Day 5 was rehearsals all day long! Here’s what went down.

First off, after a quick breakfast, we had a runway workshop with our chaperone, Marc! It was really fun, but a bit challenging in 4” heels. It went better than I expected, even though my feet said otherwise. Heels hurt! My toes just aren’t used to that kind of pressure. But… practice makes improvement (I don’t believe in perfection).

My evening gown shoes at rehearsal!

We stopped just in time for lunch. We ate up in our rooms and had to use that time to start tidying up our bags. I was really sad because it meant that our week was drawing to a close. At least Melynda and I are really neat, so there wasn’t too much to do.

I was really excited for the afternoon, because we were learning our opening dance with Shawn. We were allowed to wear comfortable shoes after a while, but I decided to practice in my heels as much as possible. I know I made a smart decision, but my feet are not happy about it. I thought walking in 4” heels for 1.5 hours was difficult, but I had no clue. It turns out that dancing and jumping in 4” heels is considerably more challenging. I know it’ll help for tomorrow, though!

We got our entire opening number and swimsuit dance finished! We worked really hard, despite the heat. Late in the afternoon, we all had an energy crash, but I’m really proud of all of us for powering through.

One really entertaining part of the day was our chaperone, Sam, constantly threatening us with Vaseline. If we didn’t smile with teeth, she would tell us that we had to put Vaseline on them so we would keep our lips apart. The funniest bit: when Marc wanted a video of us for social media, some people were so nervous to be on his FaceBook that they actually asked for Vaseline to make sure they were smiling! I did not. I don’t like the idea of slimy teeth, but that’s my personal preference.

Sam holding up the dreaded Vaseline

After a long day of practicing for finals, it was time for dinner. It was a pretty ordinary meal (if you can call a congregation of 29 girls from all over Canada “ordinary”). Everyone went up to get into warm clothes, and then we were taken over to the Beaver Tail truck! All who wanted one bought one, and then we all sat in a circle on the grass.

Flora, Melynda, and me going over to join the circle!

One by one, we stood up and shared a positive and negative experience from the week. So many people talked about how they had made lifelong friends, and before long, everyone was crying. I mentioned that I was really grateful to all of them for being such wonderful souls, and for being the ones to break my Covid isolation. Montreal is particularly strict about distancing, so I haven’t had the chance to spend a lot of time with my friends. This week has been the first time that I’ve seen a large group of people my age, and it’s really special to me that they were so kind and supportive. The only negative aspect I could think of was the fact that only one of us would be crowned. Given my way, each and every one of us would win the title, because we all deserve it.

In the middle of the sharing circle, Marc announced that the top 4 talent acts who would perform in the finals had been chosen! My heart was beating in my throat. I am extremely pleased and grateful to say that I was put in the top 4! I’m so excited to perform my solo again for an even bigger audience!!!

That night, we were exceptionally allowed to stay together a bit longer. It was emotional. We took advantage of it by jamming out to ABBA and One Direction. Some girls also requested the floor to share their experience of the week, and just like before, everyone was sobbing. I can’t believe I’m going to leave all of them in just two days, but I know we’ll stay in touch.

Now we’re off to bed for a very exciting but bittersweet day. We have to rehearse all morning, and then get ready for the finals, which I’m sure is going to be a very intense and rewarding evening! I’m so excited!!! Stay tuned!

-Clara

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Day 4 is preliminary day! Lots to do, lots of fun!

We hit the ground running this morning with a quick breakfast and our first rehearsals for Saturday night. We got to meet our amazing choreographer, Shawn, who taught us the mechanics of walking and posing. He also showed us how to walk, and took us through the show order. It was really fun to learn all of the stage proceedings, and there was definitely tangible excitement in the air. For the first time, there was a collective acknowledgement that the next Miss Teenage Canada was standing among us. It was wild.

Gloria and me on a break at rehearsals!

