Alicia Maclaren hopped on a ferry to the Mainland and returned with a sash and a tiara.
The Grade 12 Belmont secondary student came home to Langford crowned Miss Teen Victoria, after competing in the 2015 Miss Teenage British Columbia pageant at the Executive Airport Plaza Hotel in Richmond. The 18-year-old’s crowning achievement punches her a ticket to Toronto in August, to challenge for the title of Miss Teenage Canada in Toronto.
“I was so shocked I couldn’t believe it. It was an amazing experience,” she said this week. “While most have been planning for more than a year, I just started two weeks before. I quickly got a dress, hopped on the ferry. I (still) can’t believe I won. It was breathtaking.”
Thirty individuals vied for the Miss Teenage B.C. title on March 1, having first passed an interview process. The pageant itself involves a juried question-and-answer period, plus swimsuit, modelling and talent segments. There are no height or weight requirements for the pageant.
Maclaren was one of a number of entrants who earned a regional title. She says a major factor in her decision to enter the competition was to use it as a platform for humanitarian efforts, specifically ones aimed at working with children.
“My interest is helping sick and disadvantaged children,” she said. “I love children so much and I think they deserve the best. I’m raising money and fundraising and collecting things and going out to hospitals and visiting children.”
The aspiring model, who has also danced since she was three, applied for the competition on a whim after her mother found the competition online. Maclaren’s long-time dance instructor, Karen Clark, said her talented student’s affinity for helping others has been a shining quality since she first walked into her dance studio 15 years ago.
“Alicia always knew what she wanted; even at age three she was always caring about other kids,” Clark said “She always wanted other people to be included. As she’s grown up she hasn’t changed that much. She is a lovely person inside.”
Unlike school teachers who may only work with a student for a year or two, Clark said she feels fortunate to have worked with Maclaren for most of her life.
“To watch her grow up and go forth into the world is inspiring and makes me feel very proud,” Clark said. “In our world, it’s ‘all about me.’ Alicia really isn’t like that, she is about everyone around her. She takes it seriously, is proud of it and hopes to reach out and touch other peoples’ lives in a happy way.”
Maclaren has already gotten her start, volunteering in the face-painting tent at a recent easter-egg hunt. She plans to continue the trend, showing people her title is based as much on as who she is on the inside as the outside. She’ll be in Toronto from Aug. 2 to 10 to compete on the national stage.
“It’s going to be an amazing experience, so surreal, I can’t even explain it with words,” she said. “I will be full of life. I am totally representing the West Shore area and Victoria, so I have to do the best I possibly can.”