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Here I am, Tawnuel Phillips, posing at the end of the runway on closing night of Western Canada Fashion Week, September 29, 2011. (Photograph provided by Kelly Bokehccino. Also check out Kelly’s recent photos. Thank you to Chris Chan (also see Chris’s Flickr, a photographer for Phabrik magazine, who coordinated getting photos for me.
The lights danced on the runway as my eyes sparkled with wonderment. I still remember how my heart fluttered like tiny butterflies as my excitement rippled in anticipation to see all the unique, creative collections displayed like an endless library of design. As the lights began to dim, I whispered to my mom, sitting beside me, “Here we go.”
Western Canada Fashion Week is the third largest Fashion Week in Canada, supporting over 400 models and 60 designers each season with shows in September and March/April of each year. The week long (plus one day) event is supported by every type of media across the country including 24 Hours, ACCESS TV, Alberta PrimeTime, Careers TV, Avenue Magazine, The Bounce, Calgary Herald, Canada’s Next Top Model, CBC, CHCA News (central AB), Cineplex Odeon Theatres, CITY TV, Breakfast Television, Big Breakfast, City Style, CKUA, CTV, Edmonton Journal, Edmonton Stories, Edmonton Sun, Edmonton Woman Magazine, Edmontonian, Elle Canada, FASHION Magazine, Flare Canada, Global TV, Hot 107 FM, Lazey-Fair Magazine, LouLou Magazine, Metro News, The National Post, Omni TV, Pattison Outdoor Advertising, Phabrik Magazine, Prospere Magazine, SEE Magazine, Shaw Television, Toronto Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, Travel Alberta, VUE Weekly, Where Magazine, and World 101.7.
Last season, fashion bloggers Rowena Manansala (http://www.planitsound.com/) and Stacey Mullings of A Pleasury of A-Lines and B-Lines entered the Western Canada Fashion Week scene and blogged 24/7. After their marketing capabilities came to the forefront of attention, they were promoted and, this season, engaged a contingent of fashion bloggers to raise the flag for Western Canada Fashion Week across the internet. Mom and I had the honor of being fashion bloggers this season, and we were treated like royalty, as were the other fabulous fashion bloggers I will be introducing later in this blog post. On one night, Sandra Sing Fernandes, the CEO, creative director, and host of Western Canada Fashion Week, asked the bloggers to stand and take a bow. What an experience my Miss Teen Canada World Network blog has afforded! Far more than I imagined. Mom is helping me set up my own fashion blogging web site (http://www.thepolishedprincessjournal.com/). I hope to win top Miss Teen Canada World Network Blogger and Lenzr website hosting from Miss Teen Canada World in December 2011.
If you’ve been following my blogs, you might remember. Some time ago my mom won my Princess Protégé pageant. (Check out some of my earlier blogs for details.) So as my Princess Protégé’s first major assignment, I asked my mom, Stara C. Phillips, to interview Sandra Sing Fernandes , since I promised to provide my protégé with similar experiences that I have had (see my Vancouver Sun interview with Patricia Graham, Editor in Chief). A transcript of Stara’s interview with Sandra Sing follows:
AN INTERVIEW WITH SANDRA SING FERNANDES
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START DOING WESTERN CANADA FASHION WEEK?
Well basically there wasn’t anything for the designers here, for models, really; it was quite the empty slate over here. That’s the main reason because there wasn’t anything for an outlet for people, so there wasn’t much of a design scene unfortunately.
[Sandra], that’s awesome that you took upon yourself to help develop that for the people.
WHAT WAS YOUR OWN BACKGROUND IN IT [FASHION] THAT HAD GENERATED YOUR OWN PERSONAL INTEREST?
I am a designer as well.
So I have a performance arts, fine art, and designer background.
I’ve sort of done it all within the industry, and coming here and seeing nothing [no fashion activity] was very disappointing and a shame. There are talented people here, who deserve to have something happening.
Yeah. That’s awesome, we’re on the same page because I have the same idea. [Many people] want to work in their home city and create an opportunity there to do their work; so [your contributing] is really neat.
WHAT GROWTH HAVE YOU OBSERVED IN THE WESTERN CANADA FASHION DESIGN COMMUNITY THAT YOU COULD DIRECTLY CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR OUTREACH EFFORTS THROUGH YOUR EMERGING DESIGNERS’ AND OTHER PROGRAMS?
Oh, it’s phenomenal! That’s what keeps us going is that it’s been enormous because, as you say, now we have a community where there is a lot of young designers that are selling in stores. “We’ve come a long way, baby!”
It’s quite apparent that the community has been much more aware of our young designers; and there are more stores that have been carrying local [designer clothes], and it’s all growth. It’s taken a long time, but nevertheless we’re getting there!
Ah, that’s neat.
WE’VE NOTICED THAT YOU SUPPORT SEVERAL CHARITABLE INITIATIVES. COULD YOU EXPOUND A LITTLE BIT ON THAT?
We’re always supporting all kinds of different things that will help the community.
It’s great to support the designers, but now I think we need to turn around and support some causes. So we’ve been in support of many things. Certainly we worked with HIV [causes] in the beginning. We have [also] worked with iHuman for years, now. We have
all kinds of initiatives going with iHuman for inner city youth.
We certainly like the things that relate to youth because I think that’s amazing. If you don’t give kids something creative to do, they usually find something negative to do.
So there’s a great effort with inner city kids because they’re really a group that suffers quite a bit. And we love that we can do something [for them].
That is awesome.
It’s always trial and error, you know. We work with them; we try different things; and when you’re working with a community that’s more complex, it’s not so easy.
It’s something that we keep trying to refresh. This season we tried to help the women’s shelter by drawing attention to their cause, so we hope that we can continue to do that.
IS THAT WIN HOUSE THAT YOU’RE REFERRING TO?
Yeah, yeah. We’re trying to work with them, and we’d love to continue that [endeavor].
We’ll see where that takes us, but I feel that is something which is near and dear to a lot of women that we work with. It’s a very good cause.
I can’t help but comment. I realize I’m in a reporter facility, and I’m supposed to be sterile on this, but everything that you are saying is really impressive.
WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF WESTERN CANADA FASHION WEEK?
Well, we want to keep growing; we want to keep drawing people in from across the country, and who are overseas or from wherever too. [For instance] we have Beverly
Gan, coming from London. We love that. Amazingly, we just keep connecting with new people and hoping that continues.
We want to grow and get bigger and stronger. We need more awareness; we need more [participation]; every organization will tell you it’s an ongoing battle. It’s great to support the arts, but we need people to come out. We need more people to come out that are going to purchase the garments, and it takes a whole community to make something
happen. So I think our mission is just to keep going and trying to reach new people and work with new organizations.
NOW I WOULD LIKE TO MENTION A FEW WORDS AND HAVE YOUR RESPONSE WITH THE FIRST IMPRESSION OR IMPRESSIONS THAT COME TO YOUR MIND…..GREATEST SUCCESS STORY:
I think the greatest success story for anybody is finding some peace and happiness inside themselves enjoying what they’re doing,
That’s awesome. Awesome answer.
So I think that’s one thing we’d like to help the young people find. I think in our modeling mission, that for some girls, they’ll never turn around and be models as a profession, but it certainly can give them confidence and it’s something for them to remember. I think that can be a success story, a notch on the belt for a lot of young girls; so I think success is something that is totally personal for each person. But I think truly, when it comes right down to it, most people can believe success [contributes to] some sort of inner peace and happiness.
Money and fame can’t buy that for you.
COMMENT ON THE LARGEST INTERNATIONAL DESIGNER COLLECTION [SHOWCASED] AT WESTERN CANADA FASHION WEEK:
Gee, there’ve been so many now. I hate to mention just one.
Ho, ho. OK.
We’ve tried to support quite a few different people, and through our efforts we feel that some people are getting more recognition here. We loved supporting Michael Kaye because he was originally from here. He’s worked in fashion work in New York, and he’s just coming in for “Fashion with Compassion” which is a big commercial show here.
That’s a fun success because we brought him three times; and through that, he ended up getting another thing here which is really good for his career. So I think, again, supporting everyone is amazing because everyone in this industry always needs help and needs to make new connections. And I think the thing that was fun about this was that now we are seeing it go to the next level for him.
Yeah, I think it’s terrific.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE MOST AMAZING [WESTERN CANADA FASHION WEEK] SHOWCASE EVER?
We’ve had so many [participants] we loved who were so great. Toni Ricci is one of our local hairdressers. He’s won North American Hairdresser of the Year…
And he’s done some fantastic showcases during the Salon Sunday during Fashion Week. His team, his whole team, is just amazing; so they’ve done some great shows that have been wonderful. During Fashion Week all these things have been great; also we love Jason Matlo from Vancouver. He did an amazing showcase that was pretty spectacular.
WHO IS THE YOUNGEST DESIGNER EVER?
I think our youngest designer is just this season [DE OCAMPO, Andrea Isabelle]. She had won the Emerging Designer last season. I think she was fifteen then; I think she is sixteen now.
She did her Emerging Designer showcase this season, and she just did an amazing job.
So, [Stara], you’re aware of her?
Yes, we actually spoke with her directly, and Tawnuel, [my daughter], took a picture with her.
Boy, I think it varies from season to season. I think a lot of our Emerging Designer contest kids are under twenty-five because a lot of them are just entering college or whatever. I think that’s been interesting.
I think that a lot of the designers themselves, by the time they get around to showing and producing and so on, I think a lot of them would be over twenty-five.
I see. By the time they get through college and everything?
[There] may be a [good number] between twenty-five and thirty. Of course, you have the more seasoned designers which have been around a long time. We have those as well, so I guess that a really young girl like Andrea who puts on a decent show already at this point is quite outstanding.
Yeah. That is tops!
It’s a lot of effort and energy, so she did an amazing job; and we’ll see where she goes from here. It would certainly be great to see her go and get some classes and continue her education. It’s a learning process, and there’s always a lot more to learn; so we’re hoping that she continues.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR OWN DESIGNING? HAVE YOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO CONTINUE WITH THAT?
It’s funny because each season I say, “That’s it. This is my last season not to do a show myself.” It seems like I’m too busy with the showcases and everything. But I’m hoping that definitely in 2012, whether it’s the spring or fall, that I’ll be back doing something myself.
Ahhh, that’s neat. Also an interesting part of your name, your middle name “Sing”… I’d like to know: is that from the word “sing,” or is does that have something to do with an ethnic background?
It actually has to do more with a name I used in New York as a designer.
I used “Sandra Sing.” Just S-i-n-g.
