When Ciara Thompson began entering pageants, she did it as a challenge to herself, as something to force her outside of her comfort zone. Her goal wasn’t a crown, but on Saturday, March 4 in Montreal, much to her surprise, she earned one as the newest Miss Canada. After a few mishaps during the competition, she thought it was out of reach. She was wrong.
Pageants have moved far beyond the beauty component – Miss Canada judges look for charisma, intelligence and devotion to a cause that’s important to the contestant. “They looked past (my mistakes) and saw that there was something genuine about me that they wanted to use as Miss Canada,” said Thompson.
The day after she was crowned she wrote on her Facebook page, “I stumbled in my speech on stage and tripped down the stairs on my gown, and I thought I was for sure out of the competition at that point. I maintained composure until I got backstage and I cried and cried because all I wanted out of this whole thing was to do well on my speech and make my family proud. When my name was called as the winner, so much was going through my head, but the thing that stuck out the most was that even if you make mistakes and even if you think you’ve failed, smile, stand tall and keep pushing forward because you are always more of a winner than you think.”
She said it’s a message she plans to take to schools – public through high school – as part of an effort to help students increase their self-esteem. “I messed up in my final speech for the pageant and look where it got me. You’ll make mistakes but don’t let it ruin your outlook.” Thompson also plans to use her platform to raise awareness about homelessness. She’ll have a few duties as Miss Canada as well, but for now pageant organizers have told her to relax and let her win sink in.
Ciara Thompson is crowned Miss Canada (Photographer: Stéphane Leroux)
One of her favourite moments of the competition came long before the gala evening. Miss Canada hopefuls went skating, wearing their sashes, and were approached by a young girl wearing a helmet with a crown molded onto it. “We took her skating and she said she wanted to wear the sash but then she started crying. When we asked why she was crying, she said, ‘I don’t only cry when I’m sad, I also cry when I’m very happy like right now.’” It was a small thing, but it made a little girl very happy.
“I do pageants to make a difference in people’s lives. I hope to keep doing that throughout my reign.”
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