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- Cardiac Kids is a volunteer group who raise much-needed funds for children who are suffering from congenital heart disease.
- Free The Children is an international charity and educational partner, working both domestically and internationally to empower and enable youth to be agents of change.
After rehearsals and video shoot / stills
Dr. Natalie Archer is a dynamic Toronto dentist who began her dental career in 2001
She has managed to have a career and a family while building a career as a hospital dentist. Natalie was our last speaker for the night and gave us a lot to take in. She taught us the importance of confidence and how “you’re never fully dressed without a smile”. She told us that we should have dreams and goals, however, those dreams and goals should be calculated and educated. You cannot want something that is hard and then not be willing to work hard to obtain it. They say everything is possible if you believe, but you also have to educate yourself on how to get there, if there is where you want to be. Natalie was a great speaker and inspired me a lot. She made me realize that I cannot rely on natural talent to have an easy life. If I want something bad enough, I’m going to have to work very hard to get there and educate myself so I have the right credentials to properly get there. She said “the one thing nobody can ever take from you is your education”. I think that quote made a lot of girls think because anyone can take your style, people can take away your right and they can take away your freedom, but nobody can take away your education. If you keep learning and keep pushing yourself, you can accomplish great things and help out so many different people. All in all, Natalie was a excellent speaker and I would very much enjoy to speak with her again, possibly in further details!
Melani Chong has been involved in fashion and beauty for over 15 years, is a Canadian Ford Model and a mother of two children. While balancing her day to day life she has also developed a personalized skin care line called Soya Boutique. These organic products are a natural skin care collection that are useful for the whole family and healthy to use. While listening to her speak, it was clear to see that she has gotten where she is today by being a strong and independent woman, through dedication and perseverance. She is mature and wise enough to know that, even though she has accomplished many great things, she is still learning. She says that “the wisest is he who knows what he does not know”. Melanie’s journey was a tough one, but “it’s not hard if you know it’s what you really want”. She taught us that we will have many accomplishments throughout our life, such as attending the 2012 Miss Teen Canada World Pageant, but “this isn’t it, it’s only a stepping stone”. I very much enjoyed listening to Melanie Chong speak because of her strong message; “be persistent with what you want, the more you learn about rejection, the stronger a person you will be, and to maintain integrity towards your dream. Passion leads to drive, and drive leads to core actions!” Thank you for the amazing presentation Melanie, it was very inspirational and I hope to talk again soon.
Katrina Hadden is a health and wellness specialist, size 12 model, life coach, motivational speaker and the author of the best-selling self-help book, Making It In High Heels.
Known for her positive energy and contagious smile, she helps her clients get better focused to achieve their goals and dreams . Katrina Hadden Life Coaching for Athletes has been a life coach for over eight years, specializing in Stress Management, Personal Development, Work-Life Balance and Health and Wellness. Katrina’s story was very inspirational. She had many things she had to overcome, such as being called names and being left out in elementary school, so to deal, she forgot about the world by playing basketball. She was an excellent player and said, when shooting, she would envision the shot going in the net before the ball left her hands. That’s what she taught us to do that with our lives; envision success before you begin, and work hard to achieve it. When Katrina’s basketball dream got flushed down the toilet after a bad injury, she had to discover a new passion. A new light at the end of her tunnel. So, because she is very tall, her friends suggested modeling, but being a size 12, there was no fit for her; not small enough for high fashion, not big enough for plus size. This really stumped her, and she decided she would take it upon herself to change that. She moved to the big city, Toronto, and went head under in modeling. Her radiant energy was what landed her most of her gigs, and then finally, her big break came. A designer off Project Runway asked her to wear his creation at Toronto Fashion Week, to make a statement. Her jitters and nerves were all she could think about back stage, but after being pushed out onto the runway, came something she never would have guessed. As soon as she was in view, the whole audience began to applaud. She realized that she wasn’t the only one rooting for change. What I learned from Katrina was that she went through bullying, self-esteem issues, and shyness, but still came out looking incredible. She taught me that a little confidence can go a long way. It allows you to be independent and strong. Finally, she told us her 5 tips to be a good role model:
- take care of your body and health
- find an interest or hobby
- carry an attitude of gratitude
- forgiveness! let go, be the bigger person.
- Don’t quit!
A Poem Katrinas mom used to read to her!