It was quite catchy,
…and I was known for that. So having a lot of press and articles and so on, I wanted to hang on to that because I still work within that community and that’s an important part of my businesses elsewhere.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO PARTICULARLY ADD FOR THE WESTERN CANADA FASHION WEEK ATTENDERS?
[This is my message to the community:] Please keep coming and supporting us. We need the people; we need to grow; we need people to be talking about it. Once you come, you will have a great experience… [Then] go and look at some of these clothes in the stores to see if there’s something that you might end up purchasing. I think your support and audience [to one of our shows] would not only support the community but would also help you [because of the modeling] to better select [a choice of clothes].
And it is important. I think sometimes people don’t understand why the arts are important to a city, but it really is the most important because when you visit a city and you go to the arts neighborhood to see [the production, remember] a city is often measured by its art community.
That’s a very good point.
It marks time. You look back at a time period and you say, “What was happening in the ‘80’s, the ‘90’s for fashion, for art?” There are amazing little options to go to; there’s all these great things at the university where art students are making pieces and you can go pick up an art piece for $60 that someone’s created.
Art happens all year, and I think we have to open our eyes and ears to what we can support and what we like; and whether it’s the ballet or the opera or whatever it might be that is our art of choice, I think that we have to get out there and do it or it won’t [continue to] exist.
Yeah. That’s true.
People are busy nowadays, and it’s hard to make those choices; but I think it is so important to our community. Get out and see something. If you can, buy something local from someone. Do something that actually supports. Go out and buy a piece of art, and actually support [the community].
That’s awesome. I think this is a message that needs to get out because I think many times people miss thinking about that. And they don’t know. Like I didn’t know that they have art that they sell at the university.
They have showcases; there’s all kinds of things going on. And it’s amazing; you see these kids, and you can help their careers. It’s actually a good investment because you never know down the road if this kid will go on and become successful [and the momento you buy could become famous and valuable].
Yeah, that’s true.
Without someone supporting them at that beginning level they may not [be encouraged to continue]. But it’s amazing what there is [available here]. We have a lot of talent. It would be a shame to see it leave.
Very true. But you know with the people who have the roots here, if you develop a community here that supports it, they may come back.
Well, that’s the point.
That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much. Thank you so much for the time.
I’m really excited, and send me a link and we’ll put it up on our site as well.
OK. Thank you.
What a fantastic interview from Sandra Sing by Stara Phillips! I am so impressed with Sandra’s generosity and concerns for the community. After having a wonderful time at fashion week, Mom and I attended the Edmonton International Film Festival and have a short movie in the works based on our Emle Flowers musical which is being produced to support the charity Free the Children with performances projected for May/June 2012. We have experienced the incredible talent in this area and those willing to debut collections at Western Canadian Fashion Week, theatre performances at the Edmonton Fringe festival (second largest in the world), and international as well as Alberta films at the Edmonton International Film Festival. We feel we have a reason to celebrate that a person with the background and experience of Sandra Sing is an active promoter and producer of art projects in Western Canada. We undertake with relish to help plow some territory here with our Emle Flowers productions to hopefully contribute to Edmonton’s capabilities to support a vibrant arts community. Join my Facebook, Twitter, and keep following my blog (www.thepolishedprincessjournal.com) to keep up with our story and
princess polishing tips.
Now to dig in to my Western Canada Fashion Week adventure with relish! Here we go:
WCFW – Day One – September 22, 2011
Day One was a revelation of talent unveiled as graduates of the MC College fashion design and apparel production program showcased their artistry. Ten fashionista designers debuted an entire year’s worth of work on the runway. I was amazed by how a one year program could launch such promising careers. For more details about the MC College
showcases, check out Clarrisse’s, “Thoughts on Style” at Dress Me Dearly, one of Western Canada Fashion Week’s fabulous bloggers.
WCFW – Day Two – September 23, 2011
Day Two, Mom and I were welcomed to reserved seating on the front row and were treated to more fantastic showcases. Whyte Avenue collections trotted down the runway inviting onlookers to check out fashions on Whyte. Brittanee Tomkow and Lance Chung, the March 2011 winners of the Stylist Competition sponsored by Goodwill Industries of Alberta, showcased their stylish creations. This one is my favorite:
I liked that “goodwill” demonstration that Fashion Week couture is also accessible to people with small fashion budgets. Here’s one of my mom’s snapshots of me modeling a Value Village cocktail dress with tie and jewelry accessories from Ardene’s which my family and I had put together to wear in Toronto during the Miss Teen Canada World national pageant:
I have Shirley Borrelli, a kind-hearted image consultant who contributed a free consultation as a pageant sponsor, to thank for giving me the confidence to put together looks from pre-owned clothing. To my surprise, I came to Sandra Sing’s Fashion Week and saw Goodwill sponsoring pre-owned fashion statements on the runway!
If you want to know a secret about how to make a clever fashion statement and cover up a little more than a string bikini, check out some of the TK Couture swim wear beauties by Tisa Konev. One of the benefits of attending fashion week is seeing clothes modeled that you may have overlooked otherwise due to a busy schedule.
The Emerging Designer competition was delightful. I don’t envy the expert panel judges who had to select the winner. The first place winner, Patience Soyege, displayed a fine fashion statement which, no doubt, is worthy of her name for the time it would take anyone but a master to create.
Then an amazing girl, Andrea DeOcampo, the March 2011 Emerging Designer winner,
presented her impressive collection. I spoke with Andrea after the show, and she was confident and poised. She had prepared her entire collection in about a month with some manufacturing help from friends. She smiles like, “What’s the big deal anyway?” My favorite outfit from the DeOcampo collection is the black faux fur skirt suit:
Wearing this one, you won’t likely be cold at the office, but you will look, oh so fine!
For more fun details and loads more Fashion Week pics, check out Clarisse’s Dress Me Dearly Western Canada Fashion Week Day Two blog. Here I am at the end of the evening modeling in front of the banners of the West Edmonton Mall, a headliner sponsor for Western Canada Fashion Week.
WCFW – Day Three – September 24, 2011
Highlights of 124th Street showcased the runway for a preview to a shopping spree at stores on 124th. If you want to be up-to-the-minute, check out what Edmonton celebrities are wearing from High Grade Clothing. Kassandra, one of the fabulous fashion bloggers of Western Canada Fashion Week, details the evening show in her Kastles blog.
Mini Edmonton fascinated the audience with an interesting deployment of props: an umbrella, school book and purse, luggage on wheels, skateboard (with rider lol), license plate, and carry-on luggage bag. But my favorite interest addition (also noticed by Kassandra), was this cute little puppy, who walked the runway wearing a black, “short-legged” jacket.
Sarah Brown, one of the Miss Teen Canada World national finalists, walked the runway for Rebecka Pichoch and Beth Evans, who exhibited their unique styles with models wearing bird feather headdresses or macramé hair pieces looking like long braids.
Patricia Glanville from Calgary showcased her Padraigin collection, which incorporated pleating as a flower-petal-like strapless top piece and as an accent peeking through slit skirts. Nazilla Couture displayed a decorative touch with fabric appliques adorning one eye of her models. Eye-catching dots were a theme that glittered throughout pieces of her collection in an East Indian flavor. Sarah Brown, my pageant sister, also walked the runway in a Nazilla Couture fashion statement.
After the show, Mom snapped a few shots of me modeling my Value Village red, mid-calf length cocktail dress.
Our budget did not include nightly trips to the hair dresser, so it was time for me to learn how to curl my hair. When I entered junior high, Mom hired a level eight Eveline Charles hairdresser to train me how to get the look I wanted with a straightener. I have been practicing that technique for years, but I had never learned to use a curling iron. I decided to try a curling iron, and, pleasingly, some of the straightening iron techniques applied to curling along with a few tips I had picked up from Maxine at Studio Max. Day Two it took me four hours to curl my hair all around. By Day Three I had it down to two. When I had looped a ring of hair over my forehead to clip up so I could curl the hair behind it, Mom noticed the loop and said, “I think I could make a hat with that style if you could make loops like that in your hair all around, leaning a little more to the right side.” My mom is not a hairstylist (or photographer), but she is very creative and has made fantastic costumes from almost anything when needed…..and she takes the Scripture by faith that says, “I can do all things through Christ…” (Philippians 4:13 KJV). So Mom found fabric flowers at Dollarama, Dollar Giant and Walmart and pinned them in a design with different textured black, fabric hair twists.
Here you can see a little more of Mom’s flower headdress. I am also wearing my black faux fur coat from Suit Yourself.
WCFW – Day Four – September 25, 2011
Get your shopping list out and check it twice because the West Edmonton Mall stores showcase is on parade. Day Four of Western Canada Fashion Week was the Salon Showcase which is a fun night to attend. The models exude high energy on the runway and work the audience up to an occasional roar. Kassandra did a great coverage in her Kastles blog to give you a taste of what you could see Salon night.
Amazing talent graced the runway as showcase after showcase of incredible hair styles wowed the audience. This night I learned that a hit on the Salon Showcase runway is not necessarily the model with the best figure. The loudest audience response was to the most free attitudes. Even a “geek” fellow strutted down the runway with a cut that put him right in style. The models entertained like a well-selected cast from a reality show. Many curvy-sized models claimed the runway with confidence and pinash. Here I learned that a gathered sheer fabric sewn to the outside of a garment could actually balance a larger frame. But even all the gusto could not obscure the charm of beautiful violin music accompanying a fall-colored leaf-and-berry motif woven through fish braided hair and eye-shadow looks with a racoon-type influence.
Nevertheless, my most favorite showcase of the evening was the Eveline Charles “Apocalyptic Romance” showcase. And, ladies and gentlemen, Eveline Charles was in the house! The hair was fabulous, exhibiting “Apocalyptic” frenetic genius, but let’s not forget the costumes so masterfully created from garbage bags. There seemed to be no limit to the
styles that could be emulated using garbage bags, duct tape, and paper clips, from strapless dresses, to frilly layered gowns with trains, to garbage bag bouquets. My mom was exceedingly awed by the showcase and led a standing ovation, joined by much of the audience. Mom said it moved her to tears because it portrayed the message of a song called “Love Hunger”:
Help us, now,
We’re drifting away,
In the fog of our own desire.
There must be
A price we can pay
To quench this insatiable fire.
That’s the bridge of a song written and copyrighted by my mom that she wants me to record. Mom said she always pictured a video of that part portraying a lady in a dirty white satin gown drooped over the sides of a row boat drifting in polluted waters near a foggy shore. When she saw Eveline Charles’ “Apocalyptic Romance”, she saw people coming up out of the waters, walking towards the shore wearing these hairstyles and costumes, representing that no matter what we do to ourselves, there is always a view from Above of an artistic beauty that can be created in the midst of chaos to help us get through to a better day. Amen and Amen.