We rehearsed all the way up until lunchtime, which was when we all scattered to do the various tasks that had to be done. Some people had to do hair and makeup, some people ate, everyone was everywhere! The chaperones moved like a well-oiled machine and made sure that everyone was where they needed to be. I ate my lunch at lightning speed and went off to the stage to try my talent number for this evening.

I was so nervous to test it out, because… I had never actually done it from beginning to end. I choreographed my own dance at home in our kitchen, but due to the limited space, I had to make up a significant amount of it in my head. The creative process was a whole lot of “I think this will work! We’ll find out at the pageant!” I ran my dance once, and I was really frazzled. So many sections were too fast or too difficult. I spent a few minutes making minor changes and then tried it again. Thank goodness: it went smoothly! I felt confident in my creation and was really excited to show it that evening!

Next up, I got dressed in my interview outfit and got my hair ready for the preliminaries. I was taken down to makeup, where Modern College was all set up to get us glamourized. I worked with an amazing artist named Monika who gave me an amazing look!

Thank you Modern College!

I was really nervous for the interviews. We had to sit in our order while waiting, and with every scooch down along the chairs, my heart beat a little faster. I knew the interview wasn’t going to be too stressful, but it was my first time meeting the judges.

It turns out that I had over-worried. I can’t give away what happened in the interview room, but I can say that the judges were really sweet and empathetic. They made the environment really comfortable, and before I even knew it, it was over! Plus, they had an adorable Golden Retriever that we could pet after! All in all: I felt satisfied.

Melynda and I getting interview-ready after our having hair and makeup done!

We went straight from there to dinner (which was super yummy!), and all we could think about was the show at night. We were all really excited and nervous, or as some of us say, nervocited. After, we went up to get into our cocktail dresses for the preliminaries at night!

Our dinner table (and some extra friends!)

And of course… prelims! Due to some technical difficulties, the show had to start an hour later, but that just meant that Melynda and I had more time to jam out to Jennifer Lopez in our room!

The competition was a blast. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures yet, but I’ll send them along as soon as I can! We all introduced ourselves and presented our platforms one by one, and it was an overall success. One thing I love about all my pageant sisters is that we’re there for each other no matter what. Every time someone stepped off the stage, everyone rushed over to tell them they were great.

Swimsuit was really fun! I expected to feel self-conscious, but when my turn came, I got a burst of energy and confidence like I’ve never felt before. I smiled so hard my cheeks were sore! I wish I could’ve seen more of the talent numbers afterward, but since I was last in the lineup, I didn’t get to. I still loved hearing all my friends perform from backstage! I was so happy to perform my dance, and I’m very pleased with how it went! It felt really amazing from beginning to end, and that’s what matters to me. Aaand, I hope I didn’t confuse the audience too much with my unusual hybrid dance style that we now call Clara-temporary.

Now we’re off to bed for a day of rehearsals tomorrow. Gosh, I am tired! Catch you all for the Day 5 update!

-Clara

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Today, we woke up nice and early to a chilly morning! Everyone was really excited because today was all about having fun outdoors. After getting ready and grabbing a quick breakfast, we were off to our first fun activity of the day: Treetop Trekking! (Or as everyone back home would say: Arbraska)

We had a short orientation demo, and then we were off to complete a series of obstacle courses and ziplines in the forest. When we arrived, we were freezing cold! As we started, though, we began to warm up. Treetop Trekking is hard! We got to do three courses with varying levels of difficulty. My arms are definitely sore from some of later ones. It was really fun to cheer on all my friends after particularly challenging sections. My favourite part was definitely the ziplining. I really felt like I was flying when I stepped off the platform. I just loved zooming through the woods. The last course was a series of seven ziplines, so needless to say, I loved it. By the end, as much as I wanted to continue, I was really tired! We definitely used lots of muscles up in the trees.

Cassia and me up top!

And we saw a fox!