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high, And you want to smile, but you have to sigh, When care is pressing you down a bit, Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit. Life is queer with its twists and turns, As every one of us sometimes learns, And many a failure turns about, When he might have won had he stuck it out; Don’t give up though the pace seems slow– You may succeed with another blow. Often the goal is nearer than, It seems to a faint and faltering man, Often the struggler has given up, When he might have captured the victor’s cup, And he learned too late when the night slipped down, How close he was to the golden crown. Success is failure turned inside out– The silver tint of the clouds of doubt, And you never can tell how close you are, It may be near when it seems so far, So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit– It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.– Author unknown
Alexandra Orlando is a highly decorated world-class Rhythmic Gymnast. Her wisdom can be found inside the pages of an award winning book called In Pursuit of Victory.
Alexandra has just published her second motivational book, Breaking Through My Limits: An Olympian Uncovered. She was very interesting to listen to. Not just because she is only a few years older than some of us, but because of the way she talked to us and related to us. She knows what its like for us because it wasn’t that long ago for her. Everyone says these are the years we will figure everything out, but that’s a lie. Alex says and everyone knows, these are the years we try things, dumb things, fun things, different things, crazy things, but a lot of firsts. It’s not when we figure out who we are, it’s when we realize who we want to be. A time when we will discover how strong we really are. Alex trained non stop her whole life, missed the Olympics by one tenth of a point, got very angry with everybody and life in general, took time off, gained a bit of weight, then realized she wasn’t going to give up on something she loved doing. She got back in the race, trained hard, made the Olympics and won a gold medal. That to me is dedication and perseverance worth applauding. It’s not always easy to go back to something you’ve left, but if it’s something you really want, there is nothing stopping you. All you need is a little extra effort and confidence in your abilities, and if your realistic, you can always achieve it.
Thank you for reading, and thank you to all the wonderful mentors. I surely learned a lot and had a great night!
Lots of love,
Kelly Ouderkirk, Miss Teen SD&G County World 2012
The second day was another great one! After getting a knock on the door from Christi, we all headed down stairs for a delicious breakfast, then were off to hair and makeup! After a long process of straight irons, curlers, mascara and more, and were all ready in our cocktail dresses, we headed up the elevator to our photo shoot and video shoot! They had the cameras rolling, wind blowing and music blasting; it was exhilarating! When finished, we went down stairs changed into a more conservative outfit, then waited our turn to be interviewed. The three judges were all very welcoming and friendly. Finally, we had a quick supper, and raced upstairs to the ball room for mentor night! Basically, we had four women come in, with very inspirational stories, and motivate us to pursue our dreams. I very much enjoyed the night and I hope to speak to those fantastic women again sometime soon! You can read more about mentor night on my blog in a separate post. I had a great day, and very much enjoyed every single second!
Thankfully we got to sleep in a little bit in the morning, then ate breakfast and headed for the bus! We were going to the Extreme fitness to work out with instructors Stephanie and Joanne! She taught us a great workout that was more intense than expected and push us to our limits. The she gave us a healthy eating 101:
- DIET is a four letter word!
- KISS-keep it simple stupid-simplify your eating
- plan your meals like you plan your wardrobe
i.e. Fuel Foods/colour, freshness, variety
- the truth about carbs
- late night snacking
- hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
- don’t let yourself get too hungry
- what the heck is omega-3?
- it’s OK to cheat- in moderation
- take you vitamins!..but not the flinstones..
I had a great time at the gym and burned off more than a few calories! After finishing the workout we were served a very delicious and nutritious meal from Fuel Foods! They served us a fresh salad, and delicious, roasted chicken. I highly recommend their food! It was incredible! We finished the day by going back to the hotel and rehearsing for the final show with choreographer Sean Cuffie all afternoon, then were served supper and went to bed. I love my sleep!
Talk about bright and early! Tuesday we woke up at 4 am, got all ready and wore a fancy dress because we were going to be on Breakfast Television! We all had a blast on the show, and within 10 minutes, the host remembered all 62 of our names! Talk about talented! Later we went to High Park and had a scrumptious breakfast; bacon, eggs, toast, and home fries. Yum! After that went down to a harbor and boarded the Violent Island; a boat cruise that took us through some of the Toronto islands. While on the boat we enjoyed drinks, pictures and dancing! It was a blast! We toured a few of the islands and saw the beautiful city of Toronto from it’s finest point; Lake Ontario! Next, we unloaded the boat and went back to the hotel for some lunch and rehearsals! After hours of dancing and walking we headed to our rooms for the much needed sleep! All in all, this experience could not get any better and has already surpassed all of my hopes for this incredible adventure!