WCFW – Day Five – September 26, 2011
We arrived early, so Mom and I visited the Edmonton Public Library next door to the Transalta Arts Barn where the Western Canada Fashion Week was showing. Here I am outfitted in Value Village wear from head to toe, everything but the colored hair accent (Dollarama), the red purse (Grandma, given when I went to the Miss Teen Canada World nationals in Toronto), and my WCFW media pass.
This night, the Fantasy Makeup Showcases made a blast with “The Electric Tea Party”, based on an “Alice in Wonderland” theme presented by Rebecca Pichoch, the March 2011 Fantasy Makeup Showcase winner. I love masked-themed theatre, so my favorite is the character below:
Vicki, in her Adventures in Fashion blog, another fabulous fashion blogger for Western Canada Fashion Week, presents an excellent, chronological presentation of the evening.
This was an exciting night for Mom and I, because we had the pleasure of meeting Rebecca Pratt of Eccentric Embellishments, and she agreed to costume our Emle Flowers musical. Her fantasy themed collection is the type of concept we wanted for “Emle Flowers Goldren Dream”, the title of our short film, for which we now have an award winning TV producer on board. We immediately connected with Rebecca’s down-to-earth personality, and even though she is from Grande Prairie and we had been looking for someone in the Edmonton area, we knew the distance was not going to be a deterring factor. Rebecca put in a month of hard work and sewed all the garments herself from fabric mostly purchased with a $500 gift card she had won at Hot Heels Fashion Show. If you want to wear one of these looks, these garments are on sale at Mood Menders (see listing), in Grande Prairie. Ask for Brenda. Rebecca Pratt’s Eccentric Embellishments:
Mom and I knew our angels were overlooking from above when Cayley Moncrieff, the Honorable Mention winner of a Fantasy Hair Showcase for March 2012, burst through the Transalta Arts Barn doors with her hair model and posed for a photo shoot right in front of where we were waiting for Dad to pick us up. I was amazed by Cayley’s creation and thought, “Anybody who can do that with hair could do anything.”
Mom asked Cayley for a card and said, “Now the fun part…taking it down. There should be a sign: For experts only. Don’t try this at home!” Cayley laughed. It was late, and the model needed to get her hair down so she could go home. Mom knew not to talk then, but she could hardly wait to call. Mom had used hairstyles in the Emle Flowers script as an element to transform the age of the character. Now she wanted to employ a fantasy hairstyle concept to distinguish between different parts of the Emle’s Golden Dream experience.
Mom offered to provide an Emle Flower’s theme with Emle Flower’s music and Rebecca Pratt’s Eccentric Embellishment costuming to augment the memorable resonance of Cayley’s Fantasy Hair Showcase in the March 2012 season of Western Canada Fashion Week. Cayley agreed. Take a look at Cayley Moncreiff’s muse below:
What a year I have ahead of me! It all began as a Miss Teen Canada World pageant national finalist. Keep in touch with my blog if you would like to be updated about my journey of polish and performance. Don’t miss next season’s Western Canada Fashion Week, March/April 2012. Your creativity will be bubbling with excitement, inspired by the collective artistic presentations of an art community ripe for production. You could find the dream team that could help each other express their inner genius. Or you could deck yourself with a work of art and become a masterpiece to inspire wherever you go.
WCFW – Day Six – September 27, 2011
On Day Six, Melissa Squire from Saskatoon, Saskachewan charmed with “Mom” and “daughter” dress-a-likes taking a stroll down runway lane.
Janessa Ott from Ottawa commanded my attention with her Obsidian line, including the most stylish coats I have ever seen. You will look well-groomed and up-to-the-minute in these coats, elegant enough to be worn as a dressy dress, fitted with darts and seam details like a legal-eagle business suit. Winter isn’t going to cover up your style in Obsidian coats. You can even get a matching style dress or skirt suit to wear underneath, so you look just as trussed up with or without your coat on.
Fabulous fashion blogger for Western Canada Fashion Week, Marie covers the evening with style in her Marie a la Mode blog. Don’t forget to click on her link, and check out those must-see Obsidian coats.
WCFW – Day Seven – September 28, 2011
Day Seven of Fashion Week, I hit a lull in my wardrobe, wondering what I could modify of my summer Miss Teen Canada World Toronto trip collection to fit with the early fall weather. Mom suggested that I wear my evening gown which I wore to the national pageant. We had purchased it at an 80% off sale at Laura’s Petites, which was brought to our attention by a dear friend. I’m not short (5’ 8”), but somehow these Laura’s Petites styles work for me.
When I was all decked out in my white evening gown, black faux fur coat, glittering gold accessories from Ardene’s, and very expensive gold jeweled shoes (a gift from Grandma and Grandpa for the pageant), my mom said, “This is the night we will take a picture of you with a BMW” (one of the sponsors for Western Canada Fashion Week.) I packed my $200 camera from The Source like I had every night before.
Mom and I arrived a little late to a packed house. (If you have reserved seating, but don’t arrive ten minutes early or so, the reservation passes to the next comer.) However, our angels Above had been busy again and tall tables had been provided next to the press seating, the only night we observed those tables there. We were able to write in our notebooks, resting them on a table, which made it easier to stand all evening. But there was too much of interest to think about standing.
Isabella Milan presented elegant strapless gowns on the runway this night. Her daring pin-striped wedding dress was a fresh concept to me. I was pleased to see Alexandra Hanasz, my Miss Teen Canada World pageant sister, the national Miss Teen Canada World 2011 First Runner Up, modeling at Western Canada Fashion Week. Here is Alexandra modeling a gorgeous Isabella Milan wedding gown at the end of the runway.
We had the pleasure of meeting up with Alexandra twice during the evening. Later, Mom and I decided she would be a good candidate for an angel in the Emle Flowers musical. We are happy to announce, she has agreed to join us.
Alexandra is also a beautiful and accomplished dancer who has trained for many years, and therefore a perfect candidate for dance numbers in the musical. We had the opportunity to watch her perform at the Miss Teen Canada World pageant, where she placed in the top two in the talent contest and was selected to perform at the final show. Alexandra also won the Supermodel with Style and Best in Swimwear titles out of seventy-four girls.
If you are an artist in any field looking for inspiration, Western Canada Fashion Week is a worthwhile creative muse. The talents of the designers presenting here show incredible versatility. None have been harnessed by concrete design principles rigid of freeze. These ingenious talents have made the improbable come to life incorporating such details as nostalgic hemlines complementing a now line top, suit top with cut out shoulder, short sleeve dress with a neck hugging collar and underarm cut outs, pants that hook under high heels in the back, and different length hemlines front and back, but an introduction to the looks represented this night.
Several of us fashion bloggers enjoyed the Suka collection, a successful local designer line. Read a Western Canada Fashion Week Designer Profile by Clarrisse’s Dress Me Dearly, one of Western Canada Fashion Weeks’ fabulous fashion bloggers, for an interesting interview with Alisha Shick, the creative force behind the line and a fashion instructor at MC College. I was impressed with the presentation of this collection, models wearing beautiful, knotted headbands pulled down over curly, shoulder length hair. The fashion is very stylish but wearable, featuring such details as unexpected diagonal line cut out back, solid color dress shell with patterned sleeves, black dress hanging below the knee level in the back curved around to above the knee level in front, patterned shirt dress shell with cut out back worn with leggings, and a clever placement of accent panels such as the leather panels adorning the black leggings shown below.
For more details and fashion pics presenting this night’s collections, check out one of Western Canada Fashion Weeks fabulous bloggers and marketing specialist’s, Rowena’s post on A Pleasury of A-Lines and B-Lines blog. (I think this is your post, Rowena, because the article mentions red is the writer’s color, and red would definitely be a wonderful color for you.
My goodness, God is gracious. While we waited for the BMW saleslady to finish with interested parties at the Transalta Arts Barn door (a favorite place for our angels from Above to operate), who comes up to talk with us but Tracie Grabowski, who we found out is a professional photographer. We talked a little bit and discovered she is not only a professional photographer who has done photoshoots for Phabrik, Sandra Sing Fernandes’ fashion magazine which was provided on every seat during Western Canada Fashion Week every night of the show, she is also a two time winner of Best Fashion Image in all of Canada, an almost unheard of accomplishment. Mom had the nerve to ask her if she would consider shooting the BMW photo for us. She obliged for a credit on our blog. So here is my BMW shot from Tracie Grabowski:
Photo by Tracie Grabowski. I framed the photo, Tracie. I hope you like it.
WCFW – Day Eight – September 29, 2011
Closing night of the Western Canada Fashion Week had arrived. Every night had been spectacular, but tonight the final runway showcases of this season would present. This night I wore my crown and a black cocktail dress with a ruffled strap over one shoulder from Laura’s Petites because my black-edged Miss Teen Parkland County – World sash would look so sharp against it. Before the show, we met Chris Chan, a photographer for the event, and asked if I could pose for a picture with Sandra Sing Fernandes. To my surprise, he coordinated an invitation to the runway to pose for pictures as well as a picture with Sandra during intermission. Sandra impressed me as such a caring person with a mothering spirit, and I hit it off with her right away. Sandra had also worn black, a beautiful strapless evening gown. Sandra Sing creates a striking image; I had no idea at this point that she is a model with a New York background.
Sparks of creativity dashed across the runway, generating “Oohs” and “Aahhs” from the crowd as they were treated to genius designs of fabric draping, of lines, gathers, cut outs, cinching, and more. Stacey, one of Western Canada Fashion Week’s fabulous bloggers, has
highlighted the evening with flair on A Pleasury of A-lines and B-lines. Here are a few of my favorite moments:
I liked the short blue dress with knee high boots and leather shoulders and sleeves from Joanna Wala’s Sofiss line. Sharp! Kelsey McIntyre presented a fanciful focus of polka dots and stripes in her Serendipity collection. I was pleased to see Sarah Brown, a sister Miss Teen, Miss Teen Strathcona County, walk the runway again during fashion week, two times in Serendipity. London-based Beverly Gan took origami into a new arena, incorporating interesting folds in various appealing ways to create put-together looks. Stanley Carroll made an entirely new statement with an aged flavor on a Jesus-look long, blond haired, male model, presenting a comfortable wear collection, savvy to cold weather but definitely portraying, “I have style.”
My favorite collection of the night was Laura Dreger’s forward thinking BladeRunner. How does a collar askew over one shoulder become an icon of style? Since seeing is believing, here follows a picture essay, and I rest my case:
Star Wars Theme intro. (Click on the previous link just for fun and play the tune while you view these photos.)
The clever collar.
The long and the short of it and the same time.
The age of superwoman in every respect.
“To infinity and beyond!” Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story.
Laura Dreger “beaming in” with her modeled collection.
