope to make you all proud.
PS Thank you so so much for all the gifts from Michelle and the sponsors! This is so insane of how much I’ve gotten! This still feels like an unreal dream! (Also I did not win a dog, this is my best friend’s dog, Cleo, and she is the love of my life.)
Miss Teenage Canada 2020, Joanne Shao!
Joanne is a 15 year old honour roll student from Mississauga, Ontario. She is an outgoing person, and loves being part of her community. Going out of her comfort zone to take risks and meet new people is something she strives to do. She loves the arts; especially modelling, and she is currently signed with Bnmmodels. She has passed grade 10 piano, and is currently doing the ARCT level. She is a strong believer in feminism, and in school is part of a club called Making HERstory. She always looks for the good in people, and is always willing to lend a helping hand.0 COMMENTS
Although I am lacking in artistic skills, I could not resist joining Janaya Iverson and her campaign, Spreading Kindness Rocks! This is a quote that I hold near and dear to my heart, and wanted to share it with you all thank you Janaya for including me – I encourage all of you to check out her Facebook page and create a kindness rock of your own