Day 5- Wednesday
By far was one of my favorite days so far! We woke up fairly early, ate breakfast then headed to the CN Tower! When we arrived I could already tell I was about to have so much fun. We stepped f the bus with our crowns and sashes, and a swarm of people came by and started taking pictures! I loved being in the spotlight! After going up the lightning fast elevator, we were at the top! The most beautiful view you could imagine, it went on for miles upon miles. Also, you look south and the water from the lake blended with the sky forming a wall of blues and pastel. It was stunning. After a few minutes looking around, all the delegates walked over to the glass floor. It was so scary! You look down and all you can think about is falling because all you can see is the ground. It is so mind-blowing!
The Distillery District is where we went next. Rob Cambell, the man in charge of these wonderful blogs, set up a scavenger hunt to win prizes at local stores! Unfortunately, the first bus got a head start and found all the prizes before we were able to start. However, everyone still had a great time shopping, and buying ice cream! Before we left, all the girls gathered around the center of the district and performed a flash mob to our opening number song and dance, Dance Again by Jennifer Lopez! The whole square watched our performance and applauded us when we were finished!
Next, we loaded the bus and headed to the Eaton Center to go shopping!! When we arrived, we entered the mall and walked, all 62 of us, in two rows. Hundreds of cameras and phones came out and were clicking away. I felt like a rock star! We quickly ate lunch, took a few promo pictures, then hit the stores. I ended up buying an adorable bikini form Victoria’s Secret, and because the Eaton Center gave every girl a 50$ gift card, it came out being very cheap.
Back on the bus we went, and this time, headed to Much Music’s New Music Live! After a little camera time, and meeting Jesse Giddings, we watched the premiere music video for Hedleys new song Kiss You Inside Out. Jacob Hoggard’s dedication in the making of this music video was so inspirational. He got injured while performing and managed to continue it out and still look amazing! There was so much energy from the fans at New Music Live, I hope I will be able to go again!
Later, we headed back to the hotel and met with Zack Warner! Former Canadian Idol judge, manager, lawyer, singer and more, this man could not be more involved with the music industry. He taught us about pursuing our dreams, but at the same time being realistic about them. If you want to be one in one million, that is a very small window, you better be fabulously unique. He says to leave your options open, but get good at what you want to do; don’t rely on natural talent, perfect your craft! He took some girls up on stage after he finished talking, let them sing, and gave them some critique. If only my voice sounded decent, I guess I’m just meant for slap shots!
Finally, to finish off this long day, we went to an adorable little Italian buffet! The food was incredible ad the atmosphere made you feel like you were really in Italy! It couldn’t have been a cuter restaurant. After stuffing my plate and stomach, we boarded the bus once again and went back to the hotel to get some sleep. Tomorrow would be preliminaries!
Lots of love,
Kelly Ouderkirk-Miss Teen SD&G County World 2012
It was everything I expected and more! I arrived around 2:30 after a fun car ride up from kingston with my mom, singing along to Katy Perry on the radio. All my worries went away after we arrived and I met all the beautiful young ladies. They are all as unique and full of energy as I was, excited for the week to get started! After meeting my awsome roomate, Lindsay Fraughton, Miss Teen Alberta, and bonding after 2 minutes of knowing each other, we went downstairs for registration! There we received our new sashes!
A little later on we went over to a ball room full of sponsors, information and goodies! A shout out to a few of the speakers; S-tip, Sallazzo, Cheeky Monkey Cosmetics and Free The Children! I am very greatful for all the gifts! So much to do and so little time. After taking a few pictures with our new keepsakes we headed downstairs for some dinner. You can never go wrong with pizza! Michelle and a few other of the pageant directors explained what we will be doing this week, including being on Breakfast Television and Much Music Live! Finally, after a quick appearance from the reigning Miss Teen Canada, Lauren Howe, we headed back up to our rooms to get our beauty sleep for another incredible day!
Keep reading! Lots of love,
Miss Teen SD&G County World 2012