For more excellent reading and coverage of Western Canada Fashion Week by fabulous fashion bloggers, check out Andrew’s High Gloss White blog. Don’t miss the September 2011 posts of Sandy on The Pretty Secrets blog, Rebecca’s and Jasmine’s coverage on C’est
Classique blog, and Jenna’s Smitten Ideology blog. For great details of the entire fashion week, check out Mark St. James, The Marquis of Fashion blog. Mark St. James is also a contributor in the current issue of Phabrik magazine. Also watch for Caroline Gault’s coverage of Western Canada Fashion Week coming soon at www.fashionmagazine.com/. Scotch and Soda, a WEM store featured at Western Canada Fashion Week, scored a Fashion Magazine article. Click here for that one. For more pictures of Western Canada Fashion Week, check out the WCFW Flikr photostream. All pictures not credited above were provided courtesy of Western Canada Fashion Week via Flikr photostream.
To my amazement, I was invited to help introduce numbers for door prizes on stage. I was escorted by a gentleman to the stage and asked to select numbers from a draw bag and call them out. Then I was handed the prizes by a back stage manager to give to Sandra Sing who presented them to the winners. And so ends the story of my September 2011 Western Canada Fashion Week adventure. All collections showcased unique instruments that sparkled different keys across heartbeats in the room like melody intonations on a flute.
Me (Tawnuel), a guy (Mode model?) who escorted me to the stage (sorry, guy, this opportunity was presented so fast, I didn’t get your name – email me and I’ll post it), and Sandra Sing Fernandes presenting door prizes. Thank you to Harold Pang, whom Mom and I met while we were waiting to enter at the door, for the courtesy of this photograph.
And here is a photo of me and my precious mom, who washed and wore the same pantsuit every night to fashion week, and without whom my adventures would not have been possible.
Thank you Harold Pang. I really appreciate your idea to shoot this.
To understand this recipe, there is one thing you need to understand first. I want to be an animator someday. Got that? OK. Here it goes:
watermelon, “Is it me or is it hot in
here?” The sugar glitters like fresh snow humming as 6 tablespoons cascade over the fruit like snowflakes. 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice wave across the top as 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup glazens over the tip top while the fruit says, “I feel sweet.” With a touch of a button the blender starts and the all the ingredients spin and blend together like a whirlpool. A few stray seeds of the watermelon huddle together and wipe the glass so they can see out like a child. Big puppy dog eyes they have as they look upon the stainless steel popsicle molds. In anticipation they wonder who could have created such a masterpiece of art. Underneath they read “Onyx Containers.” “Wow!” they say in unison. How their eyes dance as they fill new popsicle molds containers to become a prize for a hot day. As the freezer door slowly starts to shut they say, “A new dawn of a new day will soon come when we shall come out to play again.”
My heart is glittered like a period novel of poetic passages when I think about my pageant experiences:
The Fairmont Royal York Hotel stood tall as its flags waved in the wind, celebrating the arm rests of its throne architecture which cleverly represents the Queen’s visits there. Inside as my feet carried me down the hallway towards the ballroom doors, my eyes greeted my excitement. As the doorknob turned clockwise and the latch clicked opened, my mind burst with colors of dreams to look at what was hidden inside. Chandeliers of gold and crystal hung from above. The extravagant room was made to hold the sunlight rays which shone inside the windows. O’ how my heart giggled at that precise moment, as my eyes danced with pictures of people waltzing at the ball like in the movie “Young Queen Victoria” or like an Irish dance in the movie “Titanic“. The breath of my heart flew like tiny butterflies to the smiles that I had yet to meet. I was thinking to myself, “Today is going to be good day.”
As the week continued progressing, I met all kinds of smiles, each one having something different to add. Their chorus of light-hearted laughter made people’s lips curve into an upward crescent moon. It was an awesome experience to be able to chat with these girls who are from different provinces and some who are from different countries, all talented girls with big dreams. It was my first time in Toronto and second time on a plane since I was three. What did this beautiful experience hold in store for me?
Day one is a montage of memories: registration papers stacked in chronological order, suitcases awaiting their new home, clothes arriving on new hangers, a circle of seventy-four newcomers listening to professional advice on how to walk, dress, and make sure we present ourselves well.
My mind worked like a typewriter remembering important details that the instructor shared with us, storing it in my brain like a file. I put my gloves of confidence on, remembering to swing my hips from side to side like a broom, as the instructor guided different lines of girls to strut our stuff like models. The day summed up a whirlwind of fancy free imaginative expressing.
Beep, beep, beep goes the alarm clock, reflecting 7:30 AM back at me: time to get the wheels in motion. Meditation and prayer are the rich vitamins that enrich my spirit to soar. Crackle, pop goes the steam presser as the color of my peach cocktail dress brightens. Tip-toeing around the room not to wake my roommate, Christina De Re, just yet. (Christina De Re: Definition by me – A bright, young woman with a heart full of passions of dreams, a good listener and a determined spirit, very well organized and a hard worker; a talented singer, songwriter, and piano player, I found out at the talent show.)
Around 9:30, my roommate and I quickly grabbed our breakfast and headed to our room to eat and quickly change our dresses for the photo shoot and video shoot. Fifty-nine girls arrived with a no makeup and clean, unstyled hair; the other fifteen girls were chosen to partake in a modeling event. I could tell that a few of the girls at the photo shoot felt gross without their makeup on, so I spoke to them and said, “Hey, we’re bringing sexy back!” As much as possible, I tried to stay care free, even though there were a few moments when I got nervous. I had to stay calm so that my mind would be fluid in its thinking. Mind over matter.
The makeup brushes glittered my face in numerous colors and creams while the curling irons spiraled my hair into curls that covered my whole head. After my face had been beautified and my hair dolled up, my feet skipped over to the photo shoot where I gave it all my best. Flashes danced all around me like a carousel. Then my high heels found their way to the video shoot where they asked me four questions: What is my platform? What is my most embarrassing moment? Which celebrity would I invite to a dinner party and why? And, what are my hobbies? When you go into something that you think is very hard, sometimes you later find out that it wasn’t that hard at all; it was quick, fun, and easy, and you feel so much better after you’ve completed it.
Then it was a quick change into my interview outfit and off to do a personal interview in front of the judges. I thought my interview went really well; I like to leave them laughing, and at the end, one of the judges was laughing at the way I was looking for my purse (that I was holding on to). Lol. Later that evening, we met a speaker by the name of Andrea Dana, the author of StarSitter (who knows Lindsey Lohan). She told us about some of the things she’s seen and done in her life as an actor coach on movie sets. Very cool! Then we ate dinner around 8:00. Afterwards, we each got our gold high heels and opening dress from Miss Teen Canada – World for the final show and skedaddled to our rooms.
At precisely 6:30 AM, we were greeted by two Hippo Tour buses. I felt so excited that I wanted to click my heels like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music when she sang “I Have Confidence.” As we boarded the bus, we got noticed by people since we were all wearing crowns, and some of them wanted to take our picture. It was so much fun to wave at people, and see them wave back with big smiles on their faces. The wheels started rolling, and I knew then we were off. The wind sparkled my cheeks with its breeze and felt so refreshing. It was such a thrilling ride when the amphibious bus dove into Lake Ontario; my heart leaped and fluttered into tiny butterflies. When we passed by some yachts I kept thinking, “Wouldn’t it be fun to rent a boat and go fishing with my dad and little brother like we used to?”
Then the tour bus dropped us off at the CN Tower. I felt like a celebrity. We just walked right in, didn’t have to wait, went straight inside the elevator and up, up we went. It was an incredible view from the tower that was just absolutely beautiful. I would like to see the view at night with all the city lights dancing across the horizon.
Then it was off to the Ballroom Bowl & Grill . It was the first time I have ever played 10-pin bowling. I was thinking to myself, “Piece of cake,” but It’s a lot harder than it looks. After a couple of tries I got the hang of it, and thought it was really fun. E-Talk followed our story as it developed the whole day which was an interesting experience. Then we went to a Greek restaurant accompanied by Miss Teen World 2010, Anastasia Sidiropoulou, a native of Greece. The food was delicious, and overall we had a great day touring Toronto.
Day four was a day to get our groove on. Shawn Cuffie had choreographed a dance number for the final show. We all danced to a song called “Give Me Everything” by Pitbull. The first group, which included me, got a type of salsa move. We really had to feel
the music and “shake our groove thing”. By the time we were getting on the bus to go to Frankie Tomatto’s , I was still singing, “Give me everything tonight.” Frankie Tomatto’s is a buffet-style Italian food restaurant which has a really cool decor inside and out. The outside has a “Leaning Tower of Pisa” and the inside has all kinds of ornate stations with many scrumptious foods to choose from. I was even able to find a generous selection of gluten free, dairy free foods. It’s and amazing place to eat, and I can’t wait to go back there again.
Then we were off to “Billy Elliot,” the musical. I loved the show; it was amazing. The actors were phenomenal. Julian Elia, who played the part of Billy Elliot has so much talent. The show drew me in and had my eyes glued to the set because it felt like I was actually right in the middle of the action. Afterwards, the main actors came out, and we were able to take pictures with them and ask some questions. I love children; so, of course, I got a picture with Julian. It was a day I will never forget.
We met Luke Bilyk from “Degrassi: The Next Generation“, who was one of our hosts for the Miss Teen Canada – World final pageant show. He read all the seventy-four girls’ names to make sure he was pronouncing them properly. As he called each girls’ name out one at a time, he came over and shook our hands. Some of the girls were getting a little carried away with screaming. Lol. But maybe it’s nice for him to know he’s liked that much. I’m not a screaming fan person. Then we did rehearsals and worked on our opening dance for the rest of the day.
On day six, we took to a trip to Style Exchange accompanied by ET Canada. I bought a couple of items. Then we focused on preparations for the preliminary competition…..a world of adventure, make up brushes painting faces, dresses on display, the swim suit and evening gown judging beginning, and the excitement exhilarating.
Day seven was talent night. We were busy with rehearsals for the final pageant show until we were called up to our rooms. By the time they sent me to my room, I had ten minutes to get ready for the talent show. I called my mom to tell her I had no time to practice my talent, but she insisted that I take the two minutes to
run through it one time. I was glad I did. Then I had to steam my dress. I don’t know how I got that done. I dashed around the room grabbing my stuff and managed to fall over my suitcases. I heard the ankle joint pop and felt pain in my ankle; but, thankfully, it was only a sprain. Tears stained my cheeks, and then I heard a knock at the door. It was Maram and Darren. I was so distracted with everything I still needed to do that I forgot to tell them I hurt my ankle. I didn’t want them to get the wrong impression that I was having some sort of breakdown, so I explained it later on to Michelle. Then I learned that anything that was already overcome was not necessary to mention when time was of the essence. I had picked myself up from my boot straps, touched up my makeup, combed my hair, pulling it over to the side as was, put my crown on, quickly finished putting my shoes on, put on my sash, and grabbed my purse. I told myself, “You can do this. Mind over matter.”