After stopping back at the hotel for lunch, we were split into groups for more outdoor activities. I chose to go to the lake, where we swam and went tubing. I went on an inflated banana boat with three of my friends, and we flipped twice! We tried as hard as we could to stay on, but it just seemed impossible. Turns out that it was almost impossible: our chaperones had specifically asked the staff to knock us off. I’m happy that we got our vengeance when it was their turn; they got flipped just as many times as we did.

Seconds before falling off!

To warm up after our icy swim, we marched over to the Beaver Tail truck (there’s a Beaver Tail truck at our hotel!) One yummy Beaver Tail later, we were all set to get ready for dinner. I was really looking forward to getting dressed up for our fancy night!

Post-swim treat! Featuring my fluffy lake hair 🙂

Our dinner dress code was cocktail. We all got spiffed up and it was amazing to see everyone looking so confident. And… we got to meet Emma Jeapes, Miss Teenage Canada 2019!!! She is the sweetest and most down-to-earth person in the world! She sat with us and answered our questions for the rest of the night. We talked all things pageants, music, charity, everything! I was so stunned and amazed to finally meet her that I melted into a puddle. Hopefully, I’ll regain my composure soon. I’m really excited to talk with her again throughout the week because she’ll be with us until Saturday night.

Our table tonight!

Now we’re going to bed to rest up before a big day of interviews and preliminary judging! I’m so excited to finally perform my talent and see everyone else’s!

-Clara

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Woke up to a sunny morning here in Barrie for MTC Day 2!

Before 8:00am, we grabbed a quick breakfast and got into dresses for our studio shoots. I did my own hair in advance with all my favourite Curl Care products, and headed down for makeup. We were really fortunate to have artists and stylists from Modern College come to take care of us. I was so impressed with the final results!

Thank you for this magical look!

We went one by one to our shoots and it was so much fun! First, I went to my video shoot where I got to film my introduction. Afterward, I hopped over to take the pictures for the program book. I’ve never felt so comfortable in front of a camera and I can’t wait to see the results.

Chilling with my sisters before lunch!

At 1:00pm, we had a very quick lunch break, and then we were back! We all dressed in our casual outfits for a fun outdoor shoot. One at a time, we had a mini-session with our amazing photographer all over the hotel grounds.

Waiting for our turn to take pictures!

After, we had some time in our rooms to wind down and relax. Then we got changed into our MTC merch for a cute outdoor video shoot. At the end, all of the delegates got together on the golf course to take a big group photo. I was so excited because I’ve never seen a camera drone up close! Unfortunately, we don’t have any pictures yet from today’s shoots, but I’ll be sure to post some when I can!

Getting my MTC on!

Dinner was really exciting because we all made an agreement to sit with new people. I got to meet some friends from Alberta and Ontario, and Melynda and I taught them some French. All in all, it was a great evening (and we got leftover cake! Score!)

We’re off for an early night tonight because we’re going ziplining and swimming tomorrow! Can’t wait to climb trees with all my new friends. Stay tuned for more!

-Clara

 

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My name is Melynda Costa and I am Miss Teenage Repentigny 2020.

This blog is used for me to introduce myself to you…

I am fifteen years old and I am in secondary 3 at the school Jean-Baptiste Meilleur in Repentigny. I live with my parents, my eighteen year old brother and my caramel cat. My dad is Portuguese  and when he met my mother they fell in love and been together ever since. I speak fluently French and English. I also know the bases in Spanish and Portuguese.

I really love sports especially Basketball because I played when I was eleven years old at my primary school Marie-Victorin and not to brag but we won regional first place. Also i love taking long walks in the forest near my house. In school, I took salsa dancing, self defense and yoga witch I all enjoyed. When I was six years old I use to do karate but I stopped when I was eleven because it wasn’t my style anymore. That’s why I took these classes in school. Also I won  two bronze medals, four silver medals and two gold medals in athletics.

