Alicia Maclaren, the 18-year-old Langford beauty queen who stole judges’ hearts this year in the Miss Teenage British Columbia pageant, is taking her title to an even bigger stage, the Miss Teenage Canada competition.
“I’ve grown so much,” she said of her adventures. “It’s a great new experience.”
Maclaren, who earned the title of Miss Teen Victoria at the B.C. event, packed her gown and swimsuit and headed to Toronto last weekend to compete at this week’s national pageant.
Open to young women age 13 to 19, Miss Teenage Canada sees 70 regional winners vie for the grand prize. Maclaren, a Belmont secondary grad, represents Victoria (and Langford) and is one of 14 young women representing B.C.
But she hasn’t always been involved in the pageant world. In fact, she only discovered the British Columbia pageant two weeks prior to the event, while searching the Internet for scholarships. She thought: “Why not try it? What’s the worst that could happen?”
Now she has her sights set on making the top 20 and is ready to be judged in several categories including personal interview, evening gown, swimwear, charity contribution, public speaking, community engagement and photogenic appeal.
To prepare, she’s picked out a red full-length evening gown that has a little train and sparkles in the light, her favourite out of a number of required outfits. Luckily, she said, she’s comfortable wearing high heels so she doesn’t have to practice walking in them.
She’s also been “dancing as much as possible.” Dance, one of her passions since a young age, is also her talent and an activity she hopes to do more of after the competition.
At home, her busy schedule doesn’t just include work and dance. She volunteers in the community, raising money for charities. Miss Teenage Canada’s 2015 charity of choice is Free the Children and Maclaren has raised more than $2,300 for the cause through bake sales, car washes and other fundraisers.
When she gets back from Toronto she will also be volunteering for the Victoria Hospital Foundation to help her with her goal of one day becoming a pediatric nurse.
“I just love working with kids … my platform is to help disadvantaged and sick children.” It’s a platform she hopes will help her win the crown on Aug. 9.
But the competition is about more than the title. There’s more than $30,000 in scholarships and prizes to be won.
The winner also gets to travel with Free the Children on one of their upcoming humanitarian trips.
“Just to have the title of Miss Teenage Canada would be a blessing,” Maclaren said.
The public can help get her closer to that dream by voting for her on missteenagecanada.com, where the top vote getter is guaranteed a spot in the top 20. You can find a blog linked to her profile on the site that highlights some of the work she’s been doing.