These are moments that make a person strong. Diving into the deep end in cold water jolts a person into action like nothing else can. This is the true value of a pageant. Being held up to a bright detective light to review the results of all one’s efforts and determine who has met the standard of completion and who has surpassed the bar of comparatives, is a great motivator for achievement. Every girl is a winner of a kind because every girl completed the pageant with style and was a candidate for a national title. Every girl who has been there knows what it takes to get there and has a better idea of anything that may still need improving.
Everybody did an amazing job with their talent, and we could see that each one had worked hard and put a lot of effort into it. When I finished my talent, I walked to a table knowing I won my personal challenge with myself. It was a great night for all the participants and an enjoyable evening for the audience.
The main event, the final Miss Teen Canada – World 2011 pageant show, was on day eight. The whole show was beautifully done and turned out great. Everybody’s efforts and hard work paid off and made the show a big success. We spent the whole first half of the morning getting ready for the show: hair, makeup, etc. Then on stage rehearsals were the main focus for the rest of the afternoon. During the show, when I didn’t get called for the top twenty I was disappointed, but I was happy for all the girls who won. I said to myself, “Well, this was a great learning experience, and I’m glad to have been a part of it. Somehow this pageant was part of what God has planned for me; I’ll follow His lead on where to proceed from here.” I told some of the girls who were crying backstage, “We are all winners. There is nothing we should be ashamed of. We made it this far, and we should be proud. We’re not going home empty-handed; we still have our regional titles, and we walk away with experience that will only help us to continue to grow.”
The Way Home
I loved looking out of my window on the plane at the clouds. It felt so peaceful, like I could stare at them forever and rest my head against the soft white fluff, listening to its sound. Toronto was amazing. It was refreshing to be in a different climate and see so many new things. With all the activities that Miss Teen Canada – World had arranged for us to go on, one could really see a lot of
Toronto and learn about certain buildings and what the history was behind them. We had been on Breakfast Television which was a neat experience. We had worked with incredibly talented choreographers and pageant directors and learned so much from them about dance, model walking, and so much more. If you are going to enter into a pageant, don’t be surprised. It’s hard work, but it’s likely that you’ll never regret it. Every day I grew stronger and got even more efficient and organized. A pageant schedule doesn’t leave any time for goofing around or slack. Just when you think you can’t stretch time any further, you somehow do because you have to. My confidence is more alive from doing this pageant, and I am grateful. Hard work can be a tool of Love, and I”ll keep striving. I won’t give up until I realize my full potential of winning. I’ve just begun to adjust my sails and feel the extent of the angle I can balance against the wind. I feel a sense of excitement mounting as I contemplate for a moment the next starting dock. This is only the beginning.
Check out the new contests on Lenzr for a chance to win some great prizes. Lenzr is known for their fun contests that are challenging and creative. Give them a glance; maybe they will spark your photography flair.
Fireplaces and Furnaces:
The first contest is called Fireplaces and Furnaces. The idea is to take pictures of you in front of a cozy fireplace. Show Lenzr how you plan to keep warm this winter and how prepared for the season you are. The picture must be taken indoors and it has to be in front of a fireplace or furnace. The winner will receive a Sony laptop courtesy of an Ontario furnace installer. The summer season is the best time to get great deals on furnace replacement or installation.
Toronto Tourist Attractions:
Another photo contest on Lenzr is Toronto Tourist Attractions. Think of your favorite Toronto spot, take an image of it and send it to Lenzr. Canada’s largest city has so much to offer, so show it off. The winning photo should look like the kind of image you would see in a travel magazine. The winner of this contest will receive an inflatable boat courtesy of a Toronto bed and breakfast. Relax in the heart of the city and let your troubles float away.
Haircuts and Hair Styles:
The next photo contest is all about hair. Snap a picture of your favorite Haircuts and Hairstyles, and send it to Lenzr for a chance to win a professional blow dryer and flat iron. The prize is courtesy of a Yorkville Salon. Just make your hair the focus of the picture. Do you love big curls, high lights or up do’s? Well show it off on Lenzr by submitting your photo to the contest.
Objects in Motion:
This is the hardest photo contest of them all, but don’t be afraid to try. To get the winning shot, you will need to be patient and shine your creativity. The Objects in Motion photo contest wants participant to submit images of an object (or person or animal) in motion; be sure your photograph illustrates which direction the movement is heading. The winner of this contest will receive a Sony laptop courtesy of an air freight company known for their quality and great service. They are is constantly keeping objects in motion over land, sea and sky. Be sure to enter your photographs before August 25th. Judges will deliberate and choose the photograph from the top ten. The winner will be announced on September 1st. Have fun and give it a chance. You could be the next Lenzr winner.
There is an edge to which millions of persons come to stand and ponder in their down time of life. It is in these dark moments they begin to believe that life is too complicated, too difficult, too alone and too uncertain. I want to have a TV show that serves as a mind-lift to such persons.
I intend to show through interviews and brief beeps of documentaries that it does not take but some of the most simple things in life to confirm that:LIFE IS WORTH LIVING. My sponsors will also have the opportunity to present professionally done TV blurbs that show how a connection to certain aspects of their business can provide the right stuff for exciting the spirit of confidence, fun, and the realization that: LIFE IS WORTH LIVING.
For instance, a hair stylist and a products sponsor like “Goody” can show how a good hair style can cheer up a person, help her feel she looks good, and cause her to feel more confident. This can have many stories to tell that are dominoes up instead of the domino effect of one bad problem after another being the cause of another downer.
This domino effect does not have to be limited to people; it can include animals. I have seen the forsaken look on the face of dogs left at dog pounds, and I’ve seen their faces after being chosen and petted by a new owner.
I believe there are vast human masses who are interested in such down-to-earth real happenings and exchanges and that they relate to such things over and over again. I think a sponsor like “Me to We” who are involved in “Free the children” should be able to show the effects of compassion on children who have suffered shameful neglect to the point of starvation and serious ill health and how, after a little love and care, LIFE IS WORTH LIVING that had once seemed lost. Many stories for this TV show could come from this connection, who would have a vested interest in a mutually beneficial sponsorship.
I also plan to take brief excerpts out of famous movies for showing, on a large screen, inspired conclusions or insets of the dynamic discovery and realization by person stories that LIFE IS WORTH LIVING. (Of course, I would have to make all the arrangements with the copyright holders.)
At least 60% of the participants will be young because I think they will represent vast numbers of individuals who are seeking happiness but are drifting down the rivers of society, lost, despairing , finding life not worth living. As a part of this inset, I will plan to interview attempted suicides. I believe such a series of interviews would be shockingly interesting and very stirring to the young crowd.
But something that I believe that would be different and very appealing to a wide audience would be interviewing persons like old fighters, wrestlers, retired musicians, retired school teachers, and various professionals that have lived out their life, as to if they felt their life was worth living.
As a point of connected interest and a type of advertising or presentation topic, I’m producing a play called Emle Flowers, which theme can follow along in the background, which depicts a young teenage lady who is seeking to find a path of life that would fulfill her needy heart. At home alone one evening, she discovers the wall in the living room has other dimensions that it opens to.
She finally discovers, after many attempts, how to enter this wall of other dimensions which is a world of its own reality. She chooses the path of vanishings only to discover that each time she finds what seems to be a really happy life, it suddenly disappears. She goes down several paths of vanishings experiencing several potential styles and settings of life. Each setting disappears.
As the story progresses, she finally discovers what a wonderful life she had but just didn’t appreciate it. Now she must learn to Tweille, which is a way of looking at life in appreciation, in order to perceive that LIFE IS WORTH LIVING before it is too late. Next year, the play Emle Flowers is planned for a showing to raise funds for “Free the Children.”
The message that LIFE IS WORTH LIVING is a great theme and format, and in my opinion would make a great TV talk show where I would host heart-felt interviews from people who can help other people believe that truly LIFE IS WORTH LIVING.
When the Miss Teen Canada – World pageant assigned the national pageant candidates to write a magazine quality blog post highlighting the corporate social responsibility and citizenship of a Free the Children partner, I went to the Free the Children website and located ambassadors listed as “incredible supporters who not only give generously, but also dedicate their efforts to sharing our message of youth empowerment across many networks” (See the “ambassadors” pane on the Free the Children site.). I was immediately drawn to the Vancouver Sun as a representative partner, promoting a message that I would like to write about. As I was doing research, looking for reports online that described why the Vancouver Sun became involved with Free the Children, I came across the following beautiful post on the Vancouver Sun site:
Photos: Vancouver charity Free the Children helping out in Haiti
Vancouver charity Free the Children, founded by Vancouver Sun columnist Craig Kielburger, is helping out in earthquake ravaged Haiti.
I was so happy when I found it. Both my mom and I could feel the Love emanating from the photos, and I immediately wanted permission to use those photos in my post. I thought, now all I have to do is contact this Craig fellow, and he would surely know how to get all the information I need for my post. I had no idea he is the founder of Free the Children!
I had done all the research that I knew how to do online. I realized I was at a standstill as to how to proceed to obtain the information I needed without contacting parties involved. I wanted to do the article justice to provide a searchable resource where interested young people could become inspired to participate in these compassionate reaching-out endeavours, and I so wanted to have permission to display those photos in my post. So I contacted Free the Children; and within the same day, they got back with me and gave me permission to use the photos in my blog post. I am so honoured to have the opportunity to display these heart-touching photographs.
I continued to research online, and I did discover “Global Voices, …a Free The Children program that gives students an opportunity to explore important social issues through the media,” based upon a weekly global-concerns focused column “delivered in partnership with …the Vancouver Sun” (Free the Children Annual Report 2009). But I needed more specifics about the relationships between the two corporations. Therefore, I proceeded with contacting the company and was directed to Patricia Graham, the Editor-In-Chief of the Vancouver Sun. Here’s the transcript of my interview with her.
INTERVIEW WITH PATRICIA GRAHAM, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE VANCOUVER SUN
“Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to do this for me so I can ask you a couple of questions.”
“I was wondering what compelled you to choose Free the Children to become a recipient of your charity outreach program.”
“My introduction to Free the Children came about almost three years ago, now, at a breakfast in Vancouver where there was a presentation by the Kielburgers and some of the young people who had participated in one of their initiatives; and I was very impressed by what I heard. …At that time, they were planning to have their first We Day in Vancouver; and I thought that: first off, the Kielburgers, Marc and Craig themselves, are very impressive – their obvious ability to engage young people impressed me; and I just thought this was an initiative that deserved support. It was a very positive thing for us to be able to write about. Thousands and thousands of young people would show up for it, so I was really excited to tell people about it.”