(sorry for the image it’s the only one like that I have)

I also love traveling witch is why I’ve been to cuba in 2016, to New-Brunswick in 2015 and to Portugal in 2014 and 2018. Also we went in the United-States a couple of times. All the time we went as a family of twelve or six or ten or eight it depended where we were going. In Portugal, we went to our house that we have in Cabanellas, Villa Verde close to Braga.

In my family, it was important for us to have a confirmation. we also like to goof around and one time my cousin and I dressed as waitress and we served all night to our parents and grand-parents. That night was a night to remember and it was hilarious to dress like a waitress.

 

This is my first pageant  and I have decided to sign up for Miss Teenage Canada to battle my shyness because I am really shy.

This is a good start. Thank you for taking the time to read my first blog.

-Melynda

 

 

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Welcome back, and today I’ll be taking you through one of my connection initiatives at the beginning of the pandemic.

With the total lack of public events and opportunities, I, like many of my pageant sisters, turned to social media. I wanted to find a way to bring people together, and thus was born my weekly Instagram Live series, QuaranTEA TIME!

I started reaching out to my friends to see what kind of content they would like. They suggested a mix of fun and serious topics. I approached several experts in various fields to come on as guests, and I was surprised by the positive responses!

I was pretty nervous before my first stream on April 3, but I was also really excited. A friend and master crafter, Ilyssa Tobenstein, came on to chat about DIY ideas and demonstrated a few projects. It went really smoothly, and I couldn’t have been happier!

1st promo poster!

In the following weeks, I got the chance to interview several other amazing role models, including the founders of Costume Change Co., a group that promotes environmentally sustainable ways of living. One week, I had a discussion on teenage mental health with a fellow MTC delegate, Emily Bliss. We talked about self-care, diet culture, society’s hustle mentality, and so many more interesting topics. It was also my absolute honour to interview Jenna Free from The Body Love Society, a major North American company that teaches the philosophy of “un-dieting” and promotes food and body freedom.

Interview with Jenna Free: A little blurry but there we are! (170 people watching, holy moly!)

Some weeks, I chose to broadcast alone. These shows were always exciting because I improvised some of my content based on live feedback from my listeners. For example, one of my episodes started as a lesson on tying a tie, but it quickly turned into an interactive discussion on gendered clothing in 2020. It was awesome. Another time, I did a live Q&A about me and my pageant journey, and it was fun to react to questions as they came in. My favourite solo episode was definitely cookie-baking. I wanted to participate in the final day of Canada Positivity Week, and the challenge was making and sharing a recipe! I’m also known for being a bit of a klutz in the kitchen, so I loved letting my viewers give me tips as I baked (and the results were awesome!)

Baking poster!

PB cookies=Love!

Overall, I’m really grateful and humbled to have access to these resources. I’m definitely impressed by today’s technology. I was able to talk to amazing people and reach so many listeners from different parts of the continent. Some weeks, we had internet difficulties, but for the most part, the web was on our side. Without this platform, I might not have been able to spread my message of hope and positivity as far as I was able to. It’s really important to stay connected during periods of isolation, and I’m happy that I was able to find a way to make people smile, even for just a few minutes at a time. I haven’t hosted a QuaranTEA TIME in a little while, but who knows?! Maybe a new theme will come up soon! Stay tuned!

-Clara

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Hey everyone and welcome back! Today, I’ll be taking you through my hair donation journey. Read on for the story of my big chop.

Ever since I was little, I was know as “the one with the hair”. I’ve always had long curly hair and it was something that set me apart. It even landed me a cameo in a video! I used to dream of being Rapunzel and all I wanted in life was floor-length hair. One year ago, I significantly cut my hair for the first time, but even then, it was still pretty long.

Dramatic and curly 8-year-old me               in a music video

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone says that people with curly hair want straight hair and vice versa, but not me. I’ve always been happy with my unique hair texture. The only downside: it’s pretty hard to maintain. As fun as they are, my curls require frequent detangling and they get caught on everything. I mean everything. People also often feel comfortable touching them without asking, which can be a little… unsettling. In recent years, I took to wearing my hair in a bun most of the time to avoid the extra attention it attracts. But no more. I decided it was time to go short and embrace my natural curls.

