Fort McMurray Girl Wins National Crown
Fort McMurray teen was crowned as “Junior Teen Miss 2016-2017” at the National Canadian Girl, Teen & Miss Pageant earlier this summer.
Fifteen-year old Sophia de Guzman competed along with 72 other delegates at the three-day event, held at the West Edmonton Mall. “After being evacuated and not knowing if we would have a home to come back to, I didn’t think I would be able to compete in the pageant. We were very fortunate to have not lost our home, and when my family decided that we could make it to the pageant, I was very relieved and excited,” said de Guzman.
Sophia has been participating in pageants since she was eleven years old. She says she enjoys pageants because it is like a big family and she makes a lot of great friends. “There are people who need to be brave, who need to stand up for other people, and who need to show people there is a life outside of imperfect standards of beauty that are put on women,” said the newly crowned Junior Teen Miss.
According to ncgpageant.com, the focus is to build self-esteem, teach good sportsmanship, and teach pose and public speaking. Sophia says she wanted to raise awareness about Mentoring Teens. “I like to dedicate my energy to mentoring teens so they can develop a sense of self confidence and ambition. With the support of my family, I can live up to my dreams and change lives, even in the smallest ways. It’s a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction,” said de Guzman.
Another major aspect of the event is encouraging volunteerism and giving back to the community. Sophia is a regular volunteer at the Wood Buffalo Food Bank. Sophia also volunteered her time while evacuated in Edmonton, helping out fellow evacuees, at the Fort Mac Relief Centre in Spruce Grove. Sophia and her family have also had garage sales and bake sales and donated the proceeds to The Children’s Hospital Foundations across Canada.
The age range of participants was from eight months old to 55 years old. A total of 12 winners were crowned, ranging from Baby Miss to Ambassador. Winners receive a scholarship award as well as other prizes. Sophia will also go to Vancouver in July 2017 to pass the Junior Teen Miss crown to her successor.