“How does the concept of children helping children to help themselves – a concept which ensures that your donation will make changes with lasting and exponential effects – inspire you?”
“…I find that this particular generation…have a global perspective. They seem to just come with…a “gene” for community service. …Many of them are children who have grown up together in daycare situations, so they understand how to work as a collective. …Their enthusiasm and what I see as their total understanding at a very young age of the power of giving – that inspires me.”
“In this age of understanding the importance of social networking – whether in person, in print, or in cybermedia – how does the concept of helping others by donating funds to provide food, fresh water, medical facilities, schools, and agricultural development for needy global communities add up to helping ourselves?”
“Well, I think that the concept of globalization has changed a lot, so those who are involved in it on the ground seem to understand, now, that microfinance is important – that going in and asking the community what they need first as opposed to just going in and saying, “Hey! Here, look what we have for you!” – [that] people understand how that’s not the way to go.
“And we know that social media can be used to take small individual donations and build a huge amount of money really effective that way. …Social media can be used to gather funds for an organization like Free the Children that really does try to understand what [a needy community’s] real needs are and stay focused on…[a] few fundamental needs and service them and respond to the community.”
That just helps so much, you answering those questions for me.
OK, great. So now I’m going to give you the name and phone number of the guy who looks after the corporate relationship…
Thank you so much. I just so appreciate this.
You’re very welcome. Alright, good enough then.
I am so amazed to have had the opportunity to interview someone in Patricia’s position. I found her anecdotes interesting and insightful and her explanations enlightening. I recognized that some of the words she used may have a greater significance than appeared on the surface to a high school student, so I looked into the definitions of “globalization” and “microfinancing”.
The Macmillan Dictionary defines globalization as “the idea that the world is developing a single economy and culture as a result of improved technology and communications and the influence of very large multinational corporations” (globalization – Macmillan Dictionary). The Wikipedia identifies globalization as effecting the world in many ways, including industrial, financial, economic, political, informational, spoken language, ecological, cultural, technical, religious, government, jobs, natural resources, health, global market and financial interdependence (globalization – Wikipedia). This type of potential for such major impact in the long run can only provide a global benefit to all who share the planet Earth.
Patricia additionally mentioned microfinancing, which is defined by Wiktionary as “finance that is provided to unemployed or low income groups” (microfinance – Wiktionary). I was not aware that Free the Children provided these types of opportunities, but this was a clue that I could use to elicit further information. Sure enough, Free the Children’s “Five Days for Freedom” initiative includes opportunities to grant a loan for a woman to start a small business (Mobilize for Good and Adopt a Village).
I still needed one more question answered about the corporate partnership, and Patricia had directed me to Jamie Pitblado, Vice President Promotions and Community Investment, The Vancouver Sun. Here’s the transcript of my interview with him:
INTERVIEW WITH JAMIE PITBLADO, VP PROMOTIONS AND COMMUNITY INVESTMENT
“Hello, Jamie. I am trying to do a blog post on the Miss Teen Canada – World network called “The Vancouver Sun Brightens Up the World with Free the Children. I’m sure it must seem pesky to be contacted outside of work, but I interviewed Patricia Graham earlier…and…she said you were the one to ask regarding the corporate partnership…I just have one question to ask you.”
“How has the corporate partnership between your company and Free the Children been a benefit to your company?”
“[Our company contributes to]…high profile programs with big impact. Free the Children has a wonderful project that has great impact on the youth and on young people’s lives. …A lot of what we do…we really focus more often than not with adults and the difference that they can make, but this is a great program that allows us to talk to children and…instil in them…that they can make a difference too by contributing, whether it be volunteering or money or whatever vehicle they have to give.”
“Thank you so much for taking the time to answer that question for me.”
“Not a problem. …Have a great night.”
I think it’s great that a corporation values a benefit measurable by social impact on young people, both those who help and those who are helped. This is the essence of corporate social responsibility and citizenship. And so The Vancouver Sun is making a big impact, creating brighter global opportunities, by partnering with Free the Children, a charity with the capabilities to embrace the needy and welcome them to a better life.
Hello there. I am, Miss Tawnuel Phillips, Miss Teen Parkland County, here to show you a little about where I’m from and a little more about me.
I’m beginning your tour at the Multicultural Heritage Centre of international renown, in Stony Plain. As a tourist you could spend some quality time here making memories viewing museum and art exhibits or researching in the Wild Rose Historic Library and Archives. Be sure to have a piece of delicious pie or enjoy a full home-style meal in the Homesteader’s Kitchen before you do a little shopping in the General Store.
Next, if you would like to get a little exercise and stroll through town, take one of the Multicentre’s guided tours of over 30 murals which document the rich cultural history of “The Town with a Painted Past”. I especially like this mural painted on the side of St. Matthews Lutheran School because it depicts the diversity of many contributors who overcame their differences to work together and build a vibrant community which could become a nesting place of peace, freedom and good will.
O’ how the murals stand grand and tall above one’s head while the glistening of the sun sparkles the painting revealing the glows within.
“Dog Rump Creek” Beginnings
Another place you won’t want to miss is Dog Rump Creek Station, a testament to the original name and the native heritage of the Stony Plain area. The building is a replica of the 1905 Stony Plain Canadian Northern Railway Station and provides a tourist information facility and a Chamber of Commerce office which offers a wealth of contact information about societies and businesses in the area. I was a presenter at the Stony Plain & District Chamber of Commerce Trade Show.
I presented my “Love Begins with Me” campaign as well as my “A, B, C’s of Recovery Thinking”, consolidated from my mom’s compilation of my grandpa’s journals, A Time to Transpose – Chimes of Thoughts for the Mindscape. I also sang “Love Begins with Me”, a song my mom, Stara Phillips, wrote for my campaign.
Rotary Park Rest Point
I always enjoy a moment of reflection upon the good things that God has provided me. I stand here in Stony Plain, a descendant of Cherokee great-grandparents who traveled the Trail of Tears. A legend tells that the mothers who had to move with their children from their homes noticed a special kind of white rose had begun growing along the trail, and it was a great comfort to them. As I paused to reflect for this picture, a raven, which you can see in the picture, landed on the totem pole and reminded me of how Elijah was fed by ravens when he had been exiled from his home (I Kings 17:4-6). God always has ways of comforting us if we are observing and listening.
While you’re here in Stony Plain, relish a refreshing walk around Rotary Park, where a fountain ionizes fresh breaths of air and you can sometimes see wild geese swimming in the waters with their young.
The fountain soars water flying up like a rocket for everyone to see, while the geese travel together in a school bus fashion, adventuring to places their youngsters have never seen.
TransAlta Tri Leisure Centre Fitness and Cooperation Groove
Just a short jaunt traveling by bus about six kilometers west, Spruce Grove hosts one of my most favorite places in the Parkland County area, the TransAlta Tri Leisure Centre. The Tri Leisure Centre is a state of the art recreation and fitness facility, featuring two indoor NHL sized
hockey rinks with elevated seating for about 500, leisure ice for recreational skating, an onsite skate sharpening centre, two indoor soccer fields which are cleared for events such as the Stony Plain & District Chamber of Commerce Trade Show, a ten lane twenty-five meter pool, leisure pool with children’s play equipment, a water slide, hot tub, and steam room, a hardwood floor gymnasium, two fitness studios, weight training centre,
an indoor fitness track, a snack bar, a family sports lounge, a Booster Juice concession, child care centre, community meeting rooms, and Parkland Rehabilitation, an onsite physical therapy and sports medicine centre. There’s something for everyone from baby stroller walks with moms on the fitness track to senior’s lawn bowling.
The TransAlta Tri Leisure Centre is an impressive landmark of well-designed, appealing and capacious space that represents the cooperative contributions and management of three municipalities – City of Spruce Grove, Town of Stony Plain, and Parkland County – plus a $7,000,000 Province of Alberta grant. As a collective effort, it exemplifies what people working together across political boundaries and beyond differences of objectives can achieve as benefits for all. The TransAlta Tri Leisure Centre would be a welcome excursion in fitness and fun that any tourist visiting my county wouldn’t want to miss.
Westland Market Mall Shopping Stop
Not too far by bus from the TransAlta Tri Leisure Centre, the Westland Market Mall in Spruce Grove poses as an indoor shopping jewel of the Parkland County communities, about twenty minutes west of Edmonton, Alberta’s capital city. Spruce Grove is the largest commercial center in Parkland County, serving a combined population of about 70,000 – 24,000 from Spruce Grove, 14,000 from Stony Plain, and about 32,000 from Parkland County rural residents, residents of the lake villages of Wabamum and Spring Lake, and residents of summer villages around Wabamum and other lakes in the county.
The Westland Market Mall, about 148,000 square feet of treasure hunt exploration, offers a potpourri of shopping experiences and is sure to provide a point of interest and buyer’s delight for any tourist. My favorite store is Ardene’s where saving prices rule on a wide variety of fun, up-to-the-minute fashion hair accessories, jewelry, handbags, footwear and clothing items. The mall also provides a great place for me to practice my modeling runway walk in my high heels for the swim suit and evening gown competitions of the Miss Teen Canada – World pageant.
I can’t deny I am always attracted to a good book, and a trip to the library is one of my favorite things. Let’s take a quick royal rest stop on our tour to escape from the cold or sun, browse through the racks of magazines, informative, funny and intriguing books, and relax in one of the sitting areas of the Spruce Grove Public Library.
As an added bonus, the Allied Arts Council gallery is housed inside the Spruce Grove Public Library. There a tourist can appreciate the artists’ creations and obtain access to a special Library of Art Material and books for the art enthusiast. I especially enjoy viewing the art exhibits because someday I want to become an animator. No photos of any of the art exhibits were allowed to be posted online due to respect for the artists’ copyrights, so my Aunt Mira took a photo of me in there.
The Lord Our God is One Lord (Mark 12:29)
Another successful community project that is a testament to people working together is the union of St. Joseph’s Parish in Spruce Grove with Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Stony Plain. In 1999, these two parishes amalgamated as a unified body to build a new church building centrally located between Spruce Grove and Stony Plain that by 2002 would become the gathering place of the unified believers that fellowship at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, built on the Boundary Road that bounds Spruce Grove and Stony Plain.