I knew was going to cut enough inches to donate, so I chose to give my hair to Locks of Love. I wanted to make this milestone as fulfilling as possible. I figured that if I can help out a child in need, I should go for it. To take it one step further, I turned this amazing experience into a fundraiser for Miss Teenage Canada’s national charity, Make-A-Wish Canada. It was exciting and humbling to receive so much support from my friends and family.

My promo picture to show off my curls!

Alright. Now it’s time for the fun stuff. I made sure to take lots of pictures after the final brushing. I thought I would be sad, but I was more excited (and a little bit nervous). On the way to the salon, I could feel my heart beating fast in anticipation, but I knew I was headed toward a wonderful experience. I was really fortunate to have this chop sponsored by InHAIRitance Curl Spa, the absolute best curly hair salon in the city. I love the staff and ambiance there, so I knew it would be amazing.

Ready for the cut!

First, they cut off the braid that I was going to donate. I expected it to be scary, but I knew from that first snip that it was the best hair decision I could’ve made. They then shaped my hair into the tapered style I wanted, and then washed it. After it dried, they made the last little adjustments. With every cut, I felt more and more happy with my new look. See below for the step-by-step transformation!

The braid

The big chop!

Post-chop shaping

Final touches

Couldn’t be happier!

And of course, I made sure the style works with my crown!

First crown pic with my new do!

I’m extremely grateful to have lived this experience. I’ve never suffered from or lost my hair due to a life-threatening illness, so I’m happy that I can use my privilege to help children and teens in need. I love that such a simple act can make a difference in someone else’s life. If you’re looking to make a difference (and cut off some hair for the summer!), I would definitely recommend considering donating like I did. It’s an experience like no other! I’m in love with every aspect of my new do, and I don’t regret a thing. Stay tuned for more updates on my new short-haired life!

-Clara

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It goes without saying that physical distancing has left many of us with lots of time on our hands. It’s a great opportunity to explore our interests and try new things, but let’s be honest here. We’re in a pandemic. It’s not exactly our prime time, and not all of us have the headspace to be ultra-productive. There is NOTHING wrong with that. Our job right now is to survive. That’s it.

So how have I been doing that?

Music. A lot of music. I’ve found that working on creative projects has given me a purpose as well as a space to unwind. This situation can be really stressful, so it’s been important for me to find ways to decompress.

Starting a new song!

One of my favourite hobbies is making a cappella covers of my favourite songs. I am by no means a singer, but I find the writing, recording, and editing process to be really fun and relaxing (not to mention time-consuming!). Here’s how I do it:

First, I choose a song. It’s important to find one that I like so that I don’t get bored of it in the process. I also make sure that I can actually sing it. It’s can be disappointing to start a new cover, only to realize that it goes too high or too low! Some of my recent ones have been We Know the Way from Moana and Fantasy by Earth, Wind & Fire (I’ll link them below!)

The toughest part is next: I have to find all of the chords and write out my arrangement. Depending on my level of motivation and the complexity of the song, I sometimes look the up chords online. Some may say that this is “cheating”, but who cares?! I just use the tools that are available! This step is usually messy because I’m a beginner in arranging and I do it all by hand, so there’s definitely a lot of erasing and restarting. I’m inspired by people like my dad (a professional musician/arranger) who can write out creative arrangements in his sleep! I’m nowhere close to being that comfortable, so this step still feels like “mental gymnastics”. I’m happy to keep working hard, though, because it gets a little easier every time!

The first draft of chords for Forget You!

The next part is the most fun: recording and editing! I’m really fortunate to come from a musical family, so we have a room that’s set up with recording equipment. People always ask me what program I use, and the answer is… GarageBand! It’s very simple, but you don’t necessarily need expensive software to make music. Sometimes, an easy and user-friendly program is all it takes.