Many times churches have a rich history of being built by the first pioneers who established a community in an area. As the Roots Grow – The History of Spruce Grove and District devotes a whole chapter to the history of churches in the area. Therefore, as a point of establishing community roots, we will tour by the old site of St. Joseph’s Parish on Church Street in Spruce Grove. Next we’ll take a look at Holy Trinity Catholic Church grounds on our way back to Stony Plain. Our journey wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t take a look at Our Lady of Perpetual Help located on 52nd Avenue in Stony Plain.
Parkland County Appreciation
While you’re in Parkland County, be sure to pursue your interests in whatever vein suits your fancy. A person could spend weeks exploring Parkland County’s varied recreational offerings which include seventeen playing fields of paintball, a parachuting school, family horseback riding, all levels of golf from putting to professional, guided fishing trips, river tubing, U-pick farms, antique and unique treasure and fresh garden food markets, miles and miles of nature hiking trails through the University of Alberta Devonian Botanic Garden including the Kurimoto Japanese Garden as well as the butterfly and cactus showhouses and sensory and healing gardens, provincial parks, stunning lakes, sailing, water skiing, wind surfing, birdwatching within a nature sanctuary, a corn maze more than five kilometres in size with eighty-five decision junctions, and renowned theatre groups. You could live here and never run out of things to do. For sample day trips and links to business websites, check out Gems of Parkland.
As we arrive back to our tour beginning point, I would like to invite you to the July 1, 2011 Canada Day Celebrations at the Multicultural Heritage Centre where I have been invited to participate in the parade as well as share my story and meet participants afterwards (see Tawnuel Phillips, 2011 Miss Teen Parkland County) at a venue set up on their grounds. I am blessed to be a citizen of such a generous and caring community as Parkland County, the location of Stony Plain and Spruce Grove as well as many rural residences.
As the moon rises and your eyes ponder towards the stars, remember child, what is broken is never really broken; for God makes all things equal. Let the sunshine that beams from God’s face cuddle your face in grace as the angels cocoon you in their Love.
We live in a world of free moral agency; therefore, fate is a fiction of a word, but destiny is free and has a wide wingspan like an eagle. We create our own destiny each day we make choices in our lives. Whether they are “good” or “bad” choices, we let God be the judge of that.
God has the whole world in His hands; let Him lead you to a path of Love and Peace. Let’s paint dreams that have no limits, that are free like an endless stream. Each one has his or her own footprint that colors the clouds to smile. It’s time to open the window and travel with me as we embark on a future of gardens full of flower mist.
HELLO, I am TAWNUEL PHILLIPS…..
I want to encourage young people and people of all ages that they can be empowered to change their lives and positively impact the lives of others once they embrace the understanding that “LOVE BEGINS WITH ME“.
I know the power of words can create an overwhelming hurt, but if we refuse to become victims of ourselves, the bullies will tire of barking when they see their words having no effect. I have learned to be humble and refuse to crumble, to side step the problem or to get help when I needed it. If you believe in yourself, you have the power of change in your hands. If we skip to the end of the Book, we will see that Love wins the war. Anyone who is a visionary of Love is on our side whether they realize it or not. Anyone who is a procreator of hate believes in force and power and has already been outwitted by God. All we need to do is gear our thinking to get that Love actuating in us and through us and we can apply some of that winning finale to our here and now.
The A, B, C’s of Recovery Thinking
The key to my healing has been renovating my self-talk to balance my thinking. I have achieved this by recognizing and rehearsing positive viewpoints about myself over and over again. Taking a few of the self-healing viewpoints consolidated from my mom’s compilation of my grandpa’s journals, A Time to Transpose – Chimes of Thoughts for the Mindscape, I have gleaned the A, B, C‘s of recovery from negative thinking and overweight that worked for me:
Accept who you are, where you are, and what you have to do to get where you want to go. Love yourself for who you are now, not for who you wish you were. Forget where you’ve been, and concentrate on where you’re going. Start living your new life now.
Believe in your potential and strive for it, but don’t wait until you’re there to start living. Believe you can win, commit to the process, and then do it. It doesn’t matter who doesn’t believe in you because God believes in you. If you believe in you, then there’s nothing stopping you from moving forward. Get help generating a constant of positive thinking (Lovetivity) in your mind: loving parents, wise teachers, good friends, and wisdom books can help you keep your Love growing.
Change your life by first changing your views. Cultivate a happy mind by rehearsing positive self-talk, thanksgivings to God, and wisdom thinking over and over and over and over. You have to create the internal energy to escape the black hole of negativity and to not falter when confronted with stressful situations. The will to change comes from the power of your spirit and your mind. Develop thinking tools for solutions. There is always a way to win because God will help you when you do what’s right for yourself and others.
Overcoming Weight Issues
A few specifics I found to be helpful for overcoming weight issues: start from where you are and develop healthful lifestyle habits one step at a time. Don’t let time become an issue. Make a plan, no matter how simple, that you can actually do. A speed program that is too difficult to maintain is almost never a success story. Time will pass whether you improve or not. Use this approach to take one step then another until you have reached your goal.
I believe that Love is a splendid thing. Love can open doors of understanding and opportunity that pain and hate could never open. I think God would like to see people learn to Love themselves and others so wonderfully, that no war would ever be thought up or happen. If LOVE BEGINS WITH ME, then Love will be my primary objective until Love becomes the greatest light I see.
I had been struggling with how I could promote my platform without sharing too much of my personal story and had been trying to construct a more non-anecdotal presentation of it, but it just didn’t seem to stick. Then I saw a video posted online showing how a person who looked pretty, happy, and well adjusted on the outside was tormented so much on the inside by bullying that she was secretly cutting herself. After I saw the profound effectiveness of this video in demonstrating the seriousness of bullying, I realized that even though I’ve never cut myself like the girl in the video, my scars are on the inside, and I could help people more by sharing what I experienced so they could understand how I changed and what God has done to help me get to where I am.
As a young child at school, I really liked my peers, and I very badly wanted them to like me. I thought there must be something wrong with me that I was getting bullied whenever I tried be a part of the group, not understanding cliquish groups of kids who had been in the same school for years making me the outsider.
At first they wouldn’t let me be part of their groups at all. But eventually they allowed me to join them at my own expense. The kids would tell me I was too fat. They had said I couldn’t get a boyfriend, that I wasn’t pretty enough. No hockey guy would ever like me. They said I was too chubby, my ears were too small, and they would measure my ears with their pencils.
The harsh words that these kids had repetitively dealt me, created deep feelings of inadequacy in me. I ended up focusing my feelings of inadequacy on my weight. The more I focused on my weight the bigger a problem it became. Both of my parents were overweight, so it was hard for me to believe that I could conquer having the same difficulty. Every time I heard or thought negative words about myself, I transferred the blame to my weight problem. This cycle of feelings of inadequacy began to develop exponentially. By the time I was in my teens, my weight problem was becoming so huge to me that I was on the borderline of coming down with an eating disorder, even though I was never more than forty pounds overweight. Just getting any disapproval from my peers whatsoever would make me so nauseous I had to go home from school, and I ended up needing my mom to homeschool me at a financial loss to my family. I also now realize that I had almost developed a social phobia of distrusting people. But since I am learning to truly love myself, the things that other people say about me have less impact.
Weight Loss Victory
When I was fifteen years old, God inspired my mom to overcome her weight problem. Mom had been 284 pounds. Ten years before, my mom had talked with my grandpa, who is a minister, about praying for her about God healing her weight problem. The Lord gave my grandpa two journals of writings that were to help my mom receive her healing. Mom had read the journals, but she didn’t know how to apply them to the healing. While mom was sick in 2007, God began to show her how to use the books and get healed of her weight problem. Mom began to realize that her problem was not just circumstantial or even just lifestyle balance. She realized that the root of the problem had to be addressed and that required a mindset change and spiritual strength to follow through with the challenging task of a comprehensive lifestyle change.
As mom began to live this change before my eyes, she became my healing. I began to realize that my own ideas about extreme dieting were false, because I saw my mom eat a moderately calorie-reduced diet, do the moderate exercise of mostly just walking, and lose over 100 pounds in a patient two years, all because she was persistent in never giving up reading and studying the journals that grandpa wrote her by the grace of God, which helped correct her thinking so she could have the strength to keep going even when it was very difficult. From my mom’s example and guidance through my grandpa’s journals, I was able to lose forty pounds a proper way, I have developed a deeper relationship with God in my prayers and meditations, and I am gradually becoming completely healed of my feelings of inadequacy. I could say that God used my mom to save my life, because without her I would possibly be living a lesser quality of life.
Seeing the Real
Bullying can break down a victim’s confidence and believing in themselves. If it starts at an early age, it can create a negative self-concept that is like a black hole and the victim needs outside help to overcome the negative self talk. A person who is caring towards others and wouldn’t want to hurt anyone may tend to internalize unresolved anger and act out against themselves.
Unfortunately, it seems that people who are quiet and prefer to live at peace with others tend to be the more likely victims of bullying, putting these people at great emotional risk. These people won’t fight back or lash out with hurtful words, but they may take all the hurt inside and look for the blame in themselves. Many times these people have the view that other people are OK but they’re not.
I believe that bullies are people too that want to be Loved and are trying to obtain recognition in an inappropriate way. I believe the children that bullied me had no idea of the extent of the damage that they did. To some people, these children looked like well adjusted, well behaved children with a lot of potential. I believe that they had a lot of potential too, and I am sorry that they did not understand how saying hateful words and excluding people for their differences really can be so mean and cruel. I believe that somehow people come to believe that only the ones with popular qualities can win, that being better than other people gives the right to obtain more, and that there isn’t enough for everyone so the good life goes to the few. When our culture espouses those viewpoints, we teach children to love themselves in a conditional way. Children come to believe that unless they obtain those advantages they cannot be loved, so they value themselves and others accordingly. Conditional love leaves far too much room for hate. God teaches us to never stop loving, never stop believing, and never stop trying because the hope for a better life is real for everybody.
In a wonderful world, people look out for each other’s feelings. Everyone takes a turn being the star of the show. Everyone has the opportunity to share each one’s views and be heard. Everyone is Loved because it is understood how precious and unique each individual is. Everyone is valued because no one else can make the contribution that is uniquely each one’s own. In a wonderful world, there is a place where everyone can win, and Grace dances with Honour, Love courtsies to Mercy, and Compassion grooms Peace. In a wonderful world, that we could create together, someday we could live this beautiful dream.
I believe all things really do work together for good to those who Love the Lord (Romans 8:28 KJV). I believe this is because God can turn anything into good results, not because God condones the wrong things that people do (Romans 3:8 KJV). In a humble world, every sad day reaps a blessing, every rough spot creates a greater sensitivity for compassion, every fear of inadequacy creates a vulnerability for being more approachable and kind. In a humble world, we know we can win because God tells us He dwells with the humble of heart (Isaiah 57:15 KJV). In a humble world, we can bless ourselves and Love ourselves without becoming proud, because we have not forgotten our Love for others. We have only learned to Love ourselves just as much. In a humble world, every negative can become a plus and every plus creates a sum that accumulates Love; in a humble world, it is only a matter of time until hate is vanished.
Never Give Up
I will never regret the challenges I have faced because, through overcoming them, they have become the reason I understand how to help others, which is a priceless gift. I believe that if a person can learn to accept that it isn’t likely that everyone will always like you, then that person could learn to stop worrying about those people who don’t and find people who will. If a person will feed their self-respect by daily meditating about God’s love with humble patience, then eventually a person could become so whole that not even the Devil himself could upset them from the right ways of thinking and loving. I continue to feed my spirit with God’s Word every day, and God continues to heal me.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank a superb baker of healthy snacks, Shasha Bread Co, and the organizers of the Miss Teen Canada pageant. A special thanks also goes to the Internet marketing firm PageOne for helping me with this great blog!
Do you think it’s a bad thing to label something “Titanic”? I think it’s a good thing now because the Titanic has come to represent a hit movie and a love story that transcends death. How could we improve on that (unless it would be “The Passion of the Christ”)?
So in the style of the older Rose in Titanic, hear now the story……
I remember it like it was yesterday….. The library’s entry gate was newly decorated for the event.
The chairs were neatly lined up in rows, not yet having ever been sat in by my pageant audience.
As the clock struck the 5:30 PM pageant start time, still nobody else had arrived. After a quick consultation, my mom and I decided to give any “just-a-little-bit-late” potential applicants a 30 minute grace period. But as new evidence of non-attendance pressed on to 6:00 PM, my we became convinced we should consider suspending the bylaw of age requirement and allowing whosoever would to apply. My mom is a die-hard, never-give-up kind of person. So am I. Thereafter, we commenced the proceedings and the pageant began.
Now for the funny part: First we closed the open library room doors and pulled the blinds to indicate that the event had begun. Then my mom introduced me as planned. I welcomed the “attendee” and thanked her for coming. Lol. I then directed the applicant to turn in her application to be reviewed. During this time my mom filled out the blank copy of the application she had brought with her for reference. After this, the applicant(s) were to present their essay or a favorite paragraph thereof before the audience.
During the next hour my mom wrote her essay, and I reviewed the copy of Emle Flowers the musical that Mom had brought with her to present to the winner, who was to be given the opportunity to become my production assistant. Thereafter, my mom presented her entire essay, while I took a seat in the audience.
I have printed below the unretouched copy of my mom’s writ as presented on that eventful night:
What Becoming the “Princess Protege of Parkland County” Would Mean to Me
In the furthest figments of my imagination, I never dreamed I would be writing this essay. But being that I am to be the Princess Protege that the Lord has provided for my daughter, here I begin:
What becoming the Princess Protege of Parkland County would mean to me is very special indeed. While I was putting up decorations for the pageant wondering if the girls who applied would follow through and come to the pageant, I heard God speak to me: “The Lord is very special and considerate. You will be blessed for doing this pageant.” All of the sudden a realization dawned on me that if no girls came, I was the one who was to be the Princess Protégé. Tawnuel had an interview with the Stony Plain Reporter/Spruce Grove Examiner which was featured on the front page corner and page ten of the paper which introduced the Princess Protégé pageant. We had purchased a $500 value photography package for the winner, were set to purchase a crown and sash ($160-200), purchased a seven rose bouquet ($45), paid for 150 flyers (approx. $80) which were posted by hand all over both towns, and rented a room at the Spruce Grove Public Library for a fee, all because Tawnuel generously wanted to mentor a girl interested in building confidence and self-esteem and reaching out to her community through a pageant. I arrived in my one best pant suit outfit prepared to adjudicate but not expecting to present myself. But Someone had remembered me, and not one young girl arrived. Tears come to my eyes as I write this because of what the Lord had spoken to me and how I feel His love so real and deep.
Of course I should be the Princess Protégé and be the production assistant to my daughter as she produces Emle Flowers the musical (which I’m directing but can definitely juggle both jobs) as a fundraiser for Free the Children, a charity I also have come to love. Of course I should accompany my daughter as an additional speaker and participator in her “Love Begins with Me” campaign as she presents her new mindset and understanding that have healed her hurts from being bullied. I love children and have a great compassion to do what I can to help prevent bullying from damaging the self-esteem of any more innocent young people. I am the one who put off having my own children for three years while I volunteered at a school that provided special helps for students facing social or academic challenges or desiring a Christian environment for their education. I volunteered until another volunteer took my place. Of course I should be the Princess Protégé. I’m the one who wrote the song “Love Begins with Me” for my daughter’s “Love Begins with Me” campaign.
What becoming the Princess Protégé means to me is an opportunity to speak out without being questioned, “Why are you here?” I am here because nobody else is here, and I am here because I was willing to expend all this money and time as a chauffeur or whatever the need called for so my daughter could do this charitable act for someone else when God knew I really needed to spend that time and money on myself. I am here because I love my daughter and want to be a part of what she is doing. I am here because I love my community and most of my life I’ve loved others more than myself which is part of the healing realization that I discovered in the words of my daughter’s campaign, “Love Begins with Me.”
Once “all” the applicants had presented, I was to step outside with the adjudicator, review the application(s), and determine who had received the marks to be the winner. At this point I implemented a slight change of plans. I had to play more than one role: the pageant mentor, the adjudicator, and a guest judge; so I stepped aside with me, myself, and I, turning and taking a different position for each character, and began a hilarious discussion: “So, what do you think? Do you think we should crown her?” (English accent)
“Well, she has great potential.”
“Yeah, I think she meets all the specifications.”
“Well, I think we should give her a go.”
“So, you guys all agree with that?”
“Well, why bloody not?” (English accent)
“Yes, I think we’ve made the right decision.”
“Alright then. She is to be crowned.” (English accent)
Mom did have a good application. I have reprinted it below, if you’d like to take a look:
MISSPRINCESS PROTÉGÉ – PARKLAND COUNTY APPLICATION
Print and fill out:
First Name: Stara C.
Last Name: Phillips
[Certain personal details – age, birth date, telephone number, etc. – have been omitted, as they no longer apply to the selection process 😉 or for security reasons.]
If you answer yes to any of the following, please list all that applies:
Do you have any hobbies? Yes. Piano playing, songwriting, researching various topics related to filmmaking.
Any special skills? I’m a singer, songwriter, playwright, project manager, and IT business analyst.
Any special interests not listed above? I have a strong faith in God which influences my values and interactions with others.
Have you received any awards? Yes. I won first place in physics at Indiana University for my project in reflection and multiple images. My marching band also placed first on the IU football field. I was a first chair French horn player.
Have you done any volunteer or charity work? Yes, I volunteered three years of labor as a teacher and vice principal of a Christian school.
Do you have any modeling or acting experience? No modeling. I have acted in many church and school plays.
Are you represented by an agent? No. If so, by whom and how long is your contract?
Have you had any struggles that you are facing or have overcome? Yes, I overcame a weight problem and food addiction and lost over 100 pounds. I have compiled a book called “A Time to Transpose – Chimes of Thoughts for the Mindscape” from journals written by my father, Jerry O. Lee, which helped me overcome the mindset of these challenges and establish a healing lifestyle.
What would you like to share or do to help others? My heart reaches deep with compassion to help others. I would like to help others who face similar weight difficulties as I have. Also, now that I have seen what challenges bullying can create by the experiences of my own daughter and have been involved in helping her overcome them through the Mindscape journals, lifestyle skills and positive self-talk to help her lose 40 pounds, and tools such as The Miss Teen Canada – World pageant to help develop confidence and self-esteem, I am greatly empathetic to other young people who have experienced this and would like to be part of educating and guiding others through the healing process who have been hurt by bullying.
What are your best school subjects? Math, science, and language arts.
What are your most difficult school subjects? Social studies.
What is your grade average? A, Dean’s list, top 3% of my business university, graduated summa cum laude with a major in logistical rhythmatics.
Attach a photo of yourself. (See the photo below taken at the pageant.)
Write a three to five paragraph essay on the topic “What Becoming Miss Princess Protégé – Parkland County Would Mean to Me” on a separate sheet or document. (See copy above.)
After this, as planned, I introduced the winner: “Stara C. Phillips, you have been chosen to be crowned as the Princess Protégé of Parkland County 2011. Come forward and receive your crown.”
Mom laughed hysterically with glee and popped right up to receive her crown. I then had to double as the photographer, and here we are having a good time:
I then presented Mom with the bouquet of roses and had her pose for another picture.
I congratulated Mom, and told her she was chosen out of 30,000 people (considering the population of Parkland County and the local newspaper advertising which covered the area) to be my Princess Protégé, so she could be proud. My mom thanked me for my generosity to offer my talent as a mentor and said she was sure she could learn a lot from me. My mom was completely sincere, but I could not stop laughing when she said that.
We think the essay requirement may have taken some girls out of the running, but you have to show up if you want to win. Never give up, even if it looks like you may have already lost. If you happen to be the only one who shows up, you may be given some special consideration. ;D
I then presented the schedule of events as planned for the new Princess Protégé of Parkland County:
MISSPRINCESS PROTÉGÉ – PARKLAND COUNTY
Schedule of Events
Crown and sash will be ordered immediately and should arrive within four to six weeks.
Create a Facebook account if you don’t have one. Join my Facebook at www.facebook.com/tawnuelphillips.
Create a Twitter account if you don’t have one. Join my Twitter at www.twitter.com/tawnuelphillips.
September 12, 2011 7:30-9:00 PM Practice session for “Love Begins with Me” Campaign. Bring scripted speech.
October Practices begin for Emle Flowers.
October – Last week LMack Photoshoot session. Wear cocktail dress and have hair styled.
October-November (after photoshoot) Application to Miss Teen Canada – World pageant (if desired). You should have a camera with a flash by this time. If accepted into Miss Teen Canada – World pageant, the provincial competition is February 18-19, 2012 in Calgary.
November Press Release.
My mom is going to do this for real. She said she hasn’t had any professional photographs taken of her in over seven years. And no she will not be attempting to enter the Miss Teen Canada – World pageant (lol); but believe it or not, she was asked early this year by one of my sponsors to enter a pageant to win a contract for real models. Mom determined she needed to focus on my pageant at the time and was planning to bypass the opportunity. She said she had never once in her life dreamed of being in a pageant or modeling anything. My mom hopes to have her book compilation done by May of 2012 and is working on trimming off another 40 or so pounds. Now that she is the Princess Protégé she plans to enter a pageant even if she only has the time to show up and participate.