GarageBand view of my latest project!

I learned early on that it’s best to start by recording the base track and making sure it’s in tune. This way, it serves as a pitch reference for all of the other tracks. After that, I layer up the voices, from lowest to highest. Once I’ve recorded all the parts, it’s time for post-production editing. I listen first for unwanted background noises and do what I can to remove them. Once I’m satisfied, I do some more precise editing by fiddling with the panning, volume, reverb, EQ, and special effects. All of these modifications help with the overall listening experience by making the music more dynamic.

One of the most difficult aspects of this process is knowing when to stop. I have very high standards, so it’s tough to tell myself that the project is done when I can still hear flaws. There always comes a time, though, when the work/result trade-off is no longer worthwhile. Allow me to explain. At the beginning, I can do a very small amount of editing and hear a monumental difference. As the process goes on, every bit of editing leads to smaller and smaller changes. There’s no such thing as perfect, so I could eventually end up spending four hours on the same two seconds (believe me, I’ve been there), but at a point, I just have to step back and say, “I’ve done what I can”. This means that the final product isn’t always my favourite project ever or my most successful one, but I think it’s still an accomplishment because I set out to do something and I saw it through.

Cover photo for my recent project!

Most recent video: https://youtu.be/Wyq4-Oxdd94

We Know the Way from Moana: https://youtu.be/5pMH_-V0Vw8

Whatever it may be, it’s really important for all of us to find something that makes us happy. It could be an art, a sport, a craft, a TV show, a book, or anything else that makes us smile. I hope you’re all finding something to get you through this difficult time!

-Clara

 

 

 

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Hi everyone, and welcome back to my blog! Just an FYI: I tend not to use Quora for my big life decisions, but sometimes, the right forum can bring you places you never even imagined.

Most of my pageant sisters have amazing stories about how they started their journeys. They were either looking for new experiences with different friends, ways to improve their confidence, or a platform to raise their voice. I share those same values, but my first Google search was a little bit different. It went:

“Places to wear a prom dress”

Yep. Having just graduated from high school (in grade 11 in Quebec), I was regretting that I would never again get to wear my sparkly pink princess gown. I turned to Google in the hope of finding an event to which it would be appropriate to wear such a dress. Among weddings, cocktail parties, charity events, and galas, I didn’t expect to find “pageants”.

Prom picture from Mount Royal!

I won’t deny that as a child, I had dreams of entering a pageant. I had never known anyone who had participated in one, though, so my only exposure to them was from the little clips of Toddlers & Tiaras that came up in my YouTube suggestions. As you can imagine, I had no idea what modern teenage pageantry looked like. I started to do some research, and that’s where I came across the Miss Teenage Canada website.

What a change in perspective. My eyes were suddenly open to the fact that pageants are actually a unique opportunity for girls to gain confidence and take their place in society. I thought to myself, “I can stand behind that”, and no sooner than one week later, I was signing myself up for the Miss Teenage Quebec provincial qualifiers.

My excitement leading up to the big day was almost overwhelming. I had no idea what to expect, but I was ready. I had bought a new swimsuit with my best friend, and I was feeling more confident than ever because it would be the first time I would ever wear two-piece swimwear. I was also ecstatic to take my gown out of my closet, since it’s what had gotten me there in the first place.

Right after evening gown section!

Our qualifiers were a private event in front of a small panel. We walked first in swimwear, then in dresses, and finally, we were interviewed. I decided to give it my all, but had no expectations because it was my first time competing in anything like this. I was ultimately thrilled and surprised to find myself crowned Miss Teenage Quebec 2020! Nothing could have prepared me for that, but once I realized it was, in fact, real, I was overcome with joy and a bit of nostalgia, as I realized that one of my childhood dreams had been fulfilled.

Photo: Tommy Levan

I am so excited to have this fantastic opportunity to be a role model to other girls, to become more active in my community, and to raise awareness for eating disorders. Stay tuned for new updates coming